The photos listed in this narrative are not of the actual people mentioned.
I’d loved Nate for 3 years, and we broke up one month before my initiation. He vocalized that he couldn’t accept me not giving him head for 3 months nor my refusal to bend the rules for him, crying out “What about me??”. I think it was less about the fellatio, and more about my elevation, which had nothing to do with him. (Liz always said he clouded my light.) I decided that a man who couldn’t respect my spiritual quest didn’t deserve my love, devotion, or honey pot. His tantrum left me asking the same question –
What about Me?
After Nate, I resolved that I’d remain to myself as a Iyawo. Be selfish to develop fully without concern of another. I owed my body to no one.
…But before I decided to cap off my civilian life and become an officer in the army of priests, I called an old Lover over to my home to wish me goodbye and good luck…in every way that he could muster. And he did. Boy, was he creative. I had rug burns on my back and a smile for days. Upper-arm strength and some drinking water can go a looooong way.
During my first three months, the time when I couldn’t be touched (like the Egyptian courtesan Anaksunamun), this old Lover would text me, and we’d fantasize about the times when we were together, and the times when when we’d be together again. By month two, I’d abandoned the thought that I would remain to myself as a Iyawo…I was bout tuh DIE. I’d sometimes bathe just as an attempt too cool myself down, only to end up with more steam than when i’d started. I could. not. WAIT until the three-months was over, because then I could let the fire out like a temple cat from her cage. Meeoooooooow.
At my 3-month ritual, all things checked out well and the orisha were pleased with me! (I admit…I was rather nervous from all the sexting). There was also a special word from Oshun – she was sending me someone special, a meaningful romantic relationship, that year. Wait whaaat? I didn’t ask for or expect that…
How can I meet someone fa’ real as a Iyawo? Who’s going to want me like this?
The old Lover must have circled the date on his calendar in red – as my godmother left, he sent word that he was coming into town. “Let’s catch up…can I stay with you?” Some days later, he was standing in my living room again – shirtless, dark, muscular, and waiting on a command. He gave me my first hug from a man in three months…and just held me there. I was overwhelmed, dizzy, beginning to sweat… but submitted to let myself be hugged. To be touched. To reacclimate to physical affections. I felt his warm chest heave against mine. I felt the scruff of his beard on my neck…it was so hot in the room. I couldn’t let him back onto my familiar mattress, and instead lied down with him on a pull-out twin bed in my living room – there was no room to go or be anywhere else, but on each other.
I was so afraid that I couldn’t breathe. A solitary tear rolled out of my eye, overwhelmed by the energy of proximity that I’d taken for granted all of my sexual life. We laid there and cuddled flipped and pretzled each other’s legs. He breathed hot on my back. Laced his fingers through mine like shoestrings. Pressed his skin against my white gown; I kept it on and pulled down, like a Trojan.
But nothing more. Before he left, he asked for a kiss, and I couldn’t give it to him. I felt twelve years old again. I walked him out in the next morning, and soon collapsed into a ball on my living room floor, feeling triumphant over the fire of lust – a first for me. I didn’t succumb to an insincere lover, who was never good for me anyway.
I’m a priest now. Everyone who knocks at the temple gate isn’t trying to pray.
Three months of no sex came and went. Then four. Then five. Then six. I was burning up. I was angry. I was living a tragic comedy. I developed an immunity to masturbation. I was tired of listening to Jill Scott’s “Celibacy Blues“. I decided that if I was going to create a new (sex) life for myself, I might as well start dating.
I considered him a student of mine, because i’d once given him interview training. But he would never accept this title and was a few years my junior. He was so very handsome, and so very intelligent. I’d never have dated him in college, but he was too cute now. The truth is, he was young, eager, and sexaaaaay. He gave me my first kiss as a Iyawo, a lovely tongue down after walking me to my car after our first date…and I liked it. A bunch. Standing in the middle of the street, then against my car, shameless. “Oh…I reMEMBER this,” I thought. But I couldn’t “ditch the panties” for him. Nawl. “He just doesn’t understand what i’m going through.” I invited him over one night for a sleepover, and I wore a nightcap and some white pantaloons from a botanica…I fetched not na’an piece of sexy that night. We had two dates, and I never saw him again.
He was Puerto Rican, and a child of Shango, who courted me for a while. I was able to speak in Spanish or English with an older man who understood my life and was preparing to become a Iyawo himself. He was so handsome, although I was confused by his affinity for Coach man-bags and tweezed eyebrows…apparently this is a Latin cultural thing. But he had good taste, evident in a canary yellow leather Coach wallet he bought for me…supposedly because it was Tuesday. Is this the one Oshun told me about?? I accepted the gift, and the fact that I’d found a cultural confidant. He wanted to be a fireman, and soon set me on fire. I decided that he would be “The One”. Yes, i’d become sixteen again. After our one night of makeshift hunching, where I cried and begged him “Please don’t hurt me…“, I never saw him again. Silly Iyawo…you live and you learn.
Nate used to blare Drake’s “Trust Issues” at maximum volume. He had serious issues, and I learned that I did too. I was afraid of being used for my new spiritual Ase/Engery/Prana/Qi, and still held on to instances of vampirism from times past. I began a forgiveness meditation, with citrine crystal positioned on my second chakra, every night to rid myself of emotional baggage. And by some account, every lover on whom I meditated would reach out to me the very next day, without fail, until I exhausted my list.
There were a few coffee dates with men from other countries. Bowling and karaoke with a Nigerian. Coffee and soup with an Ethiopian. I started to love dating men of different cultures. My sister was amused, and said that I was dating the “United Colors of Benetton”. After one date, I never saw any of them again.
I met him at a rally, and he eyed me like a strange and uncaged bird. He was Haitian, and I was a dark woman who wore all white and wouldn’t let him see my hair and gave short answers about my peculiarities. He was ensnared. He was so very dark, and witty, with perfect teeth. He always asked about my hair…fantasized about how it looked underneath the covering. Is it short? Is it long? Is it wavy? Do you have locs? Can I see it? When can I see it?? I learned how much men fantasize over what they can not see, or have…the arousal created solely by the hungry and unsatiated imagination. After a few dates, I decided that i’d invite him over and get to the business…an attempt at redemption from the Puerto Rican failure over a month before. He was apprehensive – “I really like you…and I don’t want to mess that up.” With seven months of sexual dissatisfaction in the bag, I disregarded his reasoning, and convinced him to go for it.
We’re adults. We should be able to have sex and continue on as we please.
Well…he went all Trey Songz and preceded to Diiiive In Iiiiit!!! When my head wrap finally came off, he didn’t blink nor give comment. He came before we had sex, blaming an inefficiency. “I only get one nut,” he said. I looked for Ashton Kutcher to walk through the door, but instead it was Elegba (the divine trickster, often represented by an erect fallice…think the Hindu lingam) in the room laughing at me instead. Desperate, I offered – “You know…they have things that can help that? Ginseng…acupuncture??” I never saw him again.
I’m thankful for Baptiste, as he provided powerful lessons in my year.
- My sexual familiarity had left me. My old Bag-O-Tricks was empty. Despite attempts, I was no longer successful if my efforts were seeped in sexual manipulation and selfishness – ie. I’m just trying to get my rocks off. I’d have to find a new way to be and express Sexy.
- As much as I was afraid of being used, I had willingly attempted to use someone against their desires and better judgement. If I desired healthy sexual relationships for a change, i’d have to offer something more than a hot honey pot.
- Fa real…it was time to be much much more sexually selective. Throwing out a few spiritual words like chakra or ancestors doesn’t qualify one to come and worship in the temple.
I left work on the Monday following the Zimmerman verdict, and headed downtown to walk off the weight of of sorrow from the judicial blow. He walked by me with a little boy, and I could overhear him trying to explain the concept of racial injustice to a 7-year-old – his son. I snapped a picture of them from behind, and somehow he knew. We ended up meeting further down the path, and the first words out of his mouth to me were “Are you [a child of] Obatala?” We became quick friends, chatting on the phone for 3, 4, 5 hours at night…every night. His godfather knew my godmother. He even mentioned his desire to ask Ifa, orisha of destiny, who we could be to each other. He fantasized about my hair, and i’d see his eyes widen when I moved to adjust the fabric. He’d come over for dinner, or take me on long walks. I made a super hero cape for his son. Is this the one Oshun told me about??
Then one day, he pulled away. We tried sleeping together, but it just never really worked – he’d suddenly get a migraine. I was, AGAIN, frustrated by our sexual inability, and at this point had started yelling at my orisha. But I got over the flesh of myself to accept the truth of a new sexual reality. Despite the lack of love play, we retained a close friendship. And I loved him, sincerely.
I had a dream one night about a tiger and an elephant, and on the next evening we had our first date. He met me at my favorite restaurant, and we talked about our respective understanding of our place in the Universe, and the divine favor in our lives. I learned that the tiger was his spirit animal, and I already knew that the elephant was one of mine. Over several dates, he told me about Indian culture, and his travels around the world. His Sikh bracelet was much like mine for Obatala. I admired his Western education, and his Eastern spirit. He respected so much that I was becoming a priest. I’d gush about him to Liz allahtahm – she’d squeal, as best friends do. Is HE the one Oshun was talking about?? He also fantasized about my hair – What does it look like? How long is it? When can I see it? Only during sex, you say??? By now, i’d been living ten months of sexual failure, so I nearly lost it when he volunteered all of the ways in which I was “so very sexy…”. We ALSO tried to sleep together, and that ALSO didn’t work. Much initial passion, halted by his confessing “I’m not sure i’m ready to deal with the emotions of afterwards.”. We’ve maintained a friendship until this day, and I love him, sincerely.
In October, Oshun told me that He was coming. And the next week, November, I met Pierre…