“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.” -Anais Nin
Dan Wakefield has done several favors for me. One of them was introducing me to the book, Autobiography of an Orgasm by Betsy Blankenbaker, which he reviewed in the Indianapolis NUVO magazine. The cover of that issue read “Dan Wakefield on Orgasms page 32”. I quickly turned to page 32 to discover how they knew each other. Betsy created the documentary “New York in the Fifties” based on Wakefield’s book of the same name. He has since been a mentor to Blankenbaker, much like he has been to me.
The second best favor Dan has done for me was introducing me to Betsy at the launch of her follow up anthology, Autobiographies of Our Orgasms. During that event, I had the pleasure of listening to several of the women who shared their stories of healing.
Autobiographies of Our Orgasms is a collection of life experiences – and no, it’s not porn. The memories, challenges, and experiences shared are all different, yet the connective elements in each story may resonate with someone on a surprisingly deep level. The hope is to inspire a spark of healing in others.
When I first spoke of Betsy’s first book, I would occasionally receive an eyebrow raise as a reaction. I had to laugh when I realized some people are not comfortable saying the word “orgasm”, even with today’s societal acceptance of shock culture. When I first started instructing Pilates fifteen years ago, it took me years before I was comfortable saying “pelvic floor” in class, so I understand this hesitation towards certain words that aren’t commonly used, but I have to laugh at it nonetheless.
I am so grateful to Betsy Blankenbaker for having the ovaries to speak out about her healing process, and amazed at the courage displayed by her and those that contributed their stories so that others may share in that courage to heal themselves. Courage is from the Latin root “cor” meaning heart. The whole-hearted approach Betsy took to her own healing, then bravely shared with raw authenticity is helping others find their inner strength to heal their own wounds.
The connection and awareness that is sparked by books by Betsy, by Naomi Wolf, by Dr. Christiane Northrup, or by Brene Brown all have valuable messages for their readers seeking validation that what they are going through merits attention and loving care.
Brown, in her TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability says that vulnerability was embraced by those she studied in her research. She was surprised by this and she realized that what made people vulnerable made them beautiful. Vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, creativity, of belonging, of love and those that cope with their struggles with authenticity find a way to emerge better than they were before.
Like The Beauty Myth, like Goddesses Never Age, Autobiography of an Orgasm was nearly impossible for me to put down, taking it everywhere I went until finished. Betsy is so brutally honest with herself and her experiences, I just can’t thank Betsy enough for sharing. Many of my friends who have read it resonate with her. Her journey, while not exactly like mine or my girlfriends, is certainly similar enough to know we are a part of the same tribe. We want to heal, empower, instill confidence, create strong women, influence positivity in body image, inspire creativity and fan the flame of individuals to be their authentic selves.
“Muriel Rukeyser asks, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” Betsy Blankenbaker did the thing I haven’t read anyone else do before. She said all the things out loud.” -Rochelle Schieck, creator of Qoya
I have been influenced by and have the privilege of knowing many brave women who are creating conversations that are healing for all of us. Betsy is one of them.
To learn more about Betsy and her books, please visit betsyblankenbaker.com.