Embracing The Shame In My Game

Before I found peace, another 'p' word was the highest pleasure in my life. But it wasn't just the physical ecstasy that sex provided me; actually, what I derived the most pleasure from was the power it made me feel over others.

Embracing The Shame In My Game
The entrance to a bar called "The Womb" in OKC. Of course I had to take the opportunity to show that I could find the clit 🤦🏾‍♂️😂

Before I found peace, another 'p' word was the highest pleasure in my life. But it wasn't just the physical ecstasy that sex provided me; actually, what I derived the most pleasure from was the power it made me feel over others. Surprisingly, not the power it made me feel over women, but rather the power it made me feel over men.

You've probably seen memes before that compare the 'Chad, Alpha Male' to the 'Virgin, Beta Male,' & even if you haven't, you're probably still aware that being sexually inept as a man is typically seen as undesirable. I internalized this fact at an early age & used the power that being sexually desirable granted me to carelessly use women as a means to feel dominant over men. Through meditating regularly, I recognized this toxic behavior, which brought an overwhelming sense of shame because women have always been the most supportive & caring people in my life. So fully accepting that I had been hurting them due to my own selfishness was truly devastating for me.

I've always been pretty sex-positive. I find nothing inherently shameful about sex & feel that two consenting adults should be able to do whatever they want to each other. So the shame I felt around sex had nothing to do with whom I had sex with or how much sex I had but rather, why I pursued sex like I did & how I treated those I had sex with. I felt shame because I was often manipulative or misleading to women who had shown a genuine interest in me as a person because I was only interested in their bodies. I felt shame for discarding the feelings of people who'd granted me access to their most vulnerable parts. I realized that by objectifying women, I dehumanized them, & in doing so, turned a sacred act of union into nothing more than glorified masturbation.

Still big on getting people naked - only now more figuratively than literally lol

Ever since I hit puberty, it was a goal of mine to sleep with a lot of women. And that is in large part due to the fact that I enjoy women and I enjoy sex. But it’s in larger part due to the fact that the men in my life taught me that a 'real man' could have his way with women. And a 'real man' is what I aspired to be. I remember I was visiting my father one weekend - I was probably 11 or 12. He had to go to work & was going to leave me at the house by myself until he got back. Before he left, he half-way jokingly pointed to a tin container on his dresser & said to me “them thangs in there if you need to use them while I’m gone”, “them thangs” being condoms. I still vividly remember him bragging to me about how many women he’d slept with at that point in his life. It meant something to him. So it meant something to me.

And it wasn't just him. I remember when my older brother lost his virginity & how he was beaming with pride because of it and could stop mentioning it to me and our older cousins. I could tell they were also proud of him for completing a sort of rite of passage and wanted to be celebrated that way too.

Being a naturally sensitive little boy, I was already a bit ostracized by the men in my family. And of course I didn’t want that. So, when I was shown that having a lot of women was valued by men, and when I started to get a lot of attention from women, I saw an opportunity to gain the respect and recognition that I'd always desired. And that's really when women started becoming a means to an end for me. Women started becoming an object for my pleasure - both the physical pleasure of intimacy and the mental pleasure of feeling more desired than the other men around me. And it didn't take long until that was all I could see women as. Whenever I saw an attractive woman around me, my first instinct was to have her sexually. I didn't care about her name. I didn't care about story or her interests. I didn't care about her feelings or her trauma. I only cared about her body and how having her body would make my body, and more importantly my ego, feel good.

There's a part of me that enjoys being objectified and I'd imagine that's also true for some women and perhaps in moderation, maybe objectification isn't that bad of a thing. But when you can only see someone else as an object of your desire, you have no other choice but to hurt them eventually because humans are not objects. Humans are not inanimate things devoid of feelings, hopes, dreams, or fears. Humans are not lifeless forms that cannot be hurt or confused. I’ve never hated women. And I’ve never treated women like I hate them - but I have treated them like they were disposable. I have treated them like they are objects - things for me to use until my interest in them was exhausted. And even though my actions were not coming from a place of hatred that doesn’t discount the amount of damage that I’ve done.

I really was one of 'those types'. Self-awareness has to come before self-honesty because we can only be as honest as we are aware.

Because not only did I dispose of women easily, I also bragged about it. Making music has been a long time dream of mine and when I moved to OKC in 2013, that dream became a reality. I formed a group with two other artists where my role was rapper/producer and 95% of the lyrics I wrote during that period were based around objectifying women. Bragging about my ability to attract women and my ability to discard them without care. Don't get me wrong, making songs about using women was par for the course for a rapper back then and unfortunately that hasn't changed much. And knowing that I'd been influenced by a larger toxic mindset is in part what helped me deal with the shame that I felt after fully recognizing what I'd been contributing to. Because deep down, the reason why I became so interested in treating women the way that I did is because of the male influences I had in my life growing up - both in person and through music. At times I had been made to feel not man enough and quite frankly, being able to get what I saw as a better quality of woman than the men who'd made me feel 'less than' made me feel more of a man than them.

For some reason, it's difficult for human beings to take accountability for hurting others. I think this is in part due to the fact that we know in feeling that we've hurt others, it will also bring a sense of shame for our actions. We convince ourselves that everyone is responsible for their own actions and while that's technically true, I also think there's more nuance involved - especially if you care for other people. Because we're not all created equally and we don't live in a society where everyone is treated equally. This is especially highlighted in male/female relationship dynamics. Women control access to sex but men control access to relationships. Because of this dynamic, some women may feel subconsciously pressured to have sex with a man whom they want a relationship with because they feel in doing so, it'll increase the likelihood that the man will have want a relationship with them. And it's this dynamic that I personally felt the most ashamed of because often times the women I was dealing with casually had either outright told me that they wanted something more with me or I could intuitively sense it but instead of being honest and just saying upfront that I was only interested in sex, I instead played coy, mislead, or manipulated them to believe that one day I would give them what they wanted when in reality that was never a part of my plan. And it was shameful. Regardless to why I felt the need to behave that way, that doesn't discount the fact that I did. I won't say that I regret it because I don't really deal in regrets but what I can say is that ever since I recognized that this is something that I did, I haven't done it again.

I can't overstate just how much of a piece of shit accepting this about myself made me feel. How shameful I was of it and how it still makes me cringe to listen to old music of mine and hear how my mind used to operate. I was so brainwashed that even after I recognized what I'd been doing, I couldn't stop my mind from going back to wanting to objectify women in my music. I would sit and try to write lyrics that weren't based around sex or women in a negative connotation and nothing would come out. So eventually, I gave up writing music. I still made beats here and there but I haven't made a complete song since 2015 which is the year I fully recognized my toxic behavior. And I think the reason why is because I'd never fully reconciled with that past version of myself who based his entire artistry around objectifying women & sex. Because in truth I look back on him & cringe because he's hard to recognize compared to the person I've grown into today. And that's exactly why I felt compelled to write this post - because shame that has been claimed loses its power. I no longer feel the need to hide the past version of myself but instead I'm going to put him on display. Not to show him off in pride but rather to warn & hopefully inspire others like me to choose a different route if they truly love women like I do.

We need to change the standard that we gauge manhood against. The definition of manhood should not be based around the ability to conquer other people but instead, the ability to conquer yourself. There’s nothing manlier than to be able to conquer your own selfish impulses if they are going to come at the expense of another's wellbeing. I’m really interested in helping to heal the dynamic between men & women & I think the only way that can happen is through self-awareness & accountability. Because we don't actually hate each other - what we hate is ourselves. We hate the people we've been forced to become because of societal expectations. We hate that we've been hurt and then been told to not acknowledge that hurt which subconsciously makes us want to hurt each other. A big part in healing the shame I felt came through the first blog post I ever wrote titled "An Open Letter to the Girls I Fucked Who Wanted Love But Only got a Dick" and it was the first blog post I ever shared because it literally felt like the most important thing I needed to address as a healing person. Not only that, I reached out to many of the women who I felt like I owed an apology and apologized to them for how I treated them. If you're reading this and you feel like I owe you an apology that you never received, please reach out to me - I would love the opportunity to try and right my wrong.

If you're familiar with the show 'Game of Thrones' you know that the main villain, Cersei, was publicly punished for her heinous crimes by having to walk the streets of her Kingdom completely naked while citizens relentlessly screamed 'shame!' at her over & over again. - the walk was aptly titled "The Walk of Atonement". This was likely the lowest point of this characters' life but afterwards she became more powerful than she'd ever been before & that is the lesson I hope to convey through this piece; that even though shame is a nasty feeling that makes us want to avoid it, by embracing it, working to understand its origin, and then forgiving ourselves for it, we ironically become more powerful & can live more shamelessly than we ever have before. And while sharing what I'm sharing in this post and through the music I once made definitely makes me feel vulnerable, I do it because I intend to die the same way I was born - naked & unafraid.

Growth Challenge

Apology and Reconciliation Challenge

Objective: To acknowledge past behaviors that may have harmed others, take responsibility, and initiate steps towards reconciliation where possible, fostering personal & collective healing.

  1. Identify specific instances where your actions or behaviors may have caused harm to others. Focus on relationships or interactions where you feel your actions were guided by harmful attitudes or behaviors that felt right at one point but that you are no longer align with.
  2. Try to understand the situation from the other person's perspective. How might they have felt? What impact might your actions have had on their feelings, self-esteem, or life?
  3. Acknowledge the emotions that this exercise evokes in you. This process is as much about your growth as it is about making amends.
  4. Decide if you want to apologize to this person or people and do so either via text message, letter, or phone call depending on how best to connect with that person.
  5. Notice how you feel both before you deliver the apology and after.

Cleaning Out My Closet - Vrex

In 2013 I packed my life into my car and moved 1000 miles away from home to OKC to make music with my homie. I won't go into too much detail here because that era deserves a post of its own but upon arrival, the dream of making music manifested very quickly. We called ourselves "Vrex" which stood for 'Vagabond Rex(latin for "King")' or 'the Wandering Kings'.

It was a really magical time. My role in the group was rapper/producer and while I honestly think I was a clever & talented rapper, the content of my lyrics, being mostly about sex & objectifying women, makes the more healed version of myself cringe. And because I never fully embraced that shame, it created a blockage in my creative flow which has caused me to not finish a song since 2015.

And that's why I feel called to share that music now. Because as much as I know it'll likely make you cringe too lol or at least surprise some people who didn't know that version of me, I also hope that it'll show that growth and healing is possible for us all. If you want to check out some of the music that I made during that era of my life, the soundcloud link is below. And if you're reading this the day it was published, check out my IG stories for more commentary surrounding these tracks & my musical journey! 💜