While personal hygiene is important, hygiene is not the subject of this particular post. (However, if you want anyone to appreciate your goodies, you will want to have clean genitalia. Thus, be like Day Day in Next Friday: “…keep it clean, though.”) Funny thing though, cleaning coochie has taught me a lot about life coaching.
In Life and Sex coaching, sympathy is not a useful emotion. I am not sure if it is a useful emotion for my life in general. Even though having sympathy for others sounds good, it is not enough for the practice of good coaching. Having empathy for others is what makes the coaching process beautiful. When humans employ empathy, they both teach and learn.
In literature, the term Universal Theme transcends culture, gender, ethnicity, race…. Themes such as hate, love, fear, and anxiety are experienced by all human beings. Likewise, when applied to the broad human condition, universal themes become a foundation for life and sex coaching in the form of empathy. In other words, personally, I may not understand what it means to lose a sibling or what it feels like to “come out of the closet.” However, I do understand sadness, which may be present when losing a loved one, or fear, which may be associated with truly revealing self. I do understand what it means to be human. Hence, I do not feel sorry for my clients. I tap into universal emotions and the human spirit during the coaching process. I feel with my clients.
My mom always told me that I was hers, so anything that I owned was hers too. If she grabbed my arm in jest and I protested, she’d open her eyes wide and would then hold my arm tighter: “This here is my arm. You mine; the arm is mine.” I could do nothing but laugh. That must have stuck with me because that was how I felt about my daughter when she was born. In a weird way, my empathy for women intensified within the first few hours after my daughter was born. She passed Meconium, and I am honored that I was the first one to wipe her bottom. However, before that moment, I am not sure I really realized I had a daughter. Don’t get me wrong. I saw her come out. I knew she was a girl, but I was caught up in having my first child. I was enthralled with my wife and my daughter. I was making sure I was out of the way of the doctor and the nurses while trying to be in the mix. Later, when everything settled and my wife and daughter were safe in their hospital room, my little pumpkin passed her first stool. I was excited. I love being a part of my children’s lives.
I plopped my little one down and opened her diaper, and there it was: a pooped-covered vagina. By this point of my life, I was very familiar with vaginas. I had seen them up close, smelled them, licked a few, greedily ate a few, fingered a few…. You probably get the point. One the other hand, I had never seen one covered in poop, nor had I ever cleaned a coochie (without my tongue). Lastly, I had never felt that I had a vagina, but she’s mine; the vagina is mine. Our vagina was covered in poop and needed to be cleaned.
If I really wanted my daughter to be clean, I would have to open and move stuff. I would have to dig a little. All I could think of while I was cleaning our vagina was “How do I keep this thing clean?” Having daughters has truly given me the opportunity to see and experience another world.
I had argued about the correct placement of a toilet seat with female friends of mine prior to having daughters. My friends would tell me that a toilet seat is supposed to be down after it is used.
I lived in a house of women, run by women, and they never gave me that particular rule. Thus, I never thought about it too much until I lived with a woman for the first time, and even then, I did not let the discussion touch me. I never attempted to empathize with why this toilet “thing” was important to women.
My empathy grew when my daughter, the same one with the poopy coochie, began potty training. She is a smart girl, and she displayed her intelligence at a young age, skipped a grade in elementary school. One day, during the potty training days, my daughter walked in on me while I was peeing and announced that she wanted to go to the bathroom standing up like her daddy.
Hey, I am a smart guy. I earned one doctorate, and I am working on a second. With all of my brains, I decided that I would go to the bathroom sitting until my pumpkin was totally potty trained. Brilliance! From that moment, I went to the bathroom sitting, whether I was taking a poop or peeing. Sitting became a real habit. I did it without thinking: it became such a habit that I would pee in the middle of the night without turning the light on. I would just flop down on the toilet. Peeing in the dark was not my usual modus operandi. I generally needed light to take accurate aim. Life continued in that manner until one night I sat down to pee….
Suddenly, I understood the toilet discussion; moreover, I gained a new understanding of what women might go through when living with a man who does not put himself in her shoes. When my ass hit the toilet water, I thought to myself “who is the ass who left the sit up?” Being the only man who lived there, I was that ass. Learning empathy can be a pain in the ass… or a splash of toilet water.
I believe I know a couple of molesters, and I know many who have been molested. Those who know me also know that I have been coaching a long time before I decided to make a living as a life and sex coach. As a professor of English and a division head, I talked to students about all things. In addition, one of the most frequent subjects of discussion I had with students was centered on rape and molestation. Never been raped or molested although I came close to being violated in my life.
I did know an asshole in college that I once called friend who I believe attempted to rape a girl he met one night. A couple of dudes I know, Eric and Bugs, whom I still consider friends, went to a party. My boy Eric saw a young lady whom he knew from his hometown. They talked and danced while Bugs danced with her friend. They brought both ladies back to my apartment for me to meet. Lovely ladies. If I hadn’t had a girlfriend and wasn’t driving to New York to spend time in my hometown, I would have spent some time with them, for they were having a great time it seemed.
My boy Eric called me the next day while I was in New York, and he told me that our mutual friend, the rapist, came over, saw the two ladies, ran back to his place, and brought liquor over. After drinking for a period and after the ladies were good and drunk, our friend followed one of them into the bathroom and made her go down on him. She came out of the bathroom crying and left. Eric and Bugs had no idea what happened, but they knew it wasn’t cool. When the police knocked on their door, they heard the entire story.
She attempted to press charges, but she had been drinking and couldn’t prove her accusations. She had been so drunk that the details of the incident were fuzzy, except she knew that she had been assaulted. When Eric and I finished talking, I fell, not to the floor, but deep into my mind. All I could feel was pain and confusion and anger.
I did not have sympathy for the young lady; I had empathy. My testimony concerning what I knew made little difference. I was not in the state when the rape took place. Moreover, I didn’t have first-hand knowledge of the rape. The police were not too interested in what I had to say. From that day forward, the danger that many women face just by going on a date never left my mind. The new knowledge changed me forever.
Strangely enough, no definition of empathy resonates with my spirit like the Empath character on the original Star Trek resonates with me, for on the show, the Empath literally took on whatever pain, illness, or emotions that individuals held as long as she was in close proximity to them. She felt what they felt.
In my coaching practice, when I come across pain, love, hate, and other universal emotions, I am affected. When I was a teenager, I hated my ability to feel with other folk. I just wanted to feel sorry for folk and go about my business. Now, I see that empathy is a great spiritual gift that the creator has given me. Additionally, the gift is to be shared with my clients. Self-acceptance of me has lead me to the career of a lifetime.
Life and Sex Coach