So, it turns out that statistic about only using 10% of your brain is not true. We can take comfort in knowing that we do indeed use more! Despite the statement’s falsehood, it is a feeling to which all of us can probably relate if we've ever felt we weren’t living up to our true cognitive potential. If only we could activate more of our brains we could all be like Einstein—since the second part of this myth is that Einstein used 15% of his brain—we could be learning and doing so much more with our minds.
Since my first pregnancy five years ago, I’ve had a similar feeling about my body. When I grew a human, and grew an organ (placenta—it’s really incredible!), and then nourished this tiny human with milk I produced, a veil was lifted off of my body. This feeling may have started even sooner, like when I was trying to get pregnant. The chastising tone of the unwanted unplanned pregnancy narrative loomed so large in my brain, it took me a second to realize that actually getting pregnant takes some planning. Like, you actually have to pay attention to your body: discharge and periods should not be put into the same ‘inconvenient yuckiness women need to conceal in order to be socially acceptable’ category as body hair and wicked gas. Fortunately, in the process of getting to know my discharge and period I also began to embrace my body hair and wicked gas a bit more too.
After having a baby I found a new reverence for my vagina and its resilience. It took me a while to start having sex again, but once I did I found myself trusting my instincts with more authority and feeling more sensation deep within. Something had cracked open and it felt good to spread it wide and explore! I began to realize that there was even more potential for pleasure waiting inside my body. The banal idea of what ‘sexy’ is—a pyre stoked by a narrow set of external stimuli—fell away. What sexiness could I generate for myself and how could I nourish it for my lifetime? I turned my gaze inward and adjusted it, making it gentler and fearlessly more perverse.
It is no coincidence that I am writing this as a 37-year-old mother. My sexual currency has dropped. The feeling is palpable, and it is one of relief and possibility.