The Genie or the Bottle?

In the age of burning sage, analyzing synastry charts and announcing proudly that we are witches, it’s safe to say people are becoming more comfortable with the idea that one can make an ideal life for themselves with simple tools and it got me thinking. Were the dating checklist in Cosmo, Seventeen, and Vogue onto something? I have distinct memories of myself huddled in the corner of a middle school library with magazines sprawled across my lap, taking any quiz I can find and devouring all the checklist for finding my “Perfect Beau”.

I thought it was all bullshit but I found myself matching and tallying answers to find out things about myself that a magazine consumed by millions of people couldn’t possibly know. When I’d marry, what hair color the love of my life has, how much sex appeal I possess etc. And that desire to be desirable was… very telling of my age and how secure (or insecure rather) that I was in my body and my ability to organically attract the kinds of people that would fulfill my life. With age comes wisdom so eventually, I put down the Cosmos and picked up Yoga, a practice that I wouldn’t know until later would quite literally save my life. And through my journey of becoming a yogi, the spiral into spirituality took root and blossomed into a beast of candle magic, rootwork and a lot of self discovery.

Through this journey of radical self love and acceptance I found myself making intentions that included the kinds of people I wanted to surround myself with, I began to manifest like it was my job which prompted this light bulb moment: Was Cosmo, Vogue and Seventeen in their own unintentional ways, encouraging manifesting partners? After asking myself that question I automatically thought of Sex and the City, Charlotte in particular who had checklist made of checklist that her perfect man had to meet all the qualifications of. The show makes it seem excessive but in 2020 when we all have birth charts, full moon schedules and rituals in our back pockets… is there a place for the checklist? A form of manifestation that makes a person show up exactly how you want them too? The answer is yes.

So I’m not mad at the magazines for capitalizing on a human desire, to have our needs met. That’s what it all comes down to. I think a lot of times speciesism plays a role where humans forget we’re still animals, that we’re a young species comparatively and we still behave similarly to our primate cousins. One of my favorite books is Sex At Dawn, a look at primatology, psychology and sex as it relates to monogamy and infidelity. The most interesting thing about the book is all the information on Bonobos, the primates most closely related to humans. Bonobos are social creatures who have a social hierarchy, a matriarch because in the animal kingdom, females choose and live in a fierce egalitarian manner, the same way humans were designed to live and did pre-agricultural revolution.

And we know through the study of these animals and humanity, getting needs met are paramount to the survival and self determination of any species. The basic needs are the same across the board: food, water and shelter or what I like to call our “Day One Needs”. Those are followed by needs related to security in humans and socialization in animals, it’s not that other animals don’t have needs related to security, they just conflate them. The more effectively the social group operates, the easier it is to ensure security for the entire clan. In essence, the sum is bigger than its parts. A lot of times it feels humans work backwards, trying to get needs met out of its natural intended order; that can be blamed on capitalism and the way our “Day One Needs” have been commercialized under it but that’s an entirely different discussion. The point is, as humanity has “advanced” if one could call it that, we’ve forsaken our nature as animals and it’s been to our detriment. Bonobos, Chimps, Lions and everything in between are intent on getting all of their needs met because that’s the only way a full quality of life can be expressed.

The Atlas Moth dies within weeks of leaving the cocoon matured, why? Because the male moth will fly miles to mate with the female and when he gets to her, he uses the last of his life force to reproduce. The female lives long enough to lay a couple hundred eggs and pass on like her counterpart. This example may seem a bit extreme but it’s an adequate representation of my point: Animals get their needs met if it’s the last thing they do. We’ve got it all wrong, attempting to distance ourselves from our “primitive” qualities when they’re the ones most beneficial to us. The compromising of necessities is a human trait we need to abandon in favor of our more base ones encouraging us to forage until we find the berries that will sustain us.

Now in the midst of advocating for prioritizing needs, I want to be clear I’m not giving license to be grimy or selfish or a user in the name of self care, that’s not the endorsement. What I’m trying to get at is when our needs are met, we better contribute to the needs of those around us because we’re in this together. We belong to a social species and along the way peoples ability to fulfill their needs or ask to have them met begun to lack. That’s in part because of oppressive systems at play and compulsory monogamy but again that’s a conversation for another day. The point is spirituality teaches us to self soothe, love and respect our bodies and to set boundaries. It teaches us to reconnect with the earth thus reconnecting with the animal in all of us that has and will continue to roam this magnificent planet.

Instead of laughing at that Vogue checklist, I should have written my own in great detail with fierce intention. Instead of the other ladies hounding Charlotte for her inflexible standards, they should have made some of their own, applauded her for being brave enough to be an animal. Forsaking the animal in all of us who will die seeking completion is to forsake the parts of us that birth the most beautiful things about humanity, the parts that say all things made of this Earth deserve fulfillment and overflowing glasses. The parts willing and able to fill other glasses without shorting their own. To forsake the animal in all of us is to forsake community which is equally inhuman and unnatural to our roots as primates. So the next time you’re meditating or cleansing your space, doing yoga like me or whatever is in your self- care repertoire, take a minute not just to show gratitude but to write down one thing you will invite into your life.

I’ll give you one of mine: I will have emotional labor reciprocated in all of my relationships, platonic or otherwise.

Once I gave myself the freedom of writing it down, I was able to put it into action. Spot when I wasn’t getting reciprocity or was dealing with emotional vampires who’ll suck you dry because they can’t fill themselves. The longer the list got, the easier it was to demand better of the people around me, to demand better of myself when it came to creating and maintaining boundaries. The relationships in my life now are the healthiest they’ve ever been and it’ll only get better from here because I can share my life with other people more easily knowing I’m intent on attracting good company.

If you do this a few times a week or even a month whilst taking care of your base needs, you’ll realize how honest you’re willing to be with yourself and thus with the people who seek you out. I’ve always believed words hold power, it’s why my head is always in a book, it’s why I write all the damn time. Write down your hopes, your goals and intentions. It can be a scribble in the corner of a page or the torn edge of a newspaper. Whether it’s on beautiful stationary or a take out menu, putting power to the paper gets you closer to aligning to the opportunities and people who’ll help you find your tribe, who’ll be your tribe. These things come slowly at first, like any habit there are hiccups with deciding you can’t compromise on the things you know will sate you. It’ll seem impossible, maybe too selfish at first but stick with it, you’ll be better for it.

I haven’t picked up a magazine in ages but if I were to, I’m sure there will be a quiz or checklist and as opposed to rolling my eyes and giving half assed answers, I’ll take the time to answer carefully and honestly because even if their checklist is inconsequential, mine isn’t and a little practice in self love ain’t hurt nobody.

Stay primal, stay kinky.

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