Category Archives: struggles

Frustration (AKA the post in which I rant about personal responsibility)

I posted previously at my blog about how amused I was at the endless tirade of self affecting posts I’ve seen on Fetlife but I think I’ve passed the amusement phase and now have moved into my frustrated phase. While I haven’t read every comment and every piece people have had to say (mostly because I, you know, have a life, a job and a desire not to gouge my eyes out), I have stumbled through the highlights and lowlights.

Let me be the first to say congratulations. My fellow Chicago kinksters have started a serious and necessary open dialogue about an important topic. You’ve caused us all to stop and question ourselves, our actions and our interactions.

That’s about where my congratulations end. Here’s where my rant begins. When I first “joined” the kink community, I felt like I was wearing a scarlet “N” for newbie. Perhaps it was just the company I kept, but I felt preyed upon now looking back at it. I felt uncomfortable. I felt like I was being taken advantage of. I didn’t know any better and I was horribly naive. I trusted people I shouldn’t have, opened up to people who later turned on me, and found myself hurt beyond words when spilling my heart and soul out backfired.

I did a lot of things I wished I hadn’t. There’s still things I wish I could go back and redo mostly because I’m not proud of the decisions I made and the things I agreed to. I let the excitement of “HOLY SHIT! You can do that?!” overwhelm my sense of self and sense of what was right for me. That’s one of the things I forgot – I had nobody to look out for me except me. I figured older, wiser (ha!), and more experienced people had my back and wouldn’t do anything for, with and to me that I wasn’t ready for. I will never point fingers, name names or call those people titles that they don’t deserve. Why? Because I take personal responsibility for my own actions. Don’t get me wrong – I do believe said persons deserve “blame” for their part in my undoing but I played my part as well.

Not many of you know that in October of 2010 I went a little crazy. I had a bit of a breakdown. Why? Because I put my heart out there and had it flung back at me. I was under attack for expressing myself. I was idealistic and thought that if I expressed what I held in my heart, nothing bad would happen. Oh how little I knew of the world. Turns out it was the ammunition some people needed to fling mud in my face and make me the social pariah at the time. In the span of a few hours I went from having friends to feeling like I was under attack from all sides. I withdrew almost completely from all forms of kink. I didn’t play. I didn’t talk. I didn’t fuck. I didn’t even damn well touch anybody for almost 16 months.

It was in those 16 months that I truly learned that there is absolutely one person in the world I could trust – me. There is ONE person who will and must look out for me at all times – me. If I couldn’t trust myself to do that, there would be no hope of ever trusting anybody else.

There is an inherent power dynamic in what we do as kinksters. That can’t be denied. There will always be someone who holds more power and someone who holds less. Should that more powerful person bear more burden of protecting the less powerful person? Of course. To say any different would be to undermine the entire power exchange relationship. But to say that more powerful person bears the entire burden is to throw the idea of personal responsibility completely out the window. Perhaps I am advocating for an antiquated notion; perhaps I am “past my prime.” I don’t really care.

This is my form of therapy. This is my solace. I did things I’m not proud of. I did things I wouldn’t advocate anybody do. I said yes to things I probably should have said no to. Maybe I’m the one seeking forgiveness for my sins. All I know is I’ve come to peace with my past and I’ve become a better person for it. I’ve become a more responsible person for it.

Bravery comes in many forms. I’ve seen lots of it in my life. I could list examples of it until I’m blue and still wouldn’t even touch the surface of it. I will say this though – bravery is admitting when you’re wrong and trying to make amends for it. Bravery is using those past wrongs to be a better, stronger, more responsible person and moving on with new purpose and conviction. That’s what I aim to do every day.

Say what you want about me. I’ve turned my corner and I refuse to look back.

An Eternity of Struggles

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt (1937)

I’ve long struggled with the concept of self esteem. It’s such a cliched thing to admit to nowadays. It seems like everybody and their cousin has “self esteem issues.” Pick a new issue, I want to say. But then I realize I would be telling myself that as well.

When I was growing up, I didn’t have siblings to play with. I grew up essentially an only child from the age of about six onward thanks to an older brother who decided he no longer wanted to be apart of our family around then. He is ten years older than me and at that time, everybody was focused on him and his problems. Nobody seemed to notice the scared, quiet, emotional little girl. I know my parents tried their best to shield me and give me the attention I needed to grow up into an emotionally healthy adult, but I’m not sure it was always what I needed.

Teenage years were just that – teenage years. Any young girl will tell you that she’s not confident with herself, but my issues went beyond what most girls probably had. I was painfully shy, almost to the point of not being able to converse with people. I spent three years of high school not even going into the lunch room, choosing instead to hide in the newspaper office which I considered my refuge from people. I worked for the basketball team my junior and senior years of high school and was terrified to even walk out on the court during games because people might see me. I didn’t go to any dances, didn’t ask anybody on dates, didn’t get asked out on any myself and sure as hell didn’t consider myself on par with “the popular girls.”

College turned out to be no different. I was a tomboy in every sense of the word, preferring my basketball clothes to most any girly thing. I had makeup and pretty clothes, but I didn’t know how to use them and most of the time they sat in my closet, ready for the day when I would become more comfortable with myself.

It’s only been recently that I’ve felt more comfortable in my own skin, perhaps in the last two to three years. I guess I’m what you call a “late bloomer.” I’ve realized how to use the hoards of makeup I had amassed, but never bothered to use. I figured out high heels make my butt look good and that clothing should be tighter, rather than looser if I wanted to show off any type of feminine shape. As the saying goes, “Tight enough to show you’re a woman; loose enough to show you’re a lady.”

The self esteem issues are still there, no doubt. I struggle with the concept of self worth most, I think. That I’m worth someone’s time, someone’s energy, someone’s love and someone’s attention. I shouldn’t have to beg for any of those things and I sure as shit shouldn’t be wasting my own time with someone who won’t return those things. For about three to four years now, I’ve had a whiteboard that I’ve scrawled “You are worth someone’s time” posted on somewhere prominent in my apartment, only because sometimes I forget that concept if I’m not reminded of it. I’m still learning that – that I’m worth it. That I deserve better. That I deserve the best.

When I was much younger and still to some extent, I was a self-harmer. It was always little things. Showers that ran just a little too hot just to feel something. Tweezers that dug just a little too deep. Not eating for days at a time in the hopes of feeling that hungry feeling. There’s probably more little things that I don’t even realize are and were forms of self harm, quite frankly. Chasing after the wrong people knowing it was going to end in heartache. That’s probably a big one right there. That may just be a case of not learning from my mistakes.

In a lot of ways I worry that my interest in BDSM is just another version of self harm. If the whips, chains, floggers, paddles, clamps, and toys are just new ways to inflict harm upon myself. I’ve never managed to find myself in the elusive “subspace” everybody talks about, but a really good beating is very cathartic for me. It’s a watershed moment, often inducing major bouts of tears and leaving me feeling cleansed and fresh. The need for that release builds in my system, poisoning me and making me feel ill to the point of physical aches.

I’ve often been told that if you seek external sources of happiness you’ll never be happy inside. That the external validation can in no way compare to the internal validation I should be receiving from myself. I don’t disagree with this statement at all, but the problem is that I have yet to work out a sufficient way to provide that internal validation for myself. In my mind, I’m never quite good enough. Never quite pretty enough. Never quite smart enough. Never quite … anything enough. It’s a constant battle I have with myself trying to balance the “I’m better than you” feelings that come from an inflated ego and the “I’ll never be good enough” feelings from having low self esteem and low feelings of self worth.

It’s something I’m working on constantly. Seeking new paths. Seeking that inner peace and inner strength that I’ve so long been looking for. I hate making resolutions; they usually just end up failing. I think this year though I’ve made a new resolution that I will try my best to keep. My 2012 resolution? I will stop letting people make me feel like I’m worth anything except the best.

Struggles

I struggle with the concept of self worth. It’s hard for me to belief that I’m worth the time and energy someone should put into me for them to be worthy of my time. It’s just part of my personality that I constantly have to remind myself that I am something special and something precious.

As most of my emotional difficulties do, I suspect it stems from my childhood. Abandoned by those who love me and made to belief my worth came from being useful. That if I wasn’t making someone happy, I wasn’t worth anything to them. I wasn’t worth anything to me.

In a lot of ways I still very much need to grow up and this is certainly one of those ways. It’s not just a matter of setting my mind to the belief that I am precious. It’s about changing my whole outlook.

For me to understand why someone would find me precious, I must first find myself to be precious. I can’t value myself based on how others value me. I really don’t know how to express what I’m thinking right now but it’s in there, floating around in my brain and probably contributing to the headache I’m feeling right now.

I’m not useful for just one purpose. I’m not just a sexual object for some man’s (or woman’s I guess) use. I am worth more than the sum of my parts and someone who sees me for purely that purpose is not worth my time. Sure, I objectify myself doing some of the things I do and probably the reaction I get from those things partly my own fault, but I can’t lay all the blame on my own shoulders.

The right person for me will see me for everything I am. The sweet girl inside just looking for a safe place to seek shelter from life’s storms and the kinky slut who wants to be used.

At the same time, It’s something I need to remember too. Maintaining that balance among all of the sides of me. Each side being just as important as the next.

I am worth something. I am valuable. I am precious in every regard.

It’s the world that needs to remember that.