This week, we talked with holistic health instructor Penny (@wellbeing.by.penny) for our “We Love The Way You Love” series. Penny is a yoga teacher who helps people who live with hypertonic pelvic floor dysfunction experience increased body awareness, and less pain and discomfort. She takes her students from feeling stuck in their pain to gaining control of their body and health by using easy and accessible yoga tools. We appreciated getting to talk with Penny about love and relationships, especially as it relates to those who experience pelvic pain.
What does love mean to you?
Love to me is being able to be your uttermost weirdest self with someone else. To be able to cry together, to laugh together, to allow yourself to be angry with the person when it is justified, but in the next moment realizing how silly it might be and burst out laughing.
Relationships are not perfect, and finding someone to make it not perfect with is what love is to me. I live with chronic pelvic pain, and that does not only affect your relationship with yourself, but also your relationship with your partner.
When people with pelvic pain think about love, many of us automatically think of intercourse, and it puts a kind of pressure on us. Living with pelvic pain can affect your way of being able to be intimate – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
When did love become real to you?
Love became real to me when I realized that being intimate with someone is so much more than just having penetration, or expecting there to be a “finish”. We make sure that we have time when we get completely naked, lie on the bed, and just talk. We laugh, cry, and maybe have sex if that feels good. Those moments have become incredibly precious to me because that is when I feel closest to love. When we don’t do this, it affects our entire way of being together; we don’t move with as much grace.
We also go for weekly walks where we talk about our future, our passions, and what we want to accomplish. This has become a tradition that has made our relationship stronger.
If you would have asked me how I show myself love 10 years ago it would have been completely different compared to what it is today.
How do you show yourself love?
I show myself love by showing up for my body every day, by treating it well on the good and the bad days. It might look like taking the opportunity to get out of bed early on Sundays to have some quiet time for myself before my partner wakes up. It might look like having one day a week completely social media-free, or simply just lying on my yoga mat and moving my body the way it needs to be moved.
Love to me is taking care of every part of your life, whether it is the relationship you have with yourself, or someone else.