Nicolle Hodges

Nicolle Hodges
Sexual freedom philosopher, journalist, author, and founder of the men’s mental health movement - Men Who Take Baths

What are you most proud of?
I know this might sound strange but I am proud of nothing. I went inside when you asked this question and as much as I searched for the “I” to attach to something I am proud of, the more nothingness I found. Am I not proud of my life: accomplishments, relationships, opportunities, learnings, possessions? I sit here in awe even as I type this because the answer is no. I think of when I finished my book (Oh, the Places You’ll Go Oh Oh!), surely I must be proud of that? But once it was done, I thought: okay, it is done now. It was something that moved through me and out of me and it was done. If there is an “I” that can be proud, then it is proud of the “we.” My current partner reminded me not to let feelings of doubt get in the way, there were enough people who wanted to support me by volunteering their time to create a promo video for crowdfunding, and many, many others backed the book’s first print-run because of it, I was having seemingly endless orgasms from a past partner when the idea came to me, and with the help of an incredible illustrator (Jillian Mundy), the words were brought to life so people could find joy between the pages. It’s not mine to be proud of. Good ideas are made for everyone and if you are inspired then it is your responsibility to create. If you do not, then you didn’t, and if you do, then you did. The same goes for my quest to rebrand “virginity” to sexual debut, or the men’s mental health movement, Men Who Take Baths. Without a need to redefine the markers of masculinity, there would be no movement. Without sexual oppression to overcome, there would be no sexual debut. So, should I wish for these things not to exist? Can I be proud that they must? Someone once asked me why I do what I do and I said that I want to go home; I want to have done enough that once I leave here I don’t have to come back. I’m not really sure what that means or if I believe my own words. What I do know is that when I do things I try not to have an “I” about it at all. If someone says, “you changed my life,” it wasn’t me who changed their life. If I am wrong and I have hurt someone, I try to understand why. Sometimes, if I am feeling unsafe in my own mind, I block out the capability to receive their truth. I make it about me and it hurts. Likewise, if someone says I have brought pleasure into their life, and there is too much “I” attached to that, I will feel that YES, I have brought pleasure into your life. One is bad to receive, one is good to receive, but there is no difference, really, if there is non-attachment. I practice empathic listening, empathy, and neutrality. Often, I slip back into “I” where there is fear, defensiveness, or pain. It is an opportunity to try again, not disconnected, apathetic, or without thought, but steady, balanced, receiving without attachment, giving without attachment. It is from this place where these things that I could be “proud of” come from. When I heat the call, I create. It just is.

What is your hope for the world?
My hope for the world is that all women today remember their power and the women who come after us are never made to forget.

What is your wellness mantra?
Fuck it.

Photo credit: Taylor Oakes