THAT Conversation with Tarek Ali

E16: Whole lotta SEX — Healing Body Trauma, Sexual Agency, & Growing Beyond Judgement

February 08, 2024 Tarek Ali Season 1 Episode 16
THAT Conversation with Tarek Ali
E16: Whole lotta SEX — Healing Body Trauma, Sexual Agency, & Growing Beyond Judgement
Leap Into Healing
Unlock multiple weekly episodes, guided healing, & more!
Starting at $10/month Subscribe
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

The labyrinth of personal healing is often clouded with the shame and secrecy of our deepest struggles. Embark with me, Tarek Ali, as I traverse the raw and intimate pathways of my own self-discovery, laying bare the battles with anxiety and the transformative power of returning to one's roots. This episode is a candid revelation, an invitation to listeners to journey alongside as I unpack the layers of my past that have sculpted the person I am today. From the gentrifying streets of Los Angeles to the private recesses of personal trauma, we tackle the complexities of self-worth, body autonomy, queerness, and the messiness of healing.

Through the lens of my own narrative, we examine several things: the intersection of queer identity and navigating sexuality, bringing to light the stereotypes within the LGBTQ+ community and the struggles for self-acceptance in the face of social pressures; reclaiming your body when past experiences stole it from you; and rekindling the relationship you have with you body after a lifetime of self-abuse. I share poignant moments from my own childhood and the journey towards reclaiming my body's narrative. It's a story of growth, self-love, and the courage to confront the demons of one's past. As we navigate the intricate dance of self-discovery, we laugh, we learn, and perhaps most importantly, we find solace in the shared experiences of our struggles. 

This heartfelt episode culminates in a celebration of vulnerability and the solace found in expressing one's truth. It's a reminder that healing is an ongoing process, one that requires grace, self-compassion, and an unwavering commitment to authenticity. I leave you with thoughts steeped in hope and encouragement, urging you to embrace your journey with kindness and reflection, and to continue the conversation on self-compassion as we part ways. Thank you for lending your ears and hearts; may this dialogue resonate with you as much as it has with me, Tarek Ali.

Leap into healing subscription edition:
 
Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/that-conversation-with-tarek-ali/id1621963803

or

Spotify and all other streaming platforms: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1971440/subscribe

Support the show
Speaker 1:

This episode covers explicit material and has trigger warnings for eating disorders and sexual assault. Now let's get to the episode. Hello, beautiful people, welcome back to that conversation with Turik Ali, a podcast where we have the heart conversations that help us grow. So if you're watching the visual, you see me smiling, but I'm actually really nervous. I'm usually always nervous when I come to do this. You know, before, when I first started this podcast, that used to scare me. When I say scare, I mean in a way of like I would want to stop. But now I know I sit in it, I work with the anxiety. I still go after what I want with the anxiety and I always get what I'm after, and the thing that I'm after is to just be myself and to just speak and just express myself. You know, when I really care about something, I always feel like I have to show up to it, I have to like rise to the occasion and I have to become something. I have to and we've talked about this. Right, this is what I mean like it's a continuous journey. You are never like really done healing, because like this doesn't come up a lot and actually I don't really feel it in any other part of my career or life. There may be things that trigger it, but this is the only time, like when I sit down to do this podcast, I do feel like I have to become something or be a little bit more perfect, and I just remind myself that you just gotta be you. You just gotta be you. Yeah, today's episode is what I'm really nervous about, and because it's extremely transparent. So I do want to preface this episode by saying that this is not for kids. This is an episode where you know this whole podcast is about me sharing my journey of healing, how I am continuously healing myself, learning how to heal, healing others, all of that right, and the only way just like my. The last episode and bottled up I was like the only way we can really get to the healing is if we're honest, right, and so this is something that has been a part of my journey, and it's a major part is not something I can just skip over, because then I feel like I will be cheating you all out of it. I will be cheating you all out of the truth of, like, the messiness and dirtiness and the mud of healing. It's great, you know when it is filling you up, but it can be really heavy, it can be really hard and you see that with the people I bring on this podcast, you see that with me. So I just want to continuously be honest and so, if you've been here before, you know we start with a story and that story will lead into the purpose of the episode. So that story today is going to be me catching you guys up on the holidays. So for the holidays I went back home to Maryland. Right, I used to not really enjoy going home. It used to be very uncomfortable for me. It was just a lot of trauma and pain and a lot of things. I just went through growing up like homelessness and juggled through homes and my mom and dad and it just was a lot. And every time I went home it just I was just ready to leave. Like in college, I had no choice. You know they would kick you out the dorms and stuff. So I would go home and just be waiting to go back to college. And you know, when I graduated I went back out of routine. But as I started to heal and it's not that I hate it going, it's just like I said I just didn't heal a lot of things and, like now, going home is a recharge for me, you know, as I've moved a lot. I'm 26 now and I've moved to different cities. I live different places, I've been to college and now, you know, I'm in LA. I'm working in the entertainment business and you know, in LA, everybody here, you know people come to LA to make things happen, right. You come here to make your dreams come true. You know people don't move from New York to LA all the way across the country and leave their friends and family just to. You know, meet new people. Some people do, but you know what I mean. Like, most of the people here are trying to make something happen, right, and so everybody here is working and getting to the next thing and the cost of living is high. So it's, you know, you really got to be on your grind, and so I find that the intersocial you know culture here I don't really enjoy much. You know that stereotype you hear of, like people saying you know you meet people in LA and they're like, oh, how many followers you have, or like, what do you do? It's kind of true, and even if it's not that directly, people are trying to gauge how much money you have, what you do, how they can network with you, what they can get out of you. You know you can be upset about that all you like, but at the end of the day, like I said, a lot of people come here to get to the next level and that is how you get to the next level. It's networking, it's the politics of it all. You know I used to like complain about that, but that is also the same thing. And the reason I am where I am in my career today was because I did network and certain people met me. They liked me, they liked my work and they were like oh my gosh, I would love to work with you, boom. And so I'm very grateful. That's me always finding the positive side. But because of that and also being known, I don't know, I think people meet me and it's more of an image and they go off of what they know already or what they have seen, instead of getting to know me. And I do. You know, a lot of it is self-imposed anxiety as well, of thinking I have to be a certain way. But long story short, I, when I'm in LA, I pretty much just work and rest and hang out with my little village. I don't really go out much. Like I said, I don't really enjoy the intersocial culture here as much, so that can be really draining because work becomes my life. You know you should have a work-life balance and it's going home. And you know, with people that have known me before I was a social media phenomenon. You know, when I started 10 years ago, like they've known me through each season, like you know that's the great thing about family is like no matter who you change into, what you grow into, like whatever you become, they know every version of you before and there's an essence, right, that is the same and that is what they know and they attach to. You know you can present how you like, you can put on whatever clothes you want, but we know what's under that and we know what has stayed here through all of your changes, through the different jobs, through the different schools, through the different cities, is this thing about you that has never changed and that is your core, that is your essence, that is your being and it's something so refreshing about going home to be around people that, no matter how successful or how much I'm doing or how much I'm not doing, they love Tariq, they love me, and even outside of family, just the culture of like Maryland and Virginia. Like you know, I'm from Maryland, but also Southern Virginia, so like Portsmouth, virginia Beach, chesapeake, and so you know, going there people live very ordinary, everyday, normal lives, you know, like they have a job, they have a family and they have friends. I mean that sounds like everyone, but what I mean is like they go to their job and they go to their job to pay their bills and like the things that they go to for happiness. The things that they talk about in conversation is about things that like matter in terms of like politics. How are you actually doing in your life? How is your cousin, your mom, like getting to know one another? And I feel like here a lot of the talk in LA is about work and business. So even when I'm not working, I am still working because work is just becoming my life. So going home is so refreshing. I don't have to think about what I'm wearing, I don't have to think about wearing makeup, a haircut, like I literally am just living my life and I'll be treated the same as if I was the most polished, most paid, most, whatever Like, and that kind of freedom is one. It grounds me and brings me back to earth, because living in LA, especially with like the distribution of wealth here and how there's like so much homelessness and poverty, yet you'll look across the street and see Lamborghini trucks and Bentley's and you know the poshness and the luxury, but then there's so many people struggling and it's just not a real place Like this. It's just like a. It's a I call it like a different world. But so going back, you know, home just reminds me of where I come from, what truly matters to me and who I am. And so, with that comfort, you know, I hung out, of course, with like my best friends that have been my best friends since like high school and college, and I was hanging out with them and we're like all catching up because, like you know, some of us are coming home and then some of them still live there, but like we're catching up and so, like I said, I'm with my best friends, we're really comfortable, I'm happy, and you know how it goes when you're catching up with your best friends. You know you're asking about work how's work going, and it's it's more about like, how do you like your job, or I'm thinking about getting a new job, you know, just catching up with your friends, and so eventually we get to the topic of like dating. You know, love life, and one of my friends is like I haven't had sex in a year and other ones talking about when they had sex. And me I was like, girl, I've been having a whole lot of sex. I have just been hoeing, you know, just joking like, but serious. I was like yeah, I just been having a lot of sex and they said to ring and I said what I said, but no, it's been. It's funny because before that, before we even got on the topic of sex, I was saying how you know, with my work, I don't do anything that God doesn't tell me to do. And you guys have heard me say that. And so my friend made a joke and was like, after I said I was having a lot of sex, my friend made a joke and said did God tell you to do that? And I was like, well, actually he did. And it was like to read I said you know what? This is going to be my next podcast episode? And it was like to read no, and I was like no y'all. But seriously I said, hmm, I had a moment. You know, y'all know if you, if you're not new to this podcast, you know you're going to be a big fan of this podcast. If you're not new to this podcast, y'all know when I have my moments, I said hmm, I said, wow, this is my podcast. It was in that moment when it actually did click to me what my magic was. I mean, I knew what it was, but it was in this moment. It was so clear that you know, I come here and I'm really just sharing my journey. But I share things that are usually seem as shameful. I share the things that people don't share because it's shameful. People will judge them, people will criticize them, people will think differently about them. All of those things Right. And I come here and I share it because God gave me the anointing and the power to be able to articulate it and also the provision he gives me during that healing journey on how to take care of myself. All of that Right. But I come here and I share it and so many people resonate with it because, like I said, I'm human, I'm not alone. And right, this glad nomination and you guys tuning in, let's meet. And you know you are not alone, I'm not alone, and you know so. I come here to share, because this is my anointing, this is what I'm was put on this earth to do, but it is up to you to keep it private. But I was telling my friends. I said, you know, that is actually exactly how. I know that this should be my next podcast episode, because I'm sharing this with you guys, because you're my best friends and like I feel really safe. I know, no matter what, nothing's gonna change. Y'all are gonna just be curious and want to know more, but you're not. It nothing's gonna change after this. You just like okay, girl, she going through, she having her little moment, whatever right like. And I realized if it was any other group of people, if I had just like, just met them, I wouldn't have came up out and just said that. And it was because I was in a safe space that I felt safe to share that. But even in safe spaces, most people don't feel comfortable to say that. And I realized that this podcast is Me creating that safe space to share the things that are usually seen as shameful, so that I can give you a new outlook and new understanding of it. And when I said that God told me to do it, I meant that, and what I meant by that is, like, god is within me, god is my intuition, god is always trying to direct me to healing and my well-being and what's best for me, and I explained to them. You know how. You know, having so much sex has been like, so empowering for me. It was something so it had been so liberating, it had been so fulfilling, and so, yes, I was comfortable to tell them. But I I, you know I have gone through a lot of vitriol and hatred and Dragging and trolling online. Where I come here and I am vulnerable and I share myself and I've done it for ten years now, and there has been moments where People do judge me and criticize me and tear me apart and make me look a certain way and it hurts Because I'm just trying to be here, to be open and to connect with people and to help them feel confident and human and their experience and and the fear comes up of like I just want to be loved and I just want to be accepted and I don't want to be Torn apart, and so that is what took me some time, like that's why I've been procrastinating this episode. I knew I wanted to do this episode for like a month or two now and before you know old me would jump to doing it and push myself because of the pressure of work, right and and and they they want the video, they want the podcast and to wreak, you can't stop. You got to make money, you got to do like all of that, right. But now I've healed to a place now where I have to heal myself first before I can heal anyone else. It's just like you have to take care of yourself before you can do that job or go to work. We spend so much time Trying to be perfect, trying to be something, trying to get to a goal, that we Leave our well-being, our health, our healing as something to do when we get extra time. When no, it is just as important as the work, because you cannot do the work unless you're okay. And also, now that I am healing other people, I know that the only way and the only reason I know how to help people heal and heal others is Is because I've healed myself. I don't ever want to push myself to do something that I don't want to do, because if I do, it won't be authentic, it won't be real and it would just not be fair to me. And I love me and I want to Always ask myself is this me loving myself? And so I had to make sure that I Was okay with sharing this with strangers, sharing this and allowing people to do what they want with it, because I've already done the work to build my confidence and and to love on myself and to tell myself it's okay, tariq, you love me like this, this is, this is how you are expressing yourself in this time. This is the season you're in. It's okay, and I wasn't ready in December. I was still, you know, a little shaken by. I was still. I still had shame around what I'm about to share with you, and now I'm so empowered by this experience and what it has given me, now that it doesn't control me. It has actually given me more strength over it. Okay, so, let me get right into it. Okay so, you know, trigger warning. Okay, I already told you guys, this is not for kids, this episode, but we, we don't get into it. Okay so, look, I, I did not like my body for most of my life and you know, I grew up, you know, obese in some years and I was bullied at school. I was bullied by my family, my brothers, my cousin, like they would like hold me down and poke my stomach and call me fatty. And you know, like I Did, I did not like my body so much to the point where I Would go to gym early and elementary all grade school when I was, when I had gym, I would go to gym early just so I could change Early, before people came in there, because I didn't want people to see my body. I hated beaches, I hated pools because I had to take off my shirt. And that's so crazy because you guys see now how much I love the beach, right, I'm always at the beach. But to think that like I was scared of the beach, like because of having to take my shirt off, and you know I would sometimes be in the sand and be like, oh, I'm tired and they'd like to reek it in the water and I will go with my shirt and it like to reek, take off your shirt. And it got really bad to a point where you know I was starved myself. I was really young, like looking up diets and starving myself, and when I say starving myself, like literally going Days without eating and like really trying not to eat, I would, you know, go downstairs and like picket my food and really just not eat. I would eat enough just to get up from the table, and not just for like one week or two weeks, but to the point where my mom Would watch me eat to make sure that I did eat, and when she wasn't, you know, with me, you know Because my dad, you know I was with my dad. They were separated all my life. My mom would be like, oh, did you eat? You eating right? And like, whenever my weight would fluctuate if I got smaller, she'd be like to wreak. Are you eating? All the way up into my teenage years? Because they know about when I was younger, because I had an eating disorder, you know I went to the doctor when I was in like fourth or fifth grade and he told me I was obese and you know he wanted to do some tests. And my dad, you know, we went home and and you know he told me not to eat for the rest of that day and to come back in the morning. And my dad, you know, dinner happened that night and he was like to read come eat, and I was like the doctor said, you know I shouldn't eat, and he was like three, that doctor Don't know what he talking about. You are just fine, and you know, I, I, I Would have loved to believe him, but to also have every single person around me making fun of my body and to not be the size of the people around me. I Thought the doctor was right and so when my dad didn't take me to the hospital, I kind of took it upon myself to take care of my body image and my health, and so, as a child, the answer to that was starving myself, and that was one part of, you know, the relationship I had with my body. But I was also, when I was younger. I was sexually assaulted, you know, continuously, for years, by my older stepbrother, and you know when do I want to go with that? What are you comfortable with? To Rick, you know, something I'm trying to do, you know, is is is be more aware of of why I'm sharing instead of over sharing, and the reason I'm sharing that is because I Was young, I was a baby. Hmm, I was a baby, I was, it was over years, so it was like kindergarten, first, second, third grade right and you know, he was in like high school and being made fun of for my body and also being different. I was queer, I was feminine, I was, you know, I I Felt invisible and unseen and unheard and there was a lot of things that I needed and it made me feel good, made me feel good, but the conditioning that it did, to my mind, was that I had to give my body In order to get that attention, to get that love, to get that special time, because it was, like you know, in the middle of the night he would come and like he would have like a secret, like, you know, wink, or something where I knew it would happen or whatever. And it made me feel special and and I Remember that feeling, right, you know, I remember that feeling and you know the reason I'm sharing that is because it Mentally conditioned me to commodify, I would say, my body and a way of I had to give my body to get the things that I needed. And then, when my family did find out and it stopped and I was still getting made fun of for my body and as I'm going into middle school, I'm like struggling with my weight and I'm not struggling you hear that Messaging, right, that language struggling with my body. I'm a child. I was not struggling with my body, but I was struggling with loving and accepting my body. Hmm, right, and what happened in those middle school years, especially going through puberty and learning that I was queer and Learning, and I mean, in a way of like I'm starting to get hormones and I'm starting to see what gets me, you know, you know a little more firm Me. Leave it to me to have some comic relief in this moment. But yes, and and the my middle school years, something happened where I kind of disassociated from my body. My body became something I had to Give. It was like I said it was a commodity. I also had to change it, I had to fix it. I was always in in a battle with my body. I tried continuously to get consistent in the gym and I would like Tell myself to wreak. Do you want to lose weight? Then you need to get in the gym and then, if I didn't lose the weight that I wanted, I would be mad at my body. And then also, because of, you know, my, my eating disorder in the starving, I actually really love food and so I also another side of my eating disorder was binge eating. Because I love eating. I love eating and and you know I come from southern Virginia. That's why I was like born and raised in my younger years before my unknock would took me in and my family's southern Like soul food is not like soul food. Saturday is like no, you can go to my grandma's house right now. There will be some some other pork chops with some collard greens. Back about cheap, you know what I mean. Like it's regular food so, and we are cooks, we all cook really well so I love eating and eating makes me feel good. And so when I was working out and I wasn't losing the weight that I wanted to lose, I would tear myself apart, I would tear my body apart and then that would lead me into a depression and then to feel better, I would just eat a lot, like it was just a really bad cycle. And in when you pull back and just become aware of that experience Right, instead of being judgmental of like, oh, that's sad, that's this, that's right, that's wrong Just become aware I I saw the type of relationship I had with my body. I was telling it what to do, what I wanted from it, and when it didn't give me what I wanted, I hated it more. I would like see myself in the mirror. I'm like, oh, you don't look good in this. Like I don't like how I look in this. Like I did not like Taking pictures I don't. You really won't even find more than five. Or you see the same pictures of me when I show my body when I was younger. Because I would avoid full-body pictures, I and the ones that I did find I would delete, I would throw away, I would burn. And so now in my adulthood, I don't have as many pictures of when I was younger because of how much I hated my body and this didn't change. This was you know. You know I Went into high school and college with with that kind of relationship with my body because all my life you are the reason people made fun of me. You are the reason that I never fit in. You were the reason that I was single doubt. You were the reason that I was taking advantage of. You were the reason Hmm, you were the reason I didn't love myself. You were the reason I was depressed a lot of times, why I hid myself in my bedroom. You were the reason and that's how I felt with my body. So I disassociated from it in a way where there's me and then there's my body and that kind of sounds crazy. But that was just one part of it. It was this next part that really helped me understand it in a different way. I learned that I was queer, in a way of knowing for sure that I was attracted to boys in middle school. I had always been attracted to boys. Before middle school I realized how like oh, that's why I really cared about that friend and I knew that they were cute, I liked them, I knew I was it, but I didn't know it, it wasn't conscious, right, and it wasn't until high school, where I'm from. In middle school I was in Portsmouth, virginia, chesapeake, all of that and it was a hood and so a lot of the people were having sex in the hood. I'm just being honest early it's not the best environment with the best examples. So people were having sex around me and I wasn't really having sex one, because I was queer in Virginia, there wasn't really many options. But when I did start learning more about my queerness and what that really meant in that sexual world, I'm a baby gay at this point. So people are telling me, because I was a little bit more feminine, that I was like a bottom. Now, for my girls, if you don't know what a bottom is, okay, google it. I'm not about to give a Google it girl, top, bottom and verse all that. Yeah, I just assumed that I was a bottom. Okay, I'll explain a little bit. Okay, a bottom is the one who is doing the bending. Well, so, pretty much a bottom is the one who is, like you know, bending over and giving, you know, the back door Boom. I think I've made that very clear. And because, like most queer people you know, we came from a heterosexual. Well, no, it's not most, but we live in a heterosexual, heteronormative excuse me, heteronormative society and world, which means that the norm is to be straight. And so when we do, you know, go into living into our truth and being queer and being gay or whatever you are, a lot of people transfer all of what we have already learned into that new life. But it's completely different. It's not a man and a woman, it's not a man and a man, but all we know is what we've been given. So we see feminine and we think bottom, you know. And so people told me and just assumed that I was a bottom and with that conditioning that I had from my childhood, you know, my body was something that I would give so that I could get that love and attention and care, and you know all of that. And so if guys came to me and assumed I was a bottom and that's what they wanted from me and they want, you know, if we're dating and sex is a part of that, I just figured that that's what I had to give in order to, you know, have love. And I'm not I'm not saying to say that it was like a horrible experience every time but with that conditioning I never really went into sex or I never really had the approach or feeling going into sex or having sex that this is for me. I was always thinking about how I was performing. Was I bending right? Am I arching my back? Am I like, do I look good? Does he think I'm fat? Like it was all that anxiety. It was so much anxiety of just making sure that I'm doing what he needs so that he doesn't leave Right. And so sex, you know, it became run of the mill at some point. You know, my first boyfriend I had, and you know, when I was in college and you know I enjoyed it for what it was, you know, but I was never pressed to have sex, like and if you watch videos of me on YouTube you'll hear me say it all the time Like I'm not really that sexual, I'm not really into sex like that, and I really like I could be in a relationship and go without having sex, like literally we could just do like foreplay and I could probably just watch porn and do my own, like I would be fine. Um, and that's because sex really I had never really enjoyed it for myself and, believe it or not, it wasn't until my last relationship that the one I always tell you guys about that was, you know, abusive emotionally and mentally that I actually started working on my relationship with my body. Because we met at the beginning of the pandemic. I had just moved to LA, I had just graduated college, it was like May 2020. Um, I met him on Tinder. We were on lockdown and he was consistent and yeah, and. But we actually did have good love in the beginning, right, like it was fulfilling, it was great. And in our relationship he really loved my body. Like you know, I didn't like my body and, like I said, this was the pandemic. So we're eating Uber eats every single day and like I'm a foodie, he's a foodie, we love to eat, um, so I gained like 30 pounds, like I was over like 200 pounds. Um, and even through that, like it ruined my confidence because I felt less of value because of what I had been the relationship I already had with my body. Right, but through all of my sizes, he was still attracted to me. And you know I would be in the mirror like, say, we're in the bathroom and we just woke up and I'm brushing my teeth, he's brushing his teeth and I would be like I look so fat. He was like, hey, like he would defend my body. He was like, stop talking about yourself like that. And I did it a lot and I didn't even realize it until how many times he had to stop me. And you know he would say like your body is beautiful. And you know, at first I thought he was just saying that because, of course, with everything I've been through with my body, I've had friends, family, people tell me to read you look okay to read, you're not fat, to read, you're this or whatever. I've had people try to affirm me all my life. When it came to my body, that him saying it in the beginning I was like he just saying that cause he's my boyfriend. But being that close and intimate with a person and seeing him like watch me from afar with my shirt off and like really getting you know horny and like really being attracted and turned on by my body was I was really confused. I would like literally look at him with a confused face, just like this. I looked at myself one day and I said to Rik well, if he can love your body, why, why? Why can't you love your body? You know and this was after I would say I had three huge fights in my life that I had to fight to love my blackness, my queerness and my body. And, believe it or not, my body was the hardest one of the three. But I told myself to Rik if he can love your body, I think you can too. You did it with your blackness, you did it with your queerness, you can do it with your body. You can. And this is also why I say you know, everybody is not in a good position or in the good environment to heal, because going on that healing journey, opening up that Pandora box, is heavy. It was heavy. I had to deal with my assault from being a child, talking about it in ways and going. You know, my methods of healing are going back to an old part of myself and inner child, visualizing going to them, giving them the words that they deserve, giving them the love that they wish they would have had in that moment, bringing them to the present back with me and leaving the trauma there. But going back there, it was so dark and it was so heavy. And I remember traveling back to that time and the first time I had sex. After that, like when my healing journey of my body started, my first time having sex with my boyfriend, I felt like I was being raped and I just started crying. He was like are you okay? Are you okay? And I? So it's heavy and it, and when you first start it is going to feel like why am I doing this? This feels counterproductive, but through that anxiety, through the trembling and through the shaking, I hugged and loved myself and told myself I was safe. In that healing. There were a plethora of things that I did to help heal my relationship with my body, and I'm actually going to add you know exactly what I did to heal that relationship on the subscriber version of this podcast so that you can go get those extra clips. But for the sake of this episode and whole lot of sex, I just want to I'm sharing that to let you know of how much work it took and one of the things that I did do I had to change my mindset. This is not. I'm not just, I'm not here for a service. Okay, this should be pleasurable for me. Sex should be pleasurable. Can we remember that Sometimes we forget that you know we get so much in the performance and you know what this person thinks and do I look? Sex should be pleasurable and let me use a different word, because pleasurable is always used with sex. It should be enjoyable, it should be fun, it should be something that you enjoy. It should not be torture. I realized that I was just feeding that trauma of the assault that I went through by continuously putting myself and my body through unenjoyable, anxiety inducing intercourse where I am just not comfortable and my body was hurting. But, like I said, I disassociated myself from my body, so if it was hurting I was like well, girl, I just this is the cost, but I'm okay, right, like my body, whatever, but like, I'll be okay, I'll get what I need after this, right, like I got what I needed after the love, the, the, the, whatever, the, the boyfriend staying or whatever it was I was after, but I just had to give my body. So in this, in this process of building a relationship with my body that was healthy, that we love each other, that we work together, that we are one, I had to start asking myself are you comfortable? Do you want to do this, not just having sex? Because we went on a couple of dates and like, now we're here and I did entertain it a bit and if I pull out now, who cares? You can change your mind whenever you want. Before, during it, you can stop when you want, and I never gave myself that agency before. And so in the relationship I made it a goal to have fun during sex, like instead of like trying to perform and do like the pornoes. I was giggling. You know I'm a goofy person, so you know making little jokes here and there. You know making them laugh and like it's fun, so that we want to have sex. It's not like can we do it tomorrow For me and everything I've been through. I don't want to be in any situation where my body is uncomfortable and I'm doing something that my body is not saying yes to. It has been through enough trauma and at any moment. If it's not, then I am going to protect my body, just like an inner child. Actually, thank you, I'm not feeling it no more. Oh yes, and my friends laugh at me because I have several times in the middle of sex. I'm not feeling it no more. I'm sorry. You know, you have the agency in the right to change your mind. It is your body. You don't owe anyone. Your body, it's your body. And after a lifetime of people having opinions, scrutiny and and making me hate myself because of their thoughts on my body, I, mm-hmm, I started loving myself to a point where I wanted to protect my body in a way where, baby, I Get to decide what happens with this. This is mine, and so you know, though there was a lot of pain in that last relationship it did. I will always give it its flowers for what it did for my relationship with my body, because I don't know if that would have been impossible in Any other Realm, like I think it had to be with an intimate partner that loved me through the different shapes and showed me that my body was deserving of love. And when I learned that it was deserving of love, I wanted to be the main person to give it to, and so when we broke up and sex did become Comfortable for me, I started to allow myself to just Explore my sexuality Also, just considering that like being a queer person in high school and middle school and college, like I was always. You know, and a lot of queer people will identify with this I was always the gay best friend, like my girlfriends had boyfriends. My girlfriends were getting pregnant in high school, like they were having regular sex. It was me, a Couple other gay people in the school that we were not attracted to each other. Okay, so we had to live vicariously through our girlfriends, our guy friends, like seeing you guys have relationships and boyfriends and Valentine's and the quarterback and the cheerleader dating. We didn't have that. We didn't have that. And then when I went to college, I was really just in the library all day and night Because I was a bio major in pre-med and then on the weekends I was doing YouTube. So I really never really had space to explore my sexuality. So when sex did become fun and comfortable for me, I Wanted to allow myself the space to explore my sexuality because I didn't know it. I Didn't know it. I didn't know what I liked. I didn't know what I liked in sex. I didn't know what my identity was in sex. Like you know, I, just like I said, I assumed I was a bottom, because what a feminine aspects and what people told me, like I didn't know a Large part of myself and especially if I'm gonna be giving my body and experiencing my body with other people sexually, I want to know what my identity is. I want to know what I like. I, if I am to be pleasure and if this is supposed to be a good experience, I need to know what I do and don't like, what I am and not am not comfortable with. I want to know what's out there. You know, like I, have lived in a heterosexual scope all my life and Continuously because and still because, it's a heteronormative world and so we don't see. We didn't learn gay sex in sixth grade when we were watching those movies in gym and health class. I, I didn't see movies with gay sex. Growing up like we, we don't know anything. And so, when I did finally get to the point of Allowing myself this space to seek and to learn myself and to learn myself sexually, I just gave myself the space to just explore. And so, you know, I did a lot of different things and you know, it was one thing I'm a share that I was like not sure if I was gonna share, but there's a reason I want to share. You know, I didn't even know what a bathhouse was. Okay, wow, I'm gonna share this. Okay, I didn't even know what a bathhouse was. Okay. Another thing that you can Google but I went to a bathhouse just for the shits and giggles of it, right, and you know, not even going there to have sex, just the idea of this is sexual. This is something I've never experienced. Apparently, you know, this is something that is popular in the gay community. Whatever, just removing the judgment, because, like, when you first hear that the first thing that comes up is judgment, like, especially with sex, right, it's like, oh, who going there? Why, I'm gonna watch you. And I said, in this healing journey and especially in this journey of seeking myself, the only way that I can learn myself is if I don't judge myself. I have to let myself show me who I am, and then I have to accept that I Will never learn who I am if I have these barricades up of judgment and shame, of saying don't do that. Though that don't do that. It's like a food that you never tasted, but you saying you don't like it. You never, you never try to darling, you know. And so I went into it with no judgment. I was just like, oh okay, a bathhouse. And Wow, it was actually a Huge turning point in my journey because it was so empowering. Like I just told you, I grew up going to gym early, just so I could change before people came and to be, you know, in the bathhouse. You just have like a towel on, but to just be walking around and people are naked, different body sizes, shapes and colors, and I mean just Just all of that. And at first I felt extremely uncomfortable because of my body, but then I realized nobody, then nobody care, and it was so many different body types that I was just like, oh, okay, and then To see other people being so free with their bodies, whether it was just being naked or walking around with a shirt off or, you know having sex, like Just living their lives and not worrying about judgment, just like this is a space to do what you want to do, girl. And you know they got a pool in jacuzzi. So you know I love a, I'm a water sign girl, so I definitely, you know, did a little splash in jacuzzi. I was scared, though, you know, cuz you know it's a bathhouse Anyways. Anyways, also it was so empowering because you know, like People go there to have sex and like, like I said though I wasn't there for sex people attractive, okay, I'm a catch, I will reach out for me too, but you know I was just being curious. So, but you know people would like reach out and like they do this thing where, like they just like grab your wrists or like your back or like Try to pull you so that, like you can have sex. And I was just there just looking. You know I'm just looking, I'll let you know if I need some help and they would move on, they would, they would let go of me and I could just go back to just being free. And as a person who had experienced Continuous sexual assault growing up from someone who was my family member, it was so empowering to have the agency to say no and to have them respect it, to actually have dominion over my body. It it became Literally just going, became a practice of building my confidence and comfort and my body and in my sexuality, and it's Because of my story and everything I've shared with you today. You see how that could be empowering for me, right? And it's because you were open and curious and aware, instead of just stopping at judgment and saying, for this net and the bath up Because you were open and curious. This is why I say curiosity is how we build connection, because when you just sit here and you are aware and curious, and every time you want to judge you like nope, that's being judgmental You're able to resonate Because this is my story, right? This is how my healing journey has gone. That was empowering for me. It's not gonna be the same for you. Maybe there may be some things in your journey and your healing journey that most people will see as shameful. Most people would judge you, criticize you, think of you differently, stop being friends with you. I lost friends, I lost a best friend in this journey because they started judging me and treating me different and in Seeing me different because of how more open I was to the idea of sexuality. And sometimes we say we're open to things and we, we accept things until it's like actually in our face and close to home and you don't even realize that you're slut shaming. And so I'm saying this to say that the healing journey, the reason I'm sure it gets dirty and it gets radical I'm a really radical, open type of person. So my healing methods, like I think God puts me through all of this and because it is so radical, you're able to pick out the true themes, you're able to really see it, it's like a really good TV show, like it's a you know when you watch a movie and it's like, wow, okay, so the door was just open, it's a movie, right, it's for the story. So I think God puts me through Extreme examples and I call myself an extremophile because I'm willing to go to the radical Lymphs to love myself and to accept myself and to heal and to learn. You know, just experience something and just see what it taught me and what it did for me and if it didn't, just don't do it again. And it's not Saying yes to every single thing. There's no right or wrong. I Think I'm really just trying to drill that there is no right or wrong. You get to decide how your healing journey looks for you, and so in this journey you have to just be really intentional about slowing down and identifying judgment so that when you know that you're judging yourself or putting confinements on yourself, you can pull back and just be aware, write it down, Journal. Hmm, I've been having a lot of sex. What does a sex do for me? Well, I do enjoy it, like the touching, and I do be lonely when I'm not having sex. Am I going to the sex because it's making me feel connected and not alone? Ask yourself, that feeling will come up. Ask yourself when you felt that similar feeling another time, maybe when you were younger? When's other times that you feel alone? Was it when daddy wasn't there when you were younger? Was it you know your friends who haven't reached out like, become aware of your experience? Instead of you having too much sex, you doing that to cope. Like when you just stop at judgment, you leave out so many opportunities to learn about yourself, and the more you learn about yourself, the better you understand how to heal yourself. And so you know. The bathhouse really just helped me really remove a lot of the shame and a lot of the judgment around sex and myself and my body and allowing myself to have sex and to talk about sex. That shame and that judgment of not talking about it is why you know STDs and STIs run rampant is because when we don't talk about it it becomes something hidden. And when it becomes something hidden we can't talk about how to do it safe, how to do it healthy, how to recognize when it is unhealthy for you, when it's toxic, like when we talk about it, when we're open and when we're curious and aware, we can learn more about it so that we can help each other and be there for each other. And this is why I think therapy is important for everyone, because therapy taught me so much about what is judgment and what is curiosities and awareness right. And so when I would talk to my therapist and talk about you know, like maybe me being on Jack or me having sex, I would say it in a way of I would like kind of be afraid to tell her one because she's not queer and I am, and also like that shame that I have, you know, as a queer person and you know they think you know, the world calls us sexual beings and just all of that right, and so I already had shame and so I would hold a lot of it back and she would just be curious, like asking questions. And with every answer, the more I told her about some of the sex I was having, there was no judgment. It's a space for me to exist and to just be me, and through no judgment I'm able. When I know that I could just be myself, just like when I go home to those friends, right, I hear so much that's inside of me that deserves to be out here, that deserves to come out. And when we surround ourselves in judgmental spaces and spaces where we can't express ourselves, there's so much bottled end that we don't even know because we don't even have the space to express it and let it out. It's in these therapy sessions that, like I would share things and I'm usually, you know, reacted with, just like my friends did, but they're just being friends like, like surprised and shocked, like, oh, did God take it to do that? Like we just joking. But like in therapy, it's just her just being curious and just becoming aware and just making note. I'm like, oh okay, what do you like about the sex and you know, with no judgment I'm able to, like, really think about it. You know there's so many things that we impose shame and judgment on ourselves because of what the world has put on us or has put in society, even if you haven't received it directly. You see the slut shaming, you see, you know homophobia, you see a texturism, you see all of these things in the world and so, even if it, you don't get a whack, even if it doesn't come towards you, you see it, so you want to avoid it right? So I just operated in the world and in my life trying to protect myself from that shame. Because who wants shame? Because I have become more aware, with curiosity, awareness, judgment and shame looks like when I do it to myself and in therapy, I'm able to identify it in the world and I knew personally like I don't slut shame and in a way of like I really believe like girl, if you want to do it, do it like girl, of that show life, get your life girl, like I've never really been the person to like, shame you for something that you are, because girl I am. So look at me, my eyebrows, everything about me, girl, I'm just going to be me. I'm going to be just me, and you know I say I'm going to be different, but it's because I'm just being me. I'm not living in the confinements that society makes and says is right and wrong. So wrong is having a whole lot of sex and not valuing your body, and then right is don't have a lot of sex and you know, whatever. And so I knew that I didn't impose that on other people. But during this time, I was also battling and struggling with the judgment that you know, and the shame that was larger than me. You know, I can't like pick myself up by the bootstraps and take myself out of society. I have been living in a conditioning for 26 years that tells me that this is wrong and that this is shameful, you know. And so every time I wanted to beat myself up, I had to stop and be like well, tariq, you're not hurting anyone and you want this and this is healthy, you're fine, you're just having sex. The only thing that says that this is wrong is slut shaming. Give me one other reason why Because you're not valuing your body. But actually this is me valuing my body, because my body is telling me that it feels comfortable and that it wants to do this and that it's pleasurable and it's enjoying it. Right, I'm checking in with my body, I'm communicating with my body. That is valuing my body. And this also gave me a different perspective and understanding of misogyny, not even being a woman, but it gave me a huge understanding of misogyny. Because when you look at the differences and this is what's so interesting about being queer because when you look at men, they are allowed to have that freedom of just allowing themselves that pleasure and then also getting tokens and cool points because they're having a lot of sex Right. There's no stipulations on that. They're not not valuing their body when they go out and have sex right. And women, the more they have sex, the lower their value goes. But like, we're talking about the same thing here, we're talking about the same thing here Sex and if she's safe, she's not harming herself, she's not doing it to cope for something else, like before I was doing it for something right, to get acceptance, to get love. If I'm doing it because I want it for me, I want to have sex like, uh, I'm not doing this for you, I'm doing this for me. If anything, I'm gifting myself Just how you give yourself ice cream after working hard for a long day, girl. And also making that clear distinction of how, like, men and women are seen differently. With this, it helped me really identify that oh, that's just slut shaming. That's what they use against women, that's misogyny, that's this Like. This is not rooted in anything a value of substance. This is literally just used to keep you, this demographic, from having sex because the men don't want you to. And hey, there's a longer conversation about this right when we could talk about spirituality, religion, whatever, whatever your beliefs are. But I'm speaking about a human experience because there's a lot of different layers to this conversation. But what I'm tapping into is about you having once and you wanting something for yourself, not to cope for something, but because you want it and giving it to yourself and not depriving yourself of it because of the shame that it may come with or what people will think about you or what people will say about you. And college, I had sex once a year and then, yeah, yeah, like once a year, like once or twice a year, and I'll do like four play here and there, but, like you know, penetration like once a time. You know what I mean After we broke up and now, sex was a good experience for me. I was open to it. So if a guy and not even if a guy wanted it with me, if I wanted it with a guy, I would be open to it and I would allow myself to have fun. And you know, it was just a healthy balance at that point. I think at that point I was just having sex like when it comes and when it happens, like I wasn't really actively seeking sex, it just when it happens, like you know, I meet a guy, maybe I'm at the club, maybe I'm in Mexico, somebody kissed me, I'm like chow, I'm a heavy little night girl, you know and boom, and then you know it don't happen again for two months. Like you know, like that, like it was regular, right. But this is when the whole lot of sex comes in, because in the episode you deserve help, right? I told you guys about that. I was professionally diagnosed with depression and anxiety from my psychiatrist and I started Zoloft. So it'll be like a year that I've been on Zoloft and like March, and you know, this depression was the hardest depression I've ever been through. You know what they say about depression is it comes in different waves and it comes, and it usually comes back harder because what happens is depression is like the flu, right, but the thing is people, it's a sickness but people think it goes away, but really you just learn how to manage it. It's still there and that's why things trigger us. You know depression is from fear and emotions from the past. Anxiety is from the future, the worrying of what will happen. Depression is from the past. So those triggers and those heavy and sad emotions that you get from the past, the depression is still there. The trigger brings it up, right, and so you just learn how to manage it over time and you get better with managing it. So when you get depressed again from maybe something else or whatever, it sometimes will come back harder because it's compounded. And so you know, going into this depression, I, like I said in that episode, you Deserve Help. I just allowed myself to hit rock bottom because I'm always just trying to be the best, to wreak and be perfect. Well, not anymore, but like. That was where I was at and when I just allowed myself to just fall and to need help and to need support and to just allow myself to exist and allow myself to be human to wreak. You went through a lot of trauma. You went through a lot of trauma and you went through a lot of stress and you were going through a lot of stress at the time and you're depressed and so, yeah, you will be sad and yeah, you won't want to do hobbies. You want, like, make more space for yourself and love on yourself than judging it. Judging it is like it's right or wrong. I don't want to be doing it. Make space, it's okay. Tariq, you're depressed. What can I do for you right now? What do you need? And sometimes there's no answer. It's just the fact that I'm asking. And making space for myself was healing, right, and so, going into this depression, I did already, however, know my coping mechanisms Bench eating I eat for comfort. That's one Ever since moving to LA. Smoking is something that I would do when I'm depressed or anxious. It just puts me in a different state, and it was something that I would do to cope. Also, working a lot, just keeping myself constantly working, and the return that it gave me whether it's likes money, success that always made me. It gave me like a small dose of happiness and I would just keep chasing it, and so I would just work a lot and also attention from like guides. And so, like you know, in my past episode, hidden Depression, I was talking about how I was like on Jacked and I was like on the dating apps and just like messaging people and just seeing who wanted me, but like not actually meeting up with people. The difference now was that sex had became a pleasurable thing for me and after leaving therapy and being able to see me being a sexual being and that not being shameful, and coming back into earth, coming back into my life, and I'm like wait, I don't find it shameful. I don't declare having a lot of sex shameful. I'm not hurting anyone, it's safe. You know I'm taking the precautions needed while having sex and also making space in grace for I'm depressed and you know it's not, hmm, surrendering to the depression. It's kind of like like not fighting with yourself. A lot of times in depression we fight with ourselves to get better, so hard that it makes us more depressed. You know you're depressed but you expect to have a holly, jolly week all week You're depressed. So if you have a depressed day or if you have a day where you do smoke and you didn't want to or you did have sex to cope. You're depressed and it's okay. Just keep making space and loving on yourself and that love and the support and space that you give yourself will make you better. The only thing is, because I was also depressed, it was, so it was such a confusing time, right? Because, like, I want to always, always, always be myself and express myself the way that I wish and feel, as long as it is not harmful to other people or someone else, right? And so there's a lot of thoughts that come in, that is the depression, that is the anxiety, and then there's other voices, and then there's there's a lot of confusion, there's a lot of trying to figure out, and so I always just try to slow down and meditate and remember to make space for myself and make sure that I'm taking care of myself. So and so this is that yin and yang, right, because, wow, a whole lot of sex and allowing myself to explore my sexuality was very healing and empowering for me, and a different season, when I was depressed, it was also very toxic for me, because I was just doing it to cope, I was doing it to feel that pleasure, just the feeling like, because now I actually enjoyed the feeling of sex. I would go to it when I didn't feel good, because I wanted to feel pleasure. I wanted to feel good and, in addition to that, because I had not had a lot of sex growing up or in my life in general, I felt new and I also was like, well, I'm new here, it's like my first year on the block and I'm just having fun. It's like a 16 year old that just started having sex right. So it became difficult for me and I'm sharing this because I wanted to show how something can be healing in one season of your life and toxic in another, just how my ex was healing in one season of our relationship, but it was abusive and toxic, and another. And also what heals me may not heal. You is very, very personal to who you are, your experience and your DNA and that's why, when I do bring people on this podcast, I have to get to know them. I have to let them talk a lot, I have to become curious and aware of who they are, because what I tell one person is it's not it. The practices are the same, but how you practice it is different for everyone, and so for me, in the different pool of like I'm enjoying this, I'm having fun, it's just pleasurable, and then I'm also using this to cope. It required so much intention and awareness for me and grace, because there's going to be times where you're just doing it and then there's going to be times that you're trying to cope. And the only way that I could actually heal was if I became aware of why I was going to it, because when I stop and I ask myself why and I check in with myself and I slow down, it's all about the intention, right, because if I'm going to it intentionally, you know not to cope with something that's not, that's not pouring and feeding into my depression, but if it is going into coping and there's something hidden under here, you got to just be honest with yourself, and the way that you can encourage more honesty from yourself is by not judging yourself. You will be more honest if you know that you can be honest and like I would be honest with myself and be like I am going to this to cope and I'd be like okay, you know, like this is not what we, this is not the direction we were going in. But go ahead, girl, you're not going to die from one night and I'd be like yes, thanks, okay, we're going to do better after this. A friendship, a good relationship with myself. The more space you give yourself, the less you will take up, and I promise you, just try it. It sounds insane, but I promise you it's the loving and accepting relationship that we have with ourselves that heals us. That's what fills you up. That's what fills you up. It's the fulfillment that you get from it, and it was that kind of radical love and radical acceptance that I had for myself that slowed down the sex, that slowed down the binge eating, that slowed down the smoking, because I didn't need to cope as much. The only thing I needed was just love. I was also able to see the people who loved me in every season and different versions and how I was expressing myself and what I was going through did not define who I was. I allowed myself to open up and to be something that I had never saw of myself before. I received so much rejection, but through that I received even greater acceptance from people I didn't even know could love me that much. So I really made this episode to encourage you to not be so hard on yourself on this journey, to allow yourself to show you who you are and how you are expressing yourself in this moment and become aware of it and accept it and make space for it. And when I say remove the judgment, that doesn't mean that you can't have once. Wanting to not have as much sex is not judging. Judging is you shouldn't be having that much sex. Having that much sex isn't right. I was having that much sex and telling myself not to rake. We have them fun right now, but we do want to get. You know, we want to. You know, not go to this is coping and I'm like I know, I know, I know that's the relationship. So giving them space, but there doesn't need to be judgment. And so, yes, that is, you know, a whole lot of sex. I'm really happy because, you know now you know the sex has like really been slowing down for me. You know I was having a lot of sex and a lot of it was coping. And then, you know, as I healed and I allowed myself that space and like being aware of myself, giving myself the space to not be perfect, and after a while, you know, I just started that space I was giving myself. It was so much love, you know, a lot of times we think to get out of depression we need so much love from the outside world. But honestly, what will get you out of it even faster, and even take the time out of it Even stronger, is the love that we show to ourselves. And it was because I was so accepting of myself and loving of myself when I lost friends because of this space I gave myself. I lost friends because I was showing and revealing who I was in this season and in this moment and how I was expressing myself, and I didn't change myself to keep them. I left them walk away so that I could love them myself, because I knew I needed that space to heal. It's so funny because at the end of all of these podcast episodes I really never know if it's what I really like said or if it's great, and then I go to edit and I'll be like, oh wow, I ate. But I thank you guys, I love you so much. I really hope that this podcast touched someone and I hope that you just have grace and you accept yourself in a way that you haven't before. I love you. My name is Tariq Ali. Please rate and review. Yeah, yeah, I think that's it. I think I'm done. Okay, yeah, bye guys.

Introduction and the Pressure to Be Perfect
LA vs Home
The Power of Sharing Personal Struggles
Body Image and Childhood Trauma
Taking Back Agency of My Body
Exploring Sexuality and Radical Healing
Challenging Shame and Judgment
Intentional Healing and Conclusion