So two years ago, I graduate college, and I hit that sudden gripping panic and terror of what to do with my life, and I think about this one moment. There’s a moment that’s a shared experience of my generation. A touchstone. It is the summer of waiting, just before the 6th grade, for your letter inviting you to Hogwarts. I tried really hard to distract myself. By then, I ‘knew’ it wasn’t real. I’m not stupid. I know it’s just a story. Still. Waiting. Warm, sticky nights with a fan 2 inches from my face, my brothers snoring in the bunk beds next to me. Alone. So much adrenaline. Couldn’t sleep. Then I would allow myself to fantasize what it would be like to be invited out. To be reassured I was different, and special. Like most children, or at least like most know-it-all Hermione Grangers, I wanted someone to tell me something I didn’t already know.
There is a lot of criticism of my generation. The “special snowflake” generation. The ones who all expect their lives to be different and exciting. What I hear when people say that is that we are not resigned enough to the misery. Not resigned early enough that real life is hard, and full of pain. We must live in some kind of fantasy.
There’s a difference I see: between living in a fantasy and wishing for magic. As a child, I didn’t want a toy wand. They depressed me. Honestly, they were painful. Painful because it wasn’t the wand that I wanted but the magic. To have a tool that didn’t work was worse than not having one at all. It felt like a reminder that something was missing. It touched the dark, tender spot in my core, the one of longing that would get hit later in unrequited high school loves, in deaths, and in desperation.
When I didn’t get my letter, I knew it wasn’t proof that magic wasn’t real– only that if magic was real, I wasn’t a witch. That, of course, like the empty wand, was a far worse possibility. Then I was useless. Then I was the hollow stick. I decided instead that magic wasn’t real. I decided that I would live in the real world, I just wouldn’t enjoy it very much.
While I was in college, I entered into a rather deep depression, the seed of which wasn’t so different from that of my childhood. It had the same restlessness, the same bleak quality. I would look out at the possibilities of my life, of the future– and see none that thrilled me. Nothing seemed good enough. Nothing seemed fun. It’s not so different from the longing for magic. And this is where I looked at myself and thought, “Wow, I should be more resigned to the fact that life is often boring, and we have to make money, and not everyone can be rich and famous, and magic isn’t real.”
Resignation, though, feels awful. The desire for something more is always underneath, and on top is always a dampening, a depleting, under the guise of “being realistic”. It isn’t unrealistic to want to fill the longing in you: that dark, slow reverberating wave. We’ve all felt moments when the thrill of living runs through us: when we jump into freezing water, when we speak in front of a huge crowd of people, when we tell someone the truth about how we feel.
Instead of choosing resignation, I choose to cultivate that internal stir, and living in that space, where you can feel your whole life in your body, is actually way more rooted in reality that being resigned to being bored. What it is is going towards the spot of most sensation: not the happiest, sunniest spot; the one with the most to be felt. I cultivate this skill through Orgasmic Meditation. Instead of figuring out what I wanted to do with my life, I started OMing. In OM, someone strokes my clitoris for fifteen minutes, and I notice what sensations arise in my body. They notice what sensations arise in their body. We both keep attention at the same spot: the point of contact. And we don’t try to make anything happen.
What I’m learning is that there is magic. I can have the kind of aliveness I want, the kind of fullness. I am more sensitive in every part of my life. I can feel more. Literally.
I touched my friend’s chest the other day and I felt him fill up my arm to the elbow with cold steel. I touched another friend’s chest and it caved in, warm mud after summer rain.
“Tender,” I told him.
“Yes,” he answered.
The difference now is that I am not waiting for someone else’s permission, like I was when I was eleven. I can have magic in my life, the thrilling pulse of electricity shooting through my body (we call it Orgasm). I can have it because I create it. I’m willing to look for it. I claim the responsibility of my own life, and feel my power there. If you want someone to tell you something you don’t already know, you actually have to open yourself to the possibility that there is Other. That there is something else. That you don’t have everything you need yet. If you want to find magic, you have to expect to find it when look for it. And then look some more.