Monthly Archives: November 2013

What Makes A Woman Sexy?

excellent post

James Michael Sama

The word “sexy” in modern day society has often become synonymous with the matched drum-beats and stiletto steps we’re used to seeing in Victoria’s Secret advertisements. Don’t get me wrong…that is sexy, but it’s not the only thing that is.

So, be honest…how many of you clicked on this article expecting to see a list consisting of amazing legs, abs, fake boobs, and a tan?

What society tells you is sexy on the surface, is often a small piece of the whole puzzle, if it’s a piece of it at all. But the first thing we need to do, is get rid of this damaging perception.


So, for those of us who live in the real world, what makes a woman sexy?

Confidence is key. Being perfect, is not. A strong, purposeful walk, head held high, eye contact, and a smile – go a long way.

Confidence breeds more…

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The S-E-X Word

Yea, you read that. Let’s talk about SEX.

Whoa, whoa, fitness blog! Nah, I told you things might get spicy.

DISCLAIMER: This is my PERSONAL opinion, and I understand and respect that everyone has their own.

Let’s get the preachy part over with first.

I’m not sure when this happened, but somewhere along the way since the flower-child free-love drugs-galore era where sex as a pastime was normalized (not all a bad thing) sex has become the easy-button go-to for that empty, lonely feeling we all get.

People go through pain or emotional/relational challenges in their marriage, friendships, relationships, work environment, you name it and they decide they have a “need” that needs to “be met”. So they cash in. Maybe through a connection online, maybe through someone special in their life, maybe through someone not so special, or maybe through a “f*ck buddy”, someone they can call up when they just feel their sex-tank is on “E”.

The inner dialogue seems to go something like this:

“Oh man, my sex drive is growling. Must be time for some nookie again”

“Geeze, nothing in the freezer. I thought I had some on standby. Bummer”

“Since I can’t microwave this, I’ll have to grab a phonebook and have it delivered… what a hassle”

“Yea, I’ll have that… with a side of endorphins and no shame please”.

I just don’t get it.

Granted, I was raised in a culture that went to the opposite extreme, where sex was an almost taboo word and the concept of any intimacy (including hand holding) outside of marriage was a carnal sin.


Having made some choices in my past that I legitimately regret and having been out of that culture for a while; having explored various religions myself and come to terms with what I personally know and accept about God and the afterlife and standards of conduct, I STILL find myself frustrated by this convenience-store concept of sex and intimacy.

Here’s why.

My reasons don’t really have to be “biblical”. In an age where hedonism is all we live for, where generation Y is hell-bent on doing everything they can to reach the ultimate end goal of personal gratification, we get lost in the rat race for success and satisfaction and miss the cost aspect of the things we do to cheapen things that are priceless.

I’m of the old fashioned, grab-me-some-dentures and pour-me-some-prune-juice opinion that sex is INTIMATE and SPECIAL and AWESOME and reserved for someone who is in fact INTIMATELY involved in your life, SPECIAL (like no one else is), and AWESOME beyond explanation. Now that I’ve used up my ’90s child vocab…

I personally feel like the more sex you have, the emptier it becomes. I’m not talking about sex with that special person (we will get to that), I’m talking about sex with everyone else. There’s actually science that shows that we only have a limited amount of dopamine receptors, and when we max those out we will never achieve that first rush feeling of sexual gratification again.

Well that sucks.

Why can’t we keep sex on the top shelf and not make it the cheap version of what we really want to drink? We all know the thrill and intensity that comes with sex inside of a loving relationship with someone we want ALL OF, including their mind, soul, heart… we love them COMPLETELY, and there’s a special intensity that comes with THAT kind of sex.

YES, everyone has a desire for sex (some more than others), but just like any other desire, there’s ways to meet it without going A-WOL. I like sweet stuff. I choose low-sugar fruit when I’m competing because my end-goal is worth giving up the chocolate cake for.

If you can genuinely say you really don’t want a fulfilling, deep, intense, passionate relationship with someone else as an end-goal then more power to you, I won’t judge you. Your end-goal, in your world, justifies the normalization of shopping-cart sex. But not for me.

Having indulged myself in the best type of all-out, multiple-times-a-day (yea, TMI, sorry), complete, awesome, intense, passionate, loving, trusting, beautiful type of sex, I want to hold out for that. I’ll snack on fruit while I wait (how sketchy is THAT analogy) but I’ll give up the chocolate cake for the sake of coming in first place in the end.

On to the practical. Some quick bullet points:

1. SEX SHOULD BE FUN. Some positions are tried and true for a reason, but everyone should be open to experimenting. If you really trust and love someone let them do it upside down and backwards if they want to. If you really can’t physically deal with it, that’s your choice, but be open to experimenting. Sex goes stale when it’s too boring or when everything is “expected”.

2. SEX SHOULD BE REAL. Get over the movie-screen romance-novel version and get lost in the moment. You might hit your head on a wall, someone might burp, that button won’t unbutton, they might not do exactly what you want. #REALLIFE. Get used to it. When you script it in your head everyone will enjoy it less. Get lost in it.


The BEST sex means you’re talking, to some extent. Once you get over the movie-screen version and stop scripting, start talking, start asking questions. In my relationship before things got bad, sex got better with time because you get used to asking what the other person wants. The more you get to know your partner, and they get to know you, the better it is.


Now, this does go BOTH ways. BOTH people have to be focused on the other person’s satisfaction and enjoyment to have really awesome sex. But don’t forget your part in that. Get rid of the script, ask questions, and then take pleasure and joy in making the other person happy. I promise it pays off.


Cut the selfish act. Unless you’re physically ill or you really really have a crazy to-do list, be willing to give up the right to demand when you want but not meet when they want. Those of you who want it less often, give in and be surprised by how much fun you have. Often it’s just a mental block that keeps you saying “he has a stronger sex drive” or “she wants it but I’m too tired”.


Sex is awesome, intimate, special. Keep it for someone who is.

Sex (great sex) is real, unscripted, communicative, often, and unselfish.

Just my two cents.




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Living for Tomorrow

In this fitness-obsessed, crazy culture that we bodybuilders live in these days, and with a new wave of “inspirational quotes” and concepts regarding how to live life, we’re constantly bombarded with the idea of “living for today”.

While I get it, I really do, let me speak for a moment to a very specific demographic, a demographic who feels caged by today; broken, hurt, torn apart, depressed, angry, resentful, afraid, discouraged, hopeless…

Let me speak to the broken-hearted, the starting-over, the can’t-get-out, the lonely, the self-loathing, the confused, the deeply-hurt and the lost.

Let me speak to the single woman who is desperately trying to hold out for the good guy, who longs for the companionship and thrill of love and is wrestling daily to keep from cashing in on tickets to the cheap-seat version.

Let me speak to the man who deployed with a beautiful home and a woman who lights up his world, who came back to a broken dream; a note on the table or a regretful email from a friend.

Let me speak to the mother who can’t hold a job, who is trying to get on her feet and meet every emotional, mental, and physical need of her children and sees all odds against her, with the rising desperation of huntress on a barren plain.

Let me speak to the teenager, trapped by a tyranny of oppression that is in no way indicative of loving protection, torn by a thirst for experience and a hatred of every waning opportunity.

Let me speak to you, to your shattered dreams.

I see you, with the Survivor’s light in your eyes. I see the darkness at your back and the bruises on your cheeks. I see the pain that you hide: the smile you wear like a jester’s mask on a broken doll. I see the confusion and the fear, the silk illusions of hope shredded by the painful daggers of your life’s torment.

I see the immense struggle at times, to put one foot in front of the other. The other moments, when you float through reality in an emotionless coma, grateful for the faithful regularity of breathing and the ability to simply check out and keep moving forward.

I see the worst moments, the moments when you are alone, and you step back, and you check in, and you simply HURT. You FEEL every moment over again, every word, every broken dream, every shattered reality, every disillusionment and the painful needles of disappointment.

These are the moments, these are the struggles, wherein the hope we find is not in living for Today. Today has betrayed us, with her duplicitous smile and false promises.Today is broken, irreparable, lost, Yesterday’s whore.

These are the days when you live for Tomorrow. When the simple hope of unclaimed time is the most beautiful thing in sight. These are the days when Tomorrow, with all of her unexplored nooks and crannies and possibilities and endless opportunities, is the hope that keeps you alive Today.

Tomorrow is a precious promise, when Today has lost its beauty.

Never give up on the hope of Tomorrow.




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10 Ways To Know You’re Dating A Real Man


James Michael Sama

I’ve made posts in the past about qualities of a gentleman, as well as the differences between a ‘bad boy’ and a jerk. But, how does this all translate into how somebody acts while in a relationship?

A man may be able to put across a great image, but it could simply be a cover for hidden shortcomings, or he could just be totally faking it to ‘get the girl.’

Here are some ways to know if you’ve struck gold:


A true gentleman values more than just your looks.

Is every compliment from him about a different body part? It doesn’t matter how creative he can be, if a guy’s sole focus is on how you look, or ‘talking dirty,’ see it as a red flag. A real man will value your personality, your kindness, your intelligence, and who you are as a person, in general. The things he…

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Strength and Anger

Something clicked last night for me. My abuse counselor said it might eventually. I realized when you get to the point where you’re clinging to hopes of proving your worth to someone, there’s nothing left to cling to. When someone has decided in their own mind to think the worst of your motives, character, and personality, when you have done nothing but reach out in love and affirm them over and over; when you continue to assume the best of their intentions time and again only to be destroyed by their utter disregard for compassion and love; when you begin to realize that your very definition of living and loving someone is the nemesis of their rejection; when you begin to see that your value in perception to them is based on their ability to control you; when the patterns become so textbook they are almost laughable…it’s time to let go. When they stopped believing in you and made their love conditional, you passed the point of no return. In this moment, when you recognize that they are unable to love you as you love them, you are moved to pity and you begin to be angry. And when deep wrongs have been done to you, anger is okay. I know you’re reading this, this person in my life, and you will hate me for it, but you stepped out of my life the moment you loved your pride and control more than you loved me. Leaving you was not abandonment, it was courage, and I will never regret it. I hope you find everything you are looking for, but begin with finding yourself. You cannot strip my value from me. I am no longer granting you that power. Thank you for the many things you did teach me, I hope you can find that spirit of first love again.




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Herein lies the beauty of my faith: my hopeless moments, the moments of “lament”, do not leave me there. Whatever your belief system may be, I hope, like mine, that it brings you powerfully upward and onward from your despair. Everyone has moments of discouragement and depression, but faith takes us higher. I see a broader perspective, a more beautiful inheritance. I see the firm foundation that takes me to a Rock that is higher than I. I am never left hopeless. In light of this, here is a glimpse into my soul this evening:

I stare, empty, thwarted by a day of broken hopes and the shattered promises of my past. Physically at odds with the tenacity of my soul; the simple autopilot procedures of motherhood wear me thin: I am butter spread over too much bread, the fragile first ice of winter on a pond, a butterfly’s wing in a monsoon.

The book title eats at my subconscious as I consume my fourth meal of the day in a robot-like manner… I taste nothing. My mind wanders, and I briefly wonder if my bodybuilding goals have kept me alive with their nutritional demands.

These days I feel like a car crash victim, only my mind has whiplash and my heart is in a million pieces, like broken glass on a dashboard of memories.

These days I cling to the awareness that my spirit is not broken, and my soul is my respite. In the depths of my soul I find tenacity and reassurance; hopes unthwarted by life’s tempests.

The book still lies, binding uncracked. I breathe out audibly and begin…

for the next few chapters I stare at the dashboard, at each of those shattered pieces of my heart. I examine their edges, I see where they fit together, where pieces are missing, and I wonder if they can be recovered.

Each fragment cuts into me as I seek to hold it, feel it, understand it. Some pieces are still too sharp, my mind is not calloused enough yet to hold them; I leave them rather than risk the deep wounds I could incur. They will be there tomorrow.

The melodrama is not lost on me, I laugh at it, wryly. I step back, out of body.

I see a pretty girl, curled up in a childlike position in an empty booth in an empty store. I see her innocence; a confused puppy-like commitment to believe the best that has led to far too many taps on the nose and a cowering fear of rolled newspapers and raised palms. So much pain in those dark eyes.

I see her fears, the inconsistencies of her outward strength with her terror of the future: how to be alone? How to provide for a little one when she slips in and out of conscious thought during her days. How to move forward when she cannot yet remember how to breathe.

I see her brokenness. I recognize the depth of her daily struggle to make sense of the past with her childlike-mind, to accept what has been done to her. I see her fighting to the last moment of every day to believe that there is beauty, love, hope, and a future free of terror and pain.

I see how wrecked she feels, how she wants to flee. To recover; to sleep for a long, long time.

She can’t, she has to move forward. Her child needs her… and yet she cannot even find herself, cannot put together those pieces which still cut her so deeply. Cannot take hold of the wheel when she is still finding her feet.

How to drive when up is down, when left is right, when over and under and backwards leave you spinning in the dry cycle of life’s most painful moments.

These are the days I thank God for autopilot; for a child to live for. For the wild restlessness of my spirit that has at times been a curse but these days is my salvation.

These are the days I cling by my fingertips to truth, to faith. Courage is a lion, snarling at my back in my mouse-like trepidation, my unbelief in myself. It intimidates me into acceptance, into running, scared. Amidst the fear I notice that my legs are strong, that I am still moving. I notice that my breathing steadies, that my vision clears.

In these moments I realize that all that matters is that I keep moving forward, albeit in pieces.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed”.

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Lessons I’m Learning #1


Not only is it okay, it is good.

Some women function regularly on emotional waves. Yours truly functions by shutting out emotion when things hurt. I avoid sadness and pain in my thoughts because of that weakness I hate so much.

Part of this is a coping mechanism for the tidal wave of emotion that comes with a severely painful situation, and part of this is a survival mechanism because I can’t afford to fall apart. I have a son and myself to provide for and responsibilities to meet.

Only teenagers can collapse in a puddle of mascara-smeared, powder puff tears on a bed of broken hopes and obliterated self-esteem, right? Nope.

I really do rarely cry, but I’m learning that tears or no, IT IS OKAY TO FEEL.

It is okay that when I caught a glimpse of his face when he FaceTimed our son, I had to rush to the living room with a sob caught in my throat, cover my face and weep: that is okay. 

The fact that I still love him, that I deeply miss him: that is okay.

It is okay to relive the pain in order to move forward, and it is also okay to relive much of the beauty and good. This type of nostalgia is not unhealthy; it is pure and unadulterated HUMANITY.

In the interest of humanity, let me be raw for a moment on this score:

I loved his passion for life. When we met he was as intense as I am in his curiosity, his balls-to-the-wall lifestyle and his deep and passionate love for and interest in me.

He was the first person to make me believe, by his very confidence, that I could be healthy again. He taught me to hope for healing.

He taught me to BS less and to say what I was thinking; to stop being a people pleaser.

I loved the laughter; SO MUCH LAUGHTER, it would break me into a million happy shining pieces in the best of ways.

I loved his deep awareness of God’s voice: he would hear from Him, make decisions, and every time things came to pass as he said they would, and he succeeded.

I loved his aggressive fearlessness. Where I was afraid to try new things, to travel, to live after years of sickness, he would hold me and remind me I was safe, but also that I had the power to do things, and possibly even to succeed at them.

He held me amidst significant physical pain and breathed through every contraction with me on our son’s birthday.

Wrestling and late night cuddles and the honeymoon effect of military lifestyle; I look back and love it and feel it all.

No one made me grin the way he did, and no one made me feel so like an 8 year old girl with her first crush.

I love what we had and what we were, and what he helped to make me be. I have a million things to thank him for.

I am human, I feel, I accept that feeling. I acknowledge the pain of rejection, anger, betrayal; of a beautiful thing turned upside down and backwards and inside out and broken at the hands of a fallen world.


This is how we know we are alive.




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If a picture is worth a thousand words…

If a picture is worth a thousand words...

I look at this photo and I see all of my weaknesses. I see that my jaw should’ve been more relaxed, that my hair is not doing what I would like, that my cuts are not as fierce as they should be because I’m bulking, that my tan is patchy under my arms. I see every single flaw.

When you look at yourself this way you have to realize that it is healthy and good to make a conscious effort to redirect how you think about yourself.

Change how you think. You have the power to do that. Redirect your thoughts. I adjust, and I review, and I see this:

I see firm legs, a toned tummy, growing muscle in my arms where there was none.
I see a tight booty and a healthy shape.

I see dedication, drive, the mom of a one year old who has beaten herself into the ground to accomplish her dreams. Left her soul on the gym floor… every. single. time.

I see hope and perseverance, hour after hour in the gym building those legs, raising that ass with every single rep of my squats and a million donkey kicks.

I see arms that are strong from lifting heavy weight and from the everyday burden of a 30-lb child and the weight of the world on her shoulders.

I see courage in that face, some blue steel intensity that says “I can do this” every time.

I see every blow of life that knocked me down and every muscle, both mental and physical that helped pick me back up.

I see tears, sweat, fear, faith, hope, perseverance, a survivor. I see someone who’s scrappy and intense and passionate and alive. Someone who fights for joy and love and pours her soul into her friends, into strangers, into life.

I see growth and change and improvement and potential, I see beauty and dedication, and in these rare moments when I strive to put my mind to it,

I see me.


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Autobiographical Account of a Recent Dramatic Life Event (for school)

            Sometimes the things that make us strong and define our value systems in our youth can also cement a foundation that acts as a springboard for unhealthy life choices. While it may not be clear why this is the case, in my experience the retrospective 20-20 view of hindsight evaluation allows me to identify the means by which I justified, forgave, and enabled abuse in my life at the hands of men I was with for many years. The culture of my early childhood and young adulthood gave me many things, but it also contributed in a significant way to my acceptance of verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of my husband.

            I grew up in a conservative Christian community and a very religious home. The church taught many good things and we learned from wonderful role models, but it also gave strict standards on extrabiblical issues. For instance, we were taught from a young age that dating was sinful; that holding hands, kissing, intimacy of any kind should be reserved for your wedding day alone, and that our “role” as a wife was to submit to, defer to, and respect our husbands. Making a home and having children was idolized: the majority of young women in the church, when questioned, would say their greatest goal and good in life was to be a wife and mother.

            While I remain grateful for many of the positive influences, role models, and standards set forth by the church culture I grew up in, I see a lucid and painful correlation between many of these standards and the choices I made in my three years of marriage (and in previous relationships) which I regret deeply. The impact on both my subconscious and conscious perspective of self, abilities, self-confidence, etc. is barely reparable and has left heavily obvious damages.

            The most painful thing about emotional and verbal abuse is its subversiveness. It masks itself in concern, passive aggressive manipulation, derogatory comments, harsh words which are often quickly “repented” of, and intimidation tactics. Unlike physical abuse, which is clear and unmistakable, the very manipulation  often confuses the victim and makes it impossible to ascertain what is going on in the moment.

            The first time I should have noticed that something was “off” was when my husband was angry at someone else, and at himself, and took it out on me when we were dating. My first instinct was a rabbit-like fear, a desire for self-preservation; I wanted to run, but I talked him down. I thought it was love to stay. He admitted that anger came readily to him. Months later we were engaged.

            The “fights” began weeks into our relationship but escalated in intensity after we were married. They were every few weeks at first, and then progressively closer together. They consisted of him yelling or clenching his fists as he spat out harsh words which were untrue and broke me every time, and my sobbing in corners of our home. A few times I snuck out and slept on the pool deck at our apartments out of fear and a simple desire to distance myself. I still saw this as normal; every morning I would be back inside making him breakfast and kissing him goodbye. Every morning he said “I’m sorry” or wrote me a note, but his words stuck with me all day, every day.

            I began to doubt myself more and more. My friends noticed I would apologize constantly. As the incidents became closer together, I distanced myself from others. He asked me not to discuss it with my parents, and I agreed. I was “respecting him”, “submitting” to him, and I was forgiving him as I was supposed to do. This was love, right? Self-sacrifice, laying down my life for him. This was love, to give so much and never ask anything back. Wasn’t it?

            Three months after we were married the fights were so bad I was having physical symptoms of illness. Only a few weeks later, we found out I was pregnant. Now we had to make it work, we made an effort to avoid fighting, but we didn’t resolve a thing. We didn’t address any prior issues and we regularly swept our problems under the rug. Two months later he left for school in the desert and I moved to my parents for the pregnancy. We were unable to talk 90% of the time and he returned the day before our son was born. Shortly after, he deployed.

            During the deployment we talked less and less. I didn’t mention the hurt. Love meant not making demands, didn’t it? At homecoming, after a brief kiss he pushed me away. I was stunned, and whispered the question “why” into his ear. He informed me that my making out with him was embarrassing him in front of his men. The first of many small heartbreaks post deployment.

            In the weeks that followed he was distant and easily irritated; I chalked it up to the transition. But then the comments and the physical distance and the expressions of anger escalated rapidly and began to destroy me as they never had before. In the span of weeks words were said that I will never forget. I’m in counseling to remove those scars. They are lies, but when you love someone, and are used to accepting abuse out of a heart to “love”, you wind up slowly believing them over time.

            Clenched fists turned to hitting walls, couches, slamming his hands down on the counter, storming out of the house regularly… even at the end banging his head against the door frame because he believed I had done something to hurt his career. Coldly impassive stares turned to angry glares and clenched teeth. Harsh words turned to verbal assaults. Distant expressions of anger were closer and closer to my physical person, and compassion for my tears and panic was nowhere to be found. I lost seven pounds that last week, and would shake and throw up when I heard his motorcycle coming home. Our son was not sleeping, and neither was I. But between the episodes, which were often hourly or more frequent, he acted as if everything was fine.

            Many of those moments are vividly burned into my memory and have imprinted on my subconscious so that I still flinch when a hand is raised, am destroyed by the slightest criticism, do not see a beautiful, strong, successful woman in the mirror. I second guess my choices, have a hard time believing I have a right to happiness or good things, and assume the worst of the men in my life, many of whom are good men with good intentions. I push myself away from people when I feel vulnerable, and I refuse to acknowledge when I am hurt because it makes me feel weak, and feeling weak makes me feel vulnerable… and being vulnerable means being scared.

            These days I fight my subconscious insecurities on a moment by moment basis. I placed third in my very first fitness competition weeks after I left, and second a week later, qualifying me for national level competitions. I still don’t believe it happened, that I deserve it, or that I can do even better. I only knew I tried my hardest. It will take a long time before these wounds heal, and in the meantime I am only grateful that I had the courage to leave, and that my son is too young to know a mother who is broken, insecure, confused, and lives in fear of failure and hurt.

            I often wonder how I would have handled this situation had I not been convinced that I was “called” to “submit”, and “forgive” and “love”; had my view of love had some small element of self-preservation. Had I realized that a doormat-oppressor relationship was not give and take, had I demanded respect for myself. Perhaps if I had forgiven a little less, and loved myself a little more, things would have been different. Perhaps if I had known my own worth, I could have realized sooner that his inability to see it did not make me any less valuable.


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