On finding my spark but losing my mojo.
I’ve been tangled up in self doubt lately. Not really feeling like myself. I’ve been thinking more often than usual about what my goals are at this point: “Should I be more ambitious? What am I truly passionate about? Do I need a facelift?” Maybe I’m being too hard on myself, but sometimes I just wish I was one of those people with a plan. You know? (I also wish I was one of those people whose face has a natural glow.)
My recent anxious state of mind has probably something to do with the fact that I’d been away from home and my routine for a really long time, and I’m the type of person who really needs space to process thoughts and ideas. By this I mean I need space to watch TV shows. Alone and undisturbed.
Another very likely reason to be feeling particularly weird lately is that I stopped taking my antidepressants three months ago, which I guess is a pretty big deal since I’d been taking them for 2 years 4 months and 2 days.
It does feel good to not be feeding my body drugs everyday, but to be brutally honest I wouldn’t be opposed to taking them my whole life. The stuff I was taking was literally miraculous. In a couple of months I went from flight mode to thrive mode: my panic attacks stopped and I felt alive again. I remember the lunch lady at work telling me “Isabel, the spark in your eyes are back” in her dutch accent. Her comment felt so pure that it made me cry a little. I miss that lunch lady sometimes. I miss my antidepressant too.
But, of course there are a few quite significant secondary effects to this magic pill. For me, the most obvious side effect was a big decrease of interest in sex. Which, let’s be honest, is way up there on the list of shitty side effects. So, here I was, finally feeling like I could enjoy life again, but sexually I felt almost numb.
While I was going through my loss of mojo, I realised that this subject isn’t really honestly discussed or explored. Most of the stuff that I found on the internet were very matter of fact articles on mayoclinic.org and webmd.com, all of them telling me to take the female equivalent of viagra, accompanied by stock images of semi-naked people looking sad.
At least I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it, even with my closest friends — most of whom are single and send me very detailed accounts of their several sexual experiences. I love their stories, but while reading them I couldn’t help but think: there’s something very wrong with me.
My Instagram feed is pretty much: fashion, dogs, otters, food and women who are oozing with sexuality. Why do I follow these women? Because sometimes I wish I was like them: so confident, so lustful, so powerful.
Maybe that’s just it: without a desire for sex, I felt powerless. Lame. Broken. And I wondered if maybe I felt this way partly because western culture is so obsessed with sex? Maybe we give it too much importance?
It’s funny how it’s never been so easy to get laid, but actually people are having less and less sex, regardless of their relationship status. Besides the typical explanations — overworked women, relationship issues, children, anxiety — the most recent reasons are obviously the pandemic — which has made it harder for us to meet new people and to shag strangers — as well as technology: basically there’s a lot more to do other than getting it on. So, I guess that for a lot of people the pleasure they feel from online shopping and scrolling through social media has replaced the satisfaction of an orgasm?
As for me, I’ve been working on overcoming my situation in therapy as well as through exercise. I’ve become obsessed with Barre: a fitness class inspired by elements of ballet, which I recently found out through Jia Tolentino’s thought-provoking book, Trick Mirror, is very connected to sex.
“It was, in fact, pretend fucking: we lay on our backs and thrust our hips into the darkness with a sacrificial devotion that I had not applied to actual sex for years”, writes Jia as she describes her first experience with barre.
Apparently, barre was created in the 60s by a ballerina called Lotte Berk when she was 46. “In her studio, Berk invited clients to imagine a lover as they as they engaged their pelvis. She used a riding crop on women who weren’t trying hard enough. The poses she invented looked suggestive and were named accordingly: the French Lavatory, the Prostitute, the Peeing Dog, Fucking a Bidet” writes Tolentino.
Alright, let’s wrap things up with an excerpt from an article I came across about women’s sexuality that I think you’ll appreciate:
“If researchers know anything about desire, it is that variation is the norm. Whether male or female, desire can manifest in a seemingly endless spectrum of forms, and it can range from high to low to nonexistent. There is no right or wrong type or degree of desire for individuals or couples. “It would behoove us all to be more accepting of a very wide range of variability in desire,” Diamond says. “We need to be tolerant of diversity.”
The other day I took Gaspar to the movies for the first time to watch Disney’s Encanto. He was mostly excited about the popcorn, but surprisingly, he made it through the entire movie with no major complaints — except for one thing: he kept asking me to rewind on the parts he liked the most, just like he does when watching stuff at home. So I had to keep explaining that I didn’t have a remote, plus, there were other people watching the movie with us so we couldn’t just do as we please.
What I find most endearing is that Gaspar doesn’t just ask me to rewind parts in movies — he asks me to rewind in real life. So, if I do something that he finds funny, he’ll ask me to do it again and again and again until he finally moves on. Sometimes he’ll ask me to repeat unexpected situations that can’t really be repeated: like say, when I accidentally trip over his toys and fall.
I love how kids feel the need to experience moments again and again again, until their souls feel full and they know every detail by heart. I wonder when we stop living life so presently.
Some stuff I’ve been enjoying lately
The Worst Person in the World
This movie was one of my favourites from last year. It’s an entrancing, fulfilling experience that captures how beautifully chaotic and messed up we all really are. I think anyone who watches it will feel deeply connected with Julie, the main character, played by possibly the most charming woman I have ever seen, Renate Reinsve. There are a few lines that really stuck with me, like this one:
“Everything we feel, we have to put into words...Sometimes, I just want to feel things.”
And Just Like That (obvs)
Do I think that it’s a great show? no. Did I love it? Yes, yes I did. Whether you love it or hate it, you’re talking about it, and that’s what Michael Patrick King wanted.
There was one article that discussed the matter of money on the show that I found particularly interesting. Read it here.
I don’t know anyone who‘s watched this show and I don’t know why? It’s an easy, feel good series that explores love with a grounded sincerity. It’s also got a pretty good soundtrack. And guess who makes an appearance in the last two episodes of season 1? None other than Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page !!!
Thanks for reading ❤️
Re: antidepressants: same. Libido= 0.01 . That was then, now much much better. After many years of taking every flavor of antidepressant, I found a mix that REALLY works. Keep hope alive.