The other night, I was talking to my daughter Desi, who is one of my best friends and arguably knows me better than anyone in the world. I mentioned that a man who has been pursuing me had called, and since she knew I’d been avoiding him (as I am prone to doing when men pursue me), she asked if I’d talked to him. I told her I’d let it go to voicemail.
She said, “Mom, why don’t you just tell him the truth?”
Perplexed, I asked, “What’s the truth?”
“You’re a theosexual,” she answered.
“Theosexual?” I asked.
“It means you’re only sexually attracted to Jesus,” she answered.
I laughed hard, partly because she’s so damn witty, but also because it’s the best, most honest answer I’ve found to the “Why are you still single?” question I so often hear.
Desi is right. I am theosexual. My spirituality is the center of my life. Not in a traditionally religious way. I’m decidedly bored (and sometimes even repulsed) by most traditional religion. But my interaction with the sublime realm, and the transformation it has brought about in my person, has left me fairly incapable of authentically engaging in anything that resembles the power struggles I’ve referred to as romantic relationships in the past.
I thought I was crazy for feeling this way until I spoke to my friend and boss, Elizabeth Ayres. She apparently has taken a spiritual path very similar to mine and has been theosexual for years. (She loved the term.) I don’t think she’ll take issue with me saying this here since her spiritual history is detailed in her memoir, Home After Exile: A Spiritual Memoir, which I have never read but am going to read posthaste now that I know it exists. I felt better after I talked to her, more normal for feeling like unless a sexual relationship is inherently endued with the sacred, I’m just not interested.
I haven’t always been this way. I think I always wanted to be this way, but I was scared that was weird, so I ran the other direction instead, only to find through a lot of agonizing trial and error that most of what our society offers up in the form of romantic relationships has no appeal for me. It’s not because I don’t like sex. I do. I love it, actually. I love it enough to want it to mean something.
I don’t want to hook up with someone because he has the right plumbing, a job, and is available for Friday night dates. I don’t want to slap some random man into the imaginary boyfriend-shaped box that society is telling me looms next to me. There is no boyfriend-shaped box. I’m whole, right here, right now. Just me.
I don’t want to expose the most vulnerable, beautiful parts of me to someone who doesn’t appreciate and love me on a profound level. If you want to play around, I get it. I’m not judging you. I’ve done my fair share of that in the past. But it’s not what I want anymore. Not here. Not now. I won’t be anyone’s playdate. My precious bodyheartmindsoul is not anyone’s toy.
I don’t want to give my power away to someone who isn’t on the same spiritual and intellectual wavelength as I am. In the past, my romantic relationships have been largely destructive. They have managed to again and again take my pure, authentic, beautiful, passionate, free experience of life and turn into a mundane, boring, controlled hell. I’m not risking that again. Life is too good. If I ever engage in a romantic relationship again, it’s going to be with someone who will take the sacred ride with me, not bring it to a screeching halt. Those kinds of men are few and far between. If mine turns up, we’ll ride, baby. But until then, I’m a-ok riding out this life thing alone.
Alone. I use that word loosely. I am rarely alone unless I choose to be. My life is rich with people who love me, support me, and engage with me on a deeply intimate level. But I don’t have a romantic partner. Does that make me alone? I don’t know. I feel way less lonely now than I ever did when I was trapped in houses with various men who didn’t see me, didn’t know me, didn’t want me to be anything but a bobble.
Speaking of being a bobble, I’m done being men’s dirty little secret. I’ve done that before too, and I’m not proud of it. I’ve allowed men to have secret romantic relationships with me in private, for various reasons, and then pretend I didn’t matter in public. Fuck that noise. If you want me, shout my name from the rooftops. If not, you don’t deserve me. I’m too good to be anyone’s dirty little secret. I’m not going to give you the best parts of me in private so you can take them and give them away to the people you are willing to acknowledge in public. I’m precious. I’m a queen. I won’t settle for anything less than a king. Kings are brave. Kings tell the truth. Kings love authentically with all they are.
Maybe all this means I’m more ready for a relationship than I ever have been. Or maybe it means I will never be in a relationship again. I don’t know. Frankly, I don’t care. I just know that the way I am living now makes me feel more whole, and more true, and more at peace, and more joyful than I ever have.
Desi pegged me. I’m theosexual. And proud.
P.S. My song for the day. It is my romantic history summed up in music video form.