Surely, there are more than five steps; however I would like to share with you my [current] top five steps toward wellness in hopes that they can bring you one step closer to this goal. Of course, it is expected that you will take them and make them your own—all that matters to me is that you take them.
Have Satisfying Sex
The way I see it, I did not go through four years of questioning my sexuality and do not confront homophobia, abeyant or blatant, on a daily basis to have mediocre sex. I think it is important that everyone—queer or straight—has paralyzing physical interactions, but as a lesbian, I demand that every shade of queer have nothing but stupefying sex. Whether or not you are an activist yourself, someone, somewhere has marched, petitioned, rallied, and advocated for your same-sex, gender-bending, queer orgasms, so have them and enjoy them! What steps can you take to have satisfying sex? Well, first and foremost, you can talk about it. If you are not comfortable enough to dialogue about what you do and do not like with someone, then perhaps you should not be considering engaging physically with that person. I am not suggesting that you put everything on the table at dinner and therefore leave nothing up for exploration and discovery, but at least cover some of the basics. For example, one of the first questions I will ask a woman is, “Can I touch you?” If I can’t, then the sex will not be completely satisfying for me and odds are that “we” will not last very long. In addition to being comfortable with dialogue, you need to be comfortable with yourself. What are your limits, if any? What are your fantasies and your desires? How flexible are you (I am so serious…charley horses and sex do not go well together)? Allow me to clarify that I am not suggesting that you have to have sex in order achieve wellness (that is for another article all together), but I am stating that if you are going to engage in physical activity, then you should make a deliberate effort to enjoy every second of it. It is your body and therefore your experience; make a conscious decision to own it.
Eat Clean Meals
At least one of the meals you eat throughout the course of the day should be clean, meaning that the food should not require utensils, napkins, or cooking—or the need for such items should be limited. Fast food is not as convenient as it is advertised to be and obviously has negative impacts on your health and on the pace of your day. How many times have you had a heavy snack or lunch that left you begging for the establishment of naptime at your workplace? Odds have it that if you are eating something clean, then you are thoughtful of what you are putting in your body and are more likely to enjoy it. As was true of the benefits of sex, this step could be evolved into a whole article about the importance of healthy eating habits and exercising routines, but at this moment, I prefer to prescribe simple, more manageable steps toward wellness. I find this step to be crucial for those of us on the constant move (oh, that’s everyone?) considering that we are the ones most likely to constantly make poor dietary decisions.
Be Open To Engage
If we submit to silence, then it will consume us, and without our voices, we do not exist. Somehow, we have allowed our society to get to a place where speaking to one another or acknowledging each other’s presence has become borderline offensive. We say, “Good morning,” without actually expecting a response, and we ask, “How are you?” without wanting a true answer. Our conversations have become automated and void of emotion. And worse yet, we are afraid to speak to each other. We reserve compliments, shy away from smiling, and pretend as if we don’t see each other in public passing. This is painfully true in the gay community, at least in my experience. With the exception of Prides, I usually cannot catch the eye of someone who appears (yes, I know—what does LGBTQI look like?) to be of our Community for even a casual smile of acknowledgement. The most love I can get is from gay males who love my big hair. Even in environments where identities and preferences are clearer, it is still difficult to engage with someone unless it revolves around an attempt to “holla.” What is the harm in speaking to someone or hearing what they have to say? Maybe they have a refreshing accent you’ve never heard before or an outlook on the day that you would’ve never conceived. Our ability to communicate is part of what makes us human, isn’t it? Why sit in silence if you can cohabitate in coexistence?
Be Aware of Self
Wiggle your toes and your fingers when you wake up. Stretch your arms and your legs. Whine your hips. Know how your body moves and why. Do you know the cadence of your walk or the rhythm and pitch of your voice? Is your favorite color represented in the clothing you wear or in the objects you choose? What are your subconscious facial expressions? Do you like the person you are when you’re in the company of others and when you’re alone? Are those two different people?
I pose these questions to ask the following: How can you expect to be comfortable with yourself if you don’t truly understand who that person is? How can you interact with others and place expectations on those interactions if you do not first own your contributions to those reactions? On a simpler level, who better to know the space you exist in than you? The more aware you are of the space you inhabit and create, the more aware you will be when things change (for the better or the worse) and therefore will be better able to adapt to those changes.
Do What You Want, When You Want
I’m not telling you to abandon your responsibilities, although in some cases that may be necessary. However, what I am advocating is that you regain control of your responsibilities. Are you doing things that you want to be doing? Are these chores and activities contributing to a greater good, bigger picture, or long-term goal? Are they laden with intent and decisiveness, or are you caught in a trap of relentless habits of everyday life (The world is only against you when you fight against it)? Do you make time for yourself on a daily basis? Are your interests inherent in your regular itinerary? Remember when you were a child and your parents forced you to do something that you didn’t want to do, and you ended up half-assing it as a result? Well, this same situation happens to us as adults—and if we’re not careful, then the consequences are far worse. We cannot force ourselves to do things we do not want to do, regardless of who says or demands that we should. I have learned the hard way that it is imperative for me to be personally invested in any of the moves I’m making; otherwise, my efforts are executed in vain. My lack of commitment to the task at hand will inevitably lead to procrastination and poor execution, resulting in the wasting of my time. Therefore, I suggest that you develop a method for doing things on your time and to your liking.
“Life is short,” and, “Time is precious,” are sayings that we’re all familiar with, but they are also realities. Your life could change dramatically, in a heartbeat; it could even end. You could be fired or laid off from the job that you stress over or you could lose your mobility, and therefore the ability to do all the things that you “must” do. So, why not commit to doing the things you aspire to do? There is a quote by Erma Bombeck which reads, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’” Regardless of my religious beliefs (which are currently in flux), I believe in the quote because I refuse to leave this life with missed or ignored opportunities. I will do what I want when I want for whichever reasons I want. Furthermore, I will compose my life in a way that limits my having to do things to which I’m not fully dedicated.
There you have it, five (simple) steps toward improving your wellbeing. Please try at least one—of course I would encourage that you try all five. We can keep up the pace, maintain the lifestyles, and survive society, but still uphold our wellness in doing so. I am advocating for self-awareness and the enjoyment of existence; what good is your life if You are not in it?
…”I used everything you gave me.”