HOW ALANIS MORISSETTE TAUGHT ME TO FEEL MY FEELINGS

The wisdom and wise words of Alanis Morissette taught me to finally feel my feelings…says Red Magazine’s Pip McCormac

“And are you thinking of me when you fuck her?” – You Oughta Know

That’s not when Alanis taught me to feel my feelings. That line, spat out from the depths of her era-defining 1990s album Jagged Little Pill was, for me, only a glimpse of empowerment. I’d bark the lyric like a helpless dog chained tightly to a tree: hollowly, with no real intent. It felt good to howl, but meant nothing. Aged 15, living in suburban Britain, quietly hating myself for being gay, I had no bite. I was meek, and this line was fun to sing, an eye on the door in case grown-ups overheard. But it had nothing to do with how I really felt.

In fact, as Alanis was emboldening a whole generation, I was learning to squash my feelings. Far better, I learned, to train myself not to be self-aware, not to study my shame at being gay. Far fewer outbursts, less look-at-me-meltdowns, if I just carried on, smiled through each day, forgot what I actually felt. Listened to Jagged Little Pill and pretended Alanis’s feelings were mine, instead.

“Thank you India, thank you terror, thank you disillusionment.” – Thank You

The next album was also not when Alanis taught me to feel my feelings. I rotated that record a lot, on my cassette Walkman, on coaches out of Bangkok, on Red Bull hangovers, on pillows made from my arm against bus windows.

Conversations about life, as a concept, took importance over what was actually my life. One step removed, I removed myself. “I’m an existentialist,” I’d declare, because of course that’s what all 19-year-olds were in 1999. I took a star-shaped stud out of my ear and left it on Sartre’s grave, sure that, if this were a movie, I’d meet my true love in the cemetery.

I played my life like a movie. I was just a role, my personality a plot point, changeable in line with the needs of each scene. Each relationship. If a boy called for me to be the ditzy ingénue, I could do it. The matriarchal carer? Done in one take. The sufferer in silence? My specialty.

My boyfriends didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know who I was.


“Lean in to your own personal growth. This will unlock your creativity, courage and self.” – Conversations with Alanis

Finally, two months ago, THIS was how Alanis taught me to feel my feelings. Self-learning my way through her podcast Conversations with Alanis, through her weekly Guardian newspaper advice columns, the 1990s rage in her voice has been replaced by a light, encouraging rasp.

Alanis, you see, likes to workshop her feelings. “Restore yourself to sanity,” she said in one episode. “The good friend in you that you can be to others? Be it to yourself.”

Sat in my self-care socks (alpaca wool, looking after my feet, my body, my mind), cat snoozing on my lap, my journey of self-discovery had begun. I’d had a breakup, but for once not a breakdown, was starting to wonder what I was really all about. Alanis gave me the confidence to find out.

For she doesn’t talk in inverted commas. There is no embarrassment at admitting she began an eight-week Imago course to help her be the person who could find a husband (it worked). No hint of the irony she was once so fond of when she speaks of “diving into self-knowledge,” or says “I thought I could just write songs [about my pain] but I found that having self-knowledge through deep intimacy and commitment was where I could find a deep healing.”

Self-knowledge, she made me realize, is key, and unlocking my feelings would not open a trap door.

When the anger at the break up finally dissipated, healthily, and was replaced by the sadness it had been masking, I knew what was happening, and why. Because I have the courage to be aware of my feelings, as they happen. To notice them, and understand them. To notice and understand myself.

Since learning to feel my feelings, I’ve been a better friend, to others and myself. More honest, less concealed. I’ve spoken up at work, begun two new passion projects, finally aware of what makes me feel lit-up. I’ve not got off with any boys because it’s the end of the date and it seems like the right thing to do, even if I don’t really fancy them. Because I know how I feel already, I don’t need a miserable kiss to tell me.

And I’m happy. I know when I’m happy. I acknowledge it, and it shines through and I feel it.

I feel empowered. And the reason I know I do? Because Alanis.

:: SOME FAVORITE ALANIS WISDOM ::
People who are in co-dependent relationships believe themselves unworthy of love and so put up with a lot, and compromise too much. Those in securely dependent relationships believe they are worthy of love and believe those around them believe they are worthy of love. YES!!!!

Mindsight –
How the mind can influence relationships, with others and with our own selves. Makes keeping the mind healthy a priority.

Autonomous healing is not the only way – 
The old adage that if you don’t love yourself, how can anyone else love you isn’t always true. The best healing can happen in relationships (romantic or otherwise) where you strengthen each other and learn and grow together. Makes sense.

On conflict resolution within a relationship – 
Talk it out. Both say your piece until you feel like you’ve been heard, and then, instead of compromise, talk it out more until you get to a place where you both win. Enlightened.

HELLO CHAKRUBS: YES, THAT’S A CRYSTAL DILDO

Forget the battery operated vibrator, and pick up a high-vibe, soul-opening crystal sex toy from Chakrubs. Founder Vanessa Cuccia shares her story with Gabriela Herstik.

Chakrubs founder Vanessa Cuccia

 

Yes, Chakrubs are exactly what they sound like, and these high vibe crystal sex dildos are here to shake things up! Vanessa Cuccia, the #girlboss behind Chakrubs, is on a mission to promote self-love, acceptance and a whole lot of awareness with some super sensual playtime. And with a background in sex toys and holistic medicine, Cuccia is the natural choice in enlightening the world, one crystal dildo at a time. By combining the healing properties of crystals with sexual energy, and then pairing that with some sexy intention setting, Chakrubs allow you to really root into your pleasure. So whether you’re an amethyst kinda gal or you’re more into onyx, you can get your sexy on while giving yourself some extra TLC – Numinous style.

The Numinous: The crystal dildo – something we would never have thought of but…are totally into. How did you some up with this concept? Why crystals?
Vanessa Cuccia: 
Really, the idea was the result of a culmination of experiences and desires I had experienced since a young age. About age four when my mother had a paranormal experience that opened up many conversations about energy, God, conspiracy, and spirits in my household. My father is also a doctor of the spine, an inventor of a non-surgical medical device called Extentrac to help heal and alleviate back pain, so I also had influence in the importance of homeopathic health.

 

My views on sexuality also played a major role in coming up with the concept. I had held my virginity in high regard, but when I had sex for the first time, I wasn’t ready. For many years, I struggled with feeling pleasure with another person. No sex toy on the market appealed to me, and yet I had a desire to explore my sexuality and remove shame around it. Crystals seemed like a natural and therapeutic option. Once I came up with the name and started telling people my idea, it was clear that this was something that was needed in the lives of many people, and the sex toy industry as a whole. The philosophy behind it being just as important as the product itself: self-love, self-awareness, and self-acceptance.

TN: How do the different stones used in each toy impact the experience?
VC:
Different stones have been used for thousands of years for their various metaphysical properties, since each stone vibrates at a different frequency. One may be best for opening the heart chakra for love, one may be best to open the throat chakra for communication and creativity. We suggest to our customers setting an intention with whichever Chakrub they choose. This way, each time they have a “session” with one, they are reminded of the growth they wish to achieve, the pain the wish to release, or the things they wish to manifest.

TN: Chakrubs merge two really beautiful energies: raw stones and sexual energy. How do they aid one another?
VC:
Crystals have perfect molecular structures, providing a therapeutic vibration that we may benefit from just by being near them. Some of us are very sensitive to crystal energy. Some of us – not so much. For those who aren’t so sensitive, they may first become acquainted with this energy by first feeling their own sexual energy – since arousal is an easy signal to us that energy is flowing. This can lead to the realization that energy is all around us, and helping us flow in whatever circumstance we are in – in turn, helping us navigate all areas of our lives. The energy of a crystal dildo will simply amplify sexual energy, and sexual energy will amplify crystal energy. This works through focused attention and awareness.

 

 

TN: Also, total fans of the wordplay in “Chakrubs.” How does sacred playtime, with the aid of toys, help to balance the energy of the chakras?
VC:
 When we are truly rooted in our pleasure, comfortable and excited, our minds go into a state of meditation. It’s a place free of anxiety. This allows for a clean and unblocked flow of energy, and that flow can become more intense when our intention is also to allow this to happen. The combination of sexual energy, intention and the energy from the Chakrub is powerful medicine for our chakra, endocrine, and nervous system.

TN: One of the most beautiful parts of your mission is to encourage love, especially self-love and acceptance. How does using a crystal dildo facilitate more love, acceptance and awareness?
VC:
 The philosophy behind Chakrubs is self-love, self-awareness, and acceptance. As such, this mission is instilled in each of the products, and there to be connected with each time a person uses a Chakrub, and sexual arousal with the use of Chakrubs becomes a signal to remember and tap into the ideas of self-love, spiritual growth, and awareness.

 

 

TN: How do you think being aware and vocal about your needs, sexually and emotionally, can help spiritual growth?
VC:
Spiritual growth IS self-awareness. It is understanding that everything that happens is happening as it needs to in order to facilitate growth. Removing fear and shame (or rather, not holding on to these feelings) from the part of ourselves that is meant to receive and give pleasure is a potent place to start on a spiritual path.

TN: What’s your advice for someone who is hesitant to experiment and use a sex toy? What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you?
VC:
If someone is hesitant to use a sex toy, don’t use a sex toy! However, if someone is hesitant to use a sex toy but still desires to use a sex toy – figure out what’s scaring you, do your research, and explore! Work towards understanding who you are, and what you need to feel pleasure. This is really about learning to understand and speak of your flaws as points of empowerment. To honor your whole self and your desires.

Discover more at Chakrubs.com