Hump Day High: Overcoming Mean Girl Trauma with Ganja Goddesses

I park in front of the house, a gorgeous two-story, four-bedroom home with a backyard oasis in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles. I knock once, then let myself in, and I’m greeted with a chorus of “You’re here!” and immediately offered a dab (we really do walk the talk). They tell me we’re ordering tacos, and I’m pointed to a box of clothes from amazing apparel company prAna— gifts for the five speakers for the evening’s event. This is Ganja Goddess central for the next 24 hours. I’m home.

You see, about two months ago, Mama Sailene Ossman asked if I wanted to speak at the “Women and Weed” event at Hitman Coffee Shop in LA on August 14— a consumption-friendly venue! She would be our MC, and the other speakers would be Ganja Goddess Getaway (GGG) founder Deidra Bagdasarian of Bliss Edibles, reiki healer extraordinaire Maggie May Wilson, and our beloved no-till grower Lisamarie Gonzales of The Hawgs Breath Company.

Ganja Goddess Getaway
Deidra Bagdasarian, Ganja Goddess Getaway co-founder and Ashley Manta, the CannaSexual

I’d already planned to be in LA the following evening for a sex and cannabis panel organized by Mary Magazine and Forward Experiential, so extending the trip by an extra day was an easy yes. Mama Sailene and Deidra rented the house so that the out-of-town Ganja Goddesses (all of us but Mama Sailene) would be able to stay together. We even had a few extra goddesses drive in from out of town, just to cheer us on! We ended up with seven women in the house, and it was glorious. Before we headed to the venue, we put on our super-soft new prAna gear, took selfies because we all understand the Instagram grind, dabbed and rolled blunts, and delighted in getting to spend time together, since most of us live so far apart. There was something amazing about all of us medicating together before we left the Airbnb, then heading to an event where over a hundred LA women were waiting to hear us speak. I suggested that someone should put us on a reality show — except there’s no drama. This is huge for me.

The event was phenomenal from start to finish — fun venue, great turnout, thoughtful commentary by the speakers, and plenty of fabulous vendors including Dinair, the airbrush makeup service that sprayed black and green glitter cannabis leaves on my cheek, décolletage, and right bicep. It looked fabulous. After the event ended, Deidra, Mama Sailene and Lisamarie and I hopped in the car and went on a food mission, finding ourselves at a tasty taco truck on Venice and Pico. More tacos! Yay! Public speaking always makes me hungry! The next morning, the five of us headed to a Korean spa nearby. We soaked in the Mugwort tea tub, got scrubs and massages, and enjoyed more delicious food.

Ganja Goddess Getaway
Photos by Ciera Lagges

Mama Sailene and I stayed late at the spa to do our makeup together, since I was speaking on the sex and cannabis panel that night in West Hollywood and she was coming to support me. It was so neat to speak together at an event the night before getaway, have a big GGG sleepover, do a full spa day, and still have her show up to cheer me on at my panel.

I have pretty wicked girl-group trauma, mostly because I was a social outcast from elementary school through college. Grad school was better, thankfully. And don’t get me wrong, I had friends. It was usually individual friendships, though — groups tended to end badly. I may be two decades removed from middle school, but those scars stay with you. I can still remember being literally locked in a home tanning bed in seventh grade while my friends (using that word loosely, of course) outside talked about how annoying I was.

I wanted too desperately to fit in, but I was consistently labeled “too much.” Too happy. Too enthusiastic. Too trusting. Too open about sexuality — I was always the awkward one who was like, “Why can’t we talk about masturbation? It’s normal!” I tried to constantly censor my personality and make myself energetically smaller to fit in, but I could never maintain for long. Luckily, a lot of that shifted when I moved from Pennsylvania to California and found people who spent their lives committed to personal growth, self-awareness and constantly improving communication skills.

Ganja Goddess Getaway
Photos by Ciera Lagges

Still, it wasn’t until I met the amazing leaders (and later, attendees) of the Ganja Goddess Getaway that I felt really seen and accepted. They thought it was fabulous that I show up to events carrying a plush vulva puppet. They celebrated my non-monogamy, my unapologetic acceptance of my body, and my vociferous enthusiasm for pleasure.

I led a workshop at my first Getaway, and it was a hit! Even so, when Deidra came up to me toward the end of that first weekend and said, “Hey, can we talk?” my first instinct was, “Oh shit, I’m in trouble. I screwed up. I’m getting kicked out.” That was not the case; in fact, she wanted to talk about what it would take to have me teach at all of the future getaways. I realized then it was safe to release some of my shame surrounding girl groups. I was accepted here.

Over the past year, I’ve gone deep with the leaders of the group — those amazing women who shared the house in Miracle Mile with me on Wednesday night. I’ve cried with them. I’ve shared my struggles. We’ve celebrated triumphs. I’ve shown up tired, with no makeup, and been loved exactly for who I am in that moment. I’ve shown up sparkly and giddy and waving dildos and been loved for who I am in those moments, too.

I deeply appreciate this group of women for many reasons, but one is because our “Five High Standards” include: self-love, inclusivity, empathy, good fun and mindfulness. Co-founder Mama Sailene is so devoted that she just got the symbols tattooed on her forearm! I’m grateful that I’ve finally found my family of sisters. Maybe that’s really what I was looking for all along.

Related – Oh My Goddess! Ganja Goddess Getaway

Ganja Goddess Getaway
Photos by Ciera Lagges
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