I'm Josie. I started this website in early 2020 to explore areas of my life that I felt curious about, particularly when it came to not drinking alcohol and my sexual self.
To be honest, as I'm sure many of you might feel the same way, 2020 was a shit show in many ways.
My small vacation with being sober came to a screeching halt. Not that I am an alcoholic in any sense of the word, but I definitely got tired of saying "no" and started saying "yes" to that desire more often. I mean, realistically, 2020 was becoming one of the most stressful years of my life next to the year 2018. Why deny me a simple pleasure?
Sex. My sexual libido went down the proverbial tube. Work was all-consuming, I hardly got any mountain biking in, and I was exhausted on both physical and mental levels. I had zero desire for sex and self-pleasure. I emailed the two toy companies I was writing product reviews to tell them that I just couldn't do it. I stopped reading glorious smut books. I stopped watching porn (which to be honest, wasn't a large amount, but it also means that I didn't even EXPLORE...and that's a shame.) Literally, my entire mental and emotional state of loving sex imploded on itself.
I made @livehappynesslife on Instagram not appear on my app.
I almost unpublished this website.
I unpublished the Facebook site.
I deleted my sorry attempt at a Twitter account. I'll be real...I don't give two hoots about Twitter.
I basically put this giant shell around me. COVID concerns stressed me out. Being in the customer service industry with owning a bike shop also stressed me out. How many times did I have to explain the bike situation? I can't count...just too many.
I also bought a house to move my mom to Decorah in the midst of this pandemic. See, her situation out at the homestead sucked. Because of my dad's death, I had some money I could invest. This wonderous wee home came up for sale (tho it needed a literal shitton of work...and improvements are not done yet) and I thought...Jesus...I can do this. I asked my mom if she would be open to helping with improvements and paying a reasonable amount of rent if I took care of the water bill and the major improvement costs. Hell yes!
This was a great move, however, it also meant that it was the literal tie-cutter with my step-dad. Honestly, I don't know if he'll ever speak to me again- and it's not like our relationship hasn't already been shit for a few years now. I'm not sure when it started to decline 100% but it did, and I basically lost him as a father before my biological dad died. That realization made me sad. It made me mad. It confused me. I'm still confused, sad, and mad...but it was apparently a decision HE made. I've accepted it the best I could, but I am still mourning over the father I lost, who I thought would be my other dad until he legit died. See...growing up with a dad and step-dad I felt so lucky because it's like you had a "bonus" father. Something happens to one, you still have the other. I have had to accept that is not the case, and if he knows I bought a place to move my mom into, that is definitely not going to improve things.
So, 2020 has been the year of growth, new beginnings, and change. Not to mention loads of stress and anxiety.
Also, I created this website with the thought of cultivating an alter ego for myself, and frankly, nothing stuck. I think by definition I am a realist of sorts, and even tho I have an active imagination, pretending to be someone else and not feeling authentic to myself and my small audience...it just wasn't working for me. I am ME. I'm overall very happy with being ME, but I also know that I have shit I need to work on, and why should I hide that? I don't think I was ever meant to take on a secondary identity, I've always been meant to figure out who I am and to be myself. I'm a wife, cat mom, and mountain biker who deals with anxiety and depression. I love sex, but I also find myself hiding that part of myself from my husband AND MY OWN SELF. I've always thought of myself as someone who is open to talking about anything, trying almost anything once, and being immersed in my sensual self. However, I became extremely good at hiding all of that into some sort of internal file and tucking it away under piles of other crap.
Towards the end of 2020, I had a breakthrough of sorts. All of the work I had done earlier in the year had gone down the shitter. Thankfully, it's not like it literally disappeared, but I kept hitting the snooze button over and over and over again. "Josie....you need to work on your shit." I suppose because we had a job that was considered essential, and that so many hours of my day was consumed, it was easy to tuck away what I really wanted to work on...my sexual self.
My sexual self is not only tied to sex, but it's also tied to my confidence. Confidence in multiple areas in my life would equate to a more fulfilled person, as I have one area I really feel confident in (most times) and that's mountain biking. All other areas are flirting with fear, anxiety, and shyness.
I've made it a goal over the past several years to truly love myself. Appreciate my imperfect body and all of the features I may not absolutely love or find attractive. I've allowed my views of my body to affect me negatively when it comes to sex. To feeling like it's okay for me to enjoy sex even if I don't look "perfect." Even if it's self-pleasure- I find myself struggling at times to feel like it's OKAY for me to enjoy it even if I'm not physically "perfect."
The thing is...what's imperfect (or that I feel is imperfect about me)...can only be altered with money and surgery. 1. I have a high pain tolerance but hate pain. 2. I'm very active and hate not being able to enjoy being physically active. 3. I don't want to spend the money on something that will either change as I age or need to be "maintained." I'd rather spend the money on learning, mountain bike trips, a new bike...literally anything else other than cutting myself up. 4. I'm deathly afraid of something going wrong that would take away nipple sensation OR actually made things look possibly worse. Also, if I changed that ONE thing...that's not going to be the literal gateway for me to open myself up to my sexual prowess. I mean, if I had perfect breasts I'd love it- but I know well enough that my breasts are not the key. It's mental and emotional work that I need to do, changing how my body looks in that area will not "fix" me. It's also not going to change how I am outside of the situations where I feel highly sexual. I'm still a "jeans and t-shirt" woman...or mountain bike shorts and a t-shirt....with a hoodie addiction.
So....I decided to come back to Happyness Life with a renewed sense of self-discovery. I'm going back on experimenting with my sober journey- because I feel like I've used alcohol too much as a way to de-sensitize myself from really being aware. Frankly, it's not super helpful all the time and when it comes to learning about myself and my likes/dislikes, I really want to be present 100%
I'm going to be reading some interesting books, listening to podcasts, and possibly taking a course.
I might write sex toy reviews and I might not. I think I added pressure with that aspect...almost forcing myself into it, and that caused me stress. Especially if I ended up with something I really didn't love...and it's so hard to write a review when all I can think of are negatives.
The overall goal with this space is to give me a creative outlet while allowing growth and self-discovery to happen. So, with that said, I'm back (to some sort of degree) and am super stoked to share this side of my life with you. Cheers!