Erin O'daniel is a writer, artist and gender expansive womxn living in Duluth, Minnesota

Noticing What Feels Good

I saw the new Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn movie, Snatched, last night with my friend FunkyP. I’m a long time fan of both comedians and was full-body looking forward to the comic relief I find in both of their work. I went in without expectation though of the movie.

Holy, was it a feel good, no a feel Great, experience. I called it a soul massage later when FunkyP and I walked out of the theatre. I literally laughed and cried and laughcried the entire movie. Even now, thinking about it, a giant smile breaks out across my face and I start to giggle. The experience is held in my body and fresh in my mind. Feels so Delightful.

I was thinking last night, conscious of how good I felt after laughing, laughing out loud in public no less, for two hours about all the different ways of “feeling good”- and what it means to notice them. Part of last night felt like a post election release I’ve been craving for seven months.

I’m blessed with community all around me. We’ve grabbed hold of feminist + racial justice reins and not let go since November 9th 2016.  I’m infinitely grateful for this ability to engage in complex, critical thought every hour of every day. However, I’ve remembered over the last several weeks balance is key. Light is needed too- to do the level of radical social change work I want to during these times.

I got to laugh and cringe (I fully own a handful of the scenes in the film are quite problematic when using a feminist frame= white privilege felt in my head, heart and stomach here) last night at my whiteness, at my womanness, at what it means to be a daughter of a white woman whose primary identity is mother, at my ability to be goofy and gross, at my fears. Amy and Goldie lay so many parts of themselves on the line- as artists and women with the film. Comedy and openness also meet blindness in upper middle class white women.

The movie laughing/watching experience also made me think about sex positivity. Part of Schumer’s appeal for me is how she holds her sexual self out for everyone to see in everything she does. She doesn’t hide desire, curiosity, or the physical ridiculousness of who she is as a sexual being. Okay, she doesn’t hide anything. And it is So. Fucking. Refreshing.

So with sexual identity and humor and human flaws woven together throughout the film, it makes sense I was thinking about this blog last night after the  experience. I was aware of how good feeling good feels. Duh! right. And especially when immersed in intense social justice work. Sometimes I forget.

And allow me to be clear, there are countless ways to feel good. I feel damn good everyday with and in the work I do at Planned Parenthood  and as part of the HOTDISH Militia- not to mention the level of pleasure I find here, in being a writer. My meditation practice has allowed me to notice “the feeling good.” I now allow the sensation to be in my life in a different way than earlier in my life. Before when I experienced such joy and delight, I either tried to control it by holding on, thinking it was finite- or banish it from my planet, thinking that I didn’t deserve so much joy, in the context of my white dominance/privilege while the system was affecting so many others.

Alas, I’m better at feeling good. Which brings me to all the ways of feeling good. The metaphor I want to harness (yes pun, intended- another Amy and Goldie size smile) here is as a sexual female bodied person and basic human.

I want to list all the ways/positions/body parts I use to feel good in bed (and while I adore giving, no pillow princess here, I’m focused on the receiving end with this list).

1. I feel good experiencing full on clit stimulation with my vibrator- Hitachi Magic Wand forever

2. I feel so Damn good during oral sex

3. I feel good during anal sex

4. I feel good when my nipples are bitten, tugged, squeezed, sucked, kissed, licked

5. I feel good being bitten on the shoulders, neck, ears

6. I feel good being penetrated by a dildo

7. I feel good grinding on my lover

8. I feel good being dry fucked (yes, clothes on!)

9. I feel good being wet fucked (oh yeah, clothes off!)

10. I feel good being fucked from behind

11. I feel good being held hard and tight after sex

12. I feel great before, during and after orgasm

13. I feel so damn good laughing after orgasm or 3 or 4, fully body release times one hundred (actually, now that I think about it, that’s probably the last time I laughed as hard as I did yesterday during the movie. Post multiple orgasm laugh. The freaking best. As is Snatched. Go see it now.)

14. I feel good using my favorite dildo myself, at 5 am when I can’t sleep, all pleasure no patience.

15. I feel good fantasizing about my latest crush, eyes shut, as many toys as I want close at hand

Okay fifteen sexual feel goods. I’ll stop there. Whew, what a satisfying list. Again, my goal here is to hold an awareness of all the variety of the ways I feel good while engaging my sexual self. There are so many (more)!  Just to make this list and be aware feels mighty powerful. As did feeling so damn good inside and outside the movie theatre yesterday. There are endless ways to feel good. Noticing them is key for me. Hence I won’t hold on to the sublime experiences when I know more are coming, or they are so easy to achieve. Everyday orgasms if I may. Some are small, some are body rocking. All seem to take up space and allow me to focus on pleasing voices in my head rather than the dastardly critical ones. And that is my goal- with my work, my writing, sex. To feel good and to allow more thoughts that compliment this sensation, experience, commitment.

Alongside identity, politics, religion, etc., there's something inherently powerful in noticing and claiming what feels good. It’s different for all of us. I watched a Jay-Z video this week on the war on drugs, race and white privilege. I deeply appreciated how it made me feel. While hammering home on inequity and historical white supremacy, it informed me, inspired me to share, and learn more. I sat in my whiteness. Certainly a different 'feel good' than Snatched. I want similar somatic experiences to compliment each other. One says lightly, “here feel good, don't forget to recognize personal power, systemic oppression” and the other in the voice of god hirself, “this is hard and important. You are doing good work.”

My sister had an intense, critical artist response to the Jay-Z video. She watched it through her dominant lens of white, video artist. Many parts of the piece did nothing for her or turned her off. For me the information was so compelling, the graphics were something I just watched, found amazement in, and allowed to exist. She took the entire visually creative project to task and said nothing on the subject matter. There was something in her outright criticism that I allowed to take away from my feel good. I know it’s her personality and professionally training to lay down criticism in this way. However, it made me aware of how and when I share “feel goods”. Especially ones that are so near to my heart, as in experiences I have, especially with art, that focuses on racial and gender justice.

Similar to all the ways  I experience pleasure in bed, I'll explore what 'feeling good' outside of  sexual intimacy is as well.  I know there are complexities in this metaphor, yet I still believe the practice of noticing all the different sensations of feeling good is critical in my being whole, maybe yours too. And it does feel radical to hold on to, proudly own what we each claim as feel goods.

There is something sacred in feeling good. It is a profound personal act. I also love how feeling good, when shared, sheds light on how similar and different we are. The Yes, And I aim to always hold in my hand and heart is a common variable in the practice of feeling good.  I felt good watching Snatched, receiving oral sex, having my nipples bitten, and you dislike all those things. In my feeling good, I allow for yours. Or not. I don’t have a monopoly on the feel good. It’s both simple and complex.

I’ll feel good noticing that too.




Yes! Witches

What is my role?