Monthly Archives: August 2010

NPFP Guest Post: Even Wild Women Get the Blues

Welcome to RMB’s Naked Pictures of Faceless People, a series of guest posts from diverse anonymous bloggers. (Read more about NPFP’s origins.) These are the posts that are jumping to get out of us, but for whatever reason — safety, embarrassment, conflict of interest, protection of loved ones’ reputations or feelings, or so on — we don’t or won’t or can’t post at our own blogs. Anyone, whether blogger or reader only, is welcome to submit or discuss a potential post by emailing me at arwyn at raisingmyboychick dot com.

Even Wild Women Get the Blues

Tonight I am sitting in front of the computer with tears leaking down my cheeks. I cannot let the sobs reach my voice. Any minute, the phone might ring, and I must sound not only happy but sensual, sexual, inviting. No hint of non-lust-inspired huskiness can taint my tone. You see, I am a professional Domme, a phone sex worker, and a well-known leader in my kink1. It’s a small community, the one I inhabit, and I am proud of the contributions I have made. Nevertheless, I am new to pro-ness, and what seemed to make so much sense when I first contemplated it is becoming harder and harder to do.

Why is it so hard? Did I fail to realize that this would be work, more than a 9-5 job? No, I knew that going in. I was aware of the number of hours I’d have to be available. I was aware of the work I would have to do in self-promotion. I was aware that I’d have to maintain a certain image to a certain extent, that there is a romance to what I do and that the consumers of that fantasy do not want it disrupted.

What I failed to take into account was the depression rearing its head again. It had been more than five years since I had emerged into the light again, and I honestly thought it might stay gone. Silly me. It never stays gone.

What I failed to take into account was family crisis after economical crisis after personal crisis, coming one after another for weeks and months.

What I failed to take into account was my mother fully embracing The Secret and alternative healing, and with them all the subtle and not-so-subtle shaming they bring. “You know very well that if you think negative, more negative will come! This last thing proves it! Now you need to ask the help of the Archangel Michael to burn away this awful negativity. What do you mean, you don’t believe in angels? Well, if you won’t even try, things will just keep getting worse. I’m sorry, but I have to divorce myself from your negativity before it affects me. I hope you don’t mind that I’m doing a ritual to cut the ties between us.”

What I failed to take into account was my desire to spend time with my daughter, a teenager who lives with her other parents states away, during the too-brief duration of her visit.

What I failed to take into account is the extent to which the image I maintain for my business would come to control my life. Professional Dommes, after all, are free of any entanglements (except for their adoring worshipers) and are always in control. Never mind that everyone sane knows that’s horsepucky. Pierce the veil of the fantasy in any way, and my paying customers stay away in droves.

This became even more accented in light of my status in the community. I am expected to Have My Shit Together all the time. Even community events which were to be fun and vacations for me ended up being all work and no play. Even non-kink vacation events with people who are aware of my profession became exercises in dealing with Other People’s Baggage because of my work. Even when I said up front “There is an off-duty sign over my head, here,” in advance.

Even writing this much feels like whining. I can’t honestly tell if it’s the depression talking or not. I could enumerate all the depression symptoms, but I am sure everyone actually reading this post is familiar with them. Even if I did, it wouldn’t help. I have become very good at fencing the depression off for a time, maybe even as long as a day. But then the nightmares become even worse. I won’t specify what the nightmares are. They are very triggery for almost all of the few who know about them. But sometimes the nightmares continue right into the waking world, and I have to physically check my body to make sure that it is the way it was the day before. Not just on waking, but for hours after.

The phone is ringing. A customer is on the line.

——————————

Please support the Naked Pictures of Faceless People project by commenting on the posts. Comments which attack or attempt to guess the identity or any aspect of the identity of the blogger will be deleted, however. Protect and respect this space as though it were your own work on display here, naked and faceless.

Anonymous comments are welcome on NPFP posts. Simply put “Anonymous” or any pseudonym in Name, and either your own or a fake email addresses (ex me@me.com) as the email. NOTE: If you have a Gravatar associated with your email address, it will show up even with an anonymous name, in which case please use a different or a fake email address.

  1. Lucypaw (unaffiliated with the author) defines kink thusly: “Kink involves expressing sexuality in socially-transgressive ways, often dealing with power.”

The unbearable lightness of being three

It was so much easier when he was younger. So much easier when I could give of myself with a breast, through my motherhood made liquid for only him. It was so much easier when I could meet his needs for comfort, for inclusion, for belonging, for stimulation by tossing him on my back, and performing the mundanities of life: folding the laundry, loading the dishwasher, walking the dog. It was so much easier when all-my-attention meant cooing into that infant face, bouncing him on a leg, dropping my head just enough to inhale and kiss that so-sweet-smelling barely-there hair, tied as he was to my center, taking in the breath of me and beat of me.

Now, he needs so much less, and so much more, and I am floundering, my center lost. The mundanities that were made easy, inevitable, when he was sling-bound twice a day for naps, are now impossible, insurmountable. Inclusion is an ideal that I cannot enact without hyperventilating, my shoulders creeping up, my hands twitching to take over, take control, do it right. Conversations once held over the noise of his babbling are now shouted down with “Stop talking! Don’t talk to her! Don’t talk to him!”, as our beloved-but-not-benevolent dictator decrees communication betwixt his subjects be undetectable by his objectioning ears. All-my-attention means jumping and running and risking bruises and back injuries, finding myself unable to finish reading aloud the book he’s requested but unallowed to set it down while he tells me the same thing about it he’s told me a thousand times before, in detail overwhelming and uninteresting.

I should put down the phone, set aside the computer, get out of the chair. I should invite him to join me in all the tasks of living. I should shrug and smile and declare oopsies! when the expected occurs and a plate is dropped, a recipe mangled, a cup of flour tossed everywhere. I should hear his interruptions as innocent cries for attention, affection, movement, play. I should laugh at the chaos of life, and make a game of tidying up. I should give until he is filled up, trust that the more here-now I am with him, the less he will hang on my arm, unappeased by the dribbles I offer.

I should because this is the person I want to be, the parenting I planned on, the approach I advocate. I should because I know it is joyful, and I need more joy. I should because the more I flow, the easier it is; because mindfulness is my mission; because serenity isn’t a goal but a way. I should, I should, I should.

Should is word I wish I could ban, from myself, from parents, from everyone. Should is oppression incarnate. Should is the scourge with which we flagellate ourselves, from which we reflexively cringe, I know, I know, I know! Should is a black shawl, heavy as carpet, as dark as deep sea, an ocean of shame and fear and hatred pushing down, squeezing us into dense inflexible resentful distortions of ourselves. Should creates I-won’t, I-can’t, I-shan’t. Should leaves no room to breathe, to expand, to experiment, to fail, to succeed, to leap, and dance, and live. Should leaves only pain, anger, stuck-ness.

I should be a better parent — so I cannot be. I should not yell, not lose my temper, not decide he cannot before he even is allowed to try — so it is all I do. I should be creative, be flexible, be adaptable — so I cannot change.

I should not should on myself. And so here I am.

It’s not that I don’t want to be here-now with him; I do. At least, in abstract I do. As an idea, I do. And when I can, when my eyes meet his and we grin and he laughs and I chase him down and he chases me and we laugh, it is so very worth it. But he wants more. More playing, more running, more chase, more wrestling and then there are bruises, more throwing and then something breaks, more time and then I am late, more me and then I am done. Empty. Gone.

I want more, too. More village, more relatives, more people, more friends for him to play with, more adults for me to talk to. I want more time by myself, to run and swim and build up my endurance so I have more to give to him. I want more time alone with my lover so conversations over his insistence that we shut up aren’t necessary for us to so much as exchange information, much less try to connect. I want more space and safety and social support to toss him outside to play until he’s worn out, has a skinned knee I can kiss better, has a fascinating bug he wants to show me. I want more; how can I give to him from abundance when I acutely feel so much lack?

He is in bed with his father as I write; I do not know whether tonight will be like the last three nights, when he jumps out of bed, slams open the door, and runs out here, eyes squinting, joyfully calling “Mommy!” while my breath catches — is caught, bagged-and-tagged: “Property of the Boychick; if seen loose, capture and return at once.” I do not know whether tonight I will be able to finish my work, turn the lights off on the couch so cluttered only his frame is small enough to find space, on the table whose color I can tell only by the legs, on the floor which shares equal occupancy between the dog, drifts of hair, and the toys my child has picked up, played with, and abandoned since last we were able to clean — for I cannot pick up now, while he sleeps, for fear of waking him, nor then, while he’s awake, to spare us all the stress of his protestations — and climb at last into bed, press my nose to his hair in search of the smell I once so loved, and sleep… until he wakes me, and it is time to do it all — falling short, loving strong, eking out time for myself from the margins of my life — again. And again. And again.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Everything in here is true, but it’s not the whole truth. The whole truth is darker, lighter, more joyful, more despairing, more hopeful, more angry, and far, far more complex. Nor is there a conclusion, because this is life, and as long as I am very lucky, it simply goes on.

On fatphobia, thin privilege, and “eat a sandwich!”

Scroll down on the comments on a fat acceptance/size acceptance post that mentions thin privilege, and odds are excellent you’ll find something to the effect of “But I’m thin, and I get crap too! I don’t have ‘size privilege’!”1 Those of us who have been around the fat-o-sphere any length of time have heard this often enough our eye-roll muscles are starting to look like the Old Spice guy’s abs.

But let me take a moment out of exercising my extraocular muscles to actually address this, because these protestations aren’t coming out of nowhere.

When size acceptance activists say that thinness is privileged, we are not saying that every thin person has a hunky dory lightness and sunshine life and everything comes easily for each and every one of you. We are saying that everything else in this world favors if not you specifically, then at least your thinness, and those who are thin like you in general.

Society is systemically and systematically biased against fatness and privileges thinness. That is the well-supported theorem of size acceptance and the activism of fatties like myself.

Nowhere in that succinct definition does it say that thin women never receive body policing, that thin people all hate fat people (or vice versa), that cries of “eat a sandwich!” are any less painful or more acceptable than “put down that donut!”, that thin people don’t have body image issues, that thin women never have problems getting appropriate medical attention.

Because none of those things are true. Women of all sizes are regularly subjected to body policing, people of all sizes come in an array of bigotry levels, the pain of food-based shame is not lesser at a lower body weight, all women are at risk of having body image issues (conversely, women at all sizes might have fabulous self-images), and thin women as well as fat and inbetween can have a hell of a time getting doctors to listen to and believe them.

But? None of those things disprove thin privilege. And furthermore, they all are a consequence of fatphobia2.

Body and food policing and hateful, hurtful insults are a direct outflow of the belief that there is one acceptable type of body, and all others should be shamed (through words and pseudoscience and ill-fitting, unflattering clothes) for daring to deviate from it. And at this point in time, in USian culture (and many others), that ideal body is very thin3 — though not too thin.

Here is just a small example of ways that thinness is systemically privileged: seats are made for thin (or at most inbetween) people; most clothes (and basically ALL high fashion clothes) are made for thin people; thin women do not have to worry that they will be kept out of exclusive night clubs because of their thinness; thin people are more likely to be hired, less likely to be fired, and get paid more; thin people are not told they need to buy a second seat to fly because of their thinness, else risk being kicked off the plane; everyone in power — including medical professionals who should know better — are convinced that thin people are automatically healthier, merely by virtue of being thin; and almost all major media not only disproportionately represent thin people but artificially exaggerate thinness.

That not every thin person equally receives the benefit of thin privilege — that some, as with thin people with disabilities or health conditions dismissed out of hand because a douchebag doctor declares “you’re thin, you must be healthy!”, are actively disadvantaged — only means that the system doesn’t care one whit about any individuals, regardless of their size. Thinness is privileged; this does not mean that fatphobia is universally good for thin persons.

So, my skinny friend: your pain is real. Your hatred of the system that shames you is righteous. Your rejection of culpability in the self-esteem of fat women might be just. But your declaration that you therefore are not, cannot be privileged? Is based on a faulty understanding of privilege, its functions, and what it is like to be the embodiment of fatness in a fatphobic society. The words flung at you hurt; you may not always be able to find clothes that fit or flatter you; you may have spent a lifetime wishing for (or told you were supposed to wish for) more flesh, more curves, more bust. Those things are not any less true or real given what I am about to say:

You and those who share your thinness are not held up as responsible for everything from shorter lifespans to global warming; you and those who share your thinness can expect to walk into most clothing stores and at least find something that will meet when you attempt to button it; you can see your thinness reflected in every form of major media, held up in airbrushed form (if not in your own perfectly flawed, human way) as what all others — especially us fatties — should aspire to. You are privileged in many ways that society tries hard to make invisible to you. That you might not be able to see them does not mean they are not very, very real.

Size acceptance is for you, too, unreservedly. Every woman is a real woman, curves or no; every man, genderqueer, nonbinary person is a real person. But we can’t move forward if we can’t acknowledge the power differential; we cannot get to a place where every size is accepted if we are so convinced that all sizes are now equally affected that we are unable to shift the balance. We are all balancing on a scale, with your thinness being lifted up by the weight of and at the cost of us fatties. Only by acknowledging that imbalance can we get somewhere we can all stand side by squishy-skinny-inbetweeny side.

Your pain is real. So is your privilege. Acknowledge them both, and I promise I will do the same.

———————–

  1. Unless there are fewer than ten comments, or the blog moderator is especially strict, or especially lucky, you’ll also find “But don’t you know fat is unhealthy??” and “You’re just looking for an excuse to stay fat, you lazy cow!”
  2. Combined with sexism, ableism, classism, and all the other isms.
  3. That body is also white, moderately curvy (or “womanly”, as though women don’t come in the most fabulous array of shapes) if female — and moderately muscular if male –, cis, not obviously disabled, near-perfectly symmetrical, free of overt blemishes or scars, young (but not too young), not hairy, and so on.

NPFP Guest Post: I’m Breaking Up With You: A Letter to My Mother

Welcome to RMB’s Naked Pictures of Faceless People, a series of guest posts from diverse anonymous bloggers. (Read more about NPFP’s origins.) These are the posts that are jumping to get out of us, but for whatever reason — safety, embarrassment, conflict of interest, protection of loved ones’ reputations or feelings, or so on — we don’t or won’t or can’t post at our own blogs. Anyone, whether blogger or reader only, is welcome to submit or discuss a potential post by emailing me at arwyn at raisingmyboychick dot com.

I’m Breaking Up With You: A Letter to My Mother

It must be nice living in your shoes. So sure that nothing is wrong with you, that you have time to go to therapy for other people’s “problems”. That’s really something. I hope that I am not the only lucky recipient of your “help” — you could help everyone in the world with their problems since apparently you have none. It’s really giving of you to spend your time, money and “concern” helping other people. Surly that could be spent elsewhere… like, I dunno…on therapy for you. Because fuck knows you need it.

How about next time you go to see your “professional person” you go for you? I do not need you and your “professional person” figuring out what is wrong with me or what I need to do to fix it. I have myself under control. Just because my journey is not the same path you would take does not mean that my work is unsuccessful.

If anyone is having a harder time in life than you or getting more attention or sympathy than you, you have to create made-up drama so you are once again the center of attention. If anyone is happier than you and really working hard at moving forward in their life, then you have to do whatever you can to attempt to make them miserable (just like you?). This is your game. You have done this to me for as long as I can remember. I am no longer going to be a participant in your game.

I told you I was working on forgiveness towards you. But that answer wasn’t good enough for you. You want an answer that will make you feel good. It is not my job to make you feel good; it is my job to find my own fulfillment. Just as that is your own job.

I will no longer be to blame for your feelings. If you are feeling that you are “sliding backwards” then you need to look within yourself. I live thousands of miles away from you and keep limited contact with you; you can not blame me for your feelings. I will not take responsibility for how you feel.

I will not allow you to use my spouse, my children, or anyone else that is dear to me as a tool for your manipulation. You no longer have permission to attempt to emotionally manipulate me. You had that power for 38 years. Today I take it back. If you attempt to manipulate me or anyone close to me, you will be ignored.

You make a lot of assumptions. You assume that I have forgiven everyone but you; you know nothing about those situations. Assumption does not make something a fact. It is unwise to make decisions based on assumptions. Hopefully you can learn this one day.

Just because I forgive myself for any misperceptions from my past, and I realize that you did the best that you could. That does not wipe away the past. Especially not when current behaviors mimic past behavior. I accept that is who and what you are. But I have to do what is best for me and my family, and part of that is setting boundaries based on my needs not your wants.

The truth is I will never be able to make you happy. You have to find that within yourself. I will never be able to give you what you want in a relationship. There is no fantasy world, there is only what is, and that isn’t going to make you happy. Maybe one day you can learn to love and accept me for me. Maybe you’ll be able to accept what I am able to give. And maybe one day you will stop trying to fix me. There is nothing wrong with me. Until you can find acceptance for me, I don’t see how we can ever have a meaningful relationship. Until you can claim ownership for your own feelings, behaviors, and misperceptions, I do not see how we can move forward. All I can do is work on myself. I have no expectations for you.

You have said we need to “cut ties” so that I can work on our relationship. Last time I checked a relationship involved two people. I can only do my own work. So this is fine if it is what you need to do. However, do NOT forget it was you who set this in motion — you will not be blaming me for this one.

Signed,
Me.

——————————

Please support the Naked Pictures of Faceless People project by commenting on the posts. Comments which attack or attempt to guess the identity or any aspect of the identity of the blogger will be deleted, however. Protect and respect this space as though it were your own work on display here, naked and faceless.

Anonymous comments are welcome on NPFP posts. Simply put “Anonymous” or any pseudonym in Name, and either your own or a fake email addresses (ex me@me.com) as the email. NOTE: If you have a Gravatar associated with your email address, it will show up even with an anonymous name, in which case please use a different or a fake email address.

Lull

How to describe depression? How to explain the negative energy when all one’s energy — and then some — has vanished? How to explain the pain and fear of having no words, when one’s words, the only tool one has, are gone?

I went to BlogHer, I came back, and I forgot to take downtime. I forgot my body would go down, will I or no, and so I pushed, and it only pushed me down farther, longer. I can craft short missives, finalize posts mostly-written, fill in a book review form, but lyricism? Coherency? Depth and breadth of argument? Beyond me.

I have to trust — though I do not now believe, am not now able to believe — that it will return. I have to let go of any need to know when, and just make do until it’s here again — walking the fine line between pushing and quitting, driving myself neither up the wall nor falling into a pit.

*****

If I had the words, I would tell you of the well-meaning body worker telling me to “get in touch with the feeling that’s asking for your attention”. I would tell you of the bitter laugh that chokes my throat at that thought.

The key to my sanity, to not falling into a darkness in which I cannot believe the existence of light much less its proximity, is not feeling my feelings. They are there, and I acknowledge them, but I do not, as it were, invite them in to tea. I do not try to get to know them, because to know them is to give them power; to give them my attention is to give them myself. They are half-truths anyway, at best; quirks of chemistry, exaggerations of honest emotion, distorted past decency or honesty.

Get in touch with them? No. Nor reject, any more than I reject my back when it spasms; but neither wrap myself in its immobilizing tendrils, clothe myself in its ash-ridden rags. No one who understood would suggest so.

*****

And then there’s this.

At the time, I believed that I’d wasted my twenties by not having come out of them with a finished book and I bitterly lambasted myself for that. I thought a lot of the same things about myself that you do, Elissa Bassist. That even though I had the story in me, I didn’t have it in me to see it to fruition, to actually get it out of my body and onto the page, to write, as you say, with “intelligence and heart and lengthiness.” But I’d finally reached a point where the prospect of not writing a book was more awful than the one of writing a book that sucked. And so at last, I got to serious work on the book.

The most fascinating thing to me about your letter is that buried beneath all the anxiety and sorrow and fear and self-loathing, there’s arrogance at its core. It presumes you should be successful at 26, when really it takes most writers so much longer to get there. It laments that you’ll never be as good as David Foster Wallace—a genius, a master of the craft—while at the same time describing how little you write. You loathe yourself, and yet you’re consumed by the grandiose ideas you have about your own importance. You’re up too high and down too low. Neither is the place where we get any work done.

Writing is hard for every last one of us—straight white men included. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig. You need to do the same, dear sweet arrogant beautiful crazy talented tortured rising star glowbug. That you’re so bound up about writing tells me that writing is what you’re here to do.

Ow. And yeah. And ow.

*****

I’m never going to get it “right”, this balance between trying too hard and trying enough, between cutting myself slack and not cutting myself down. But I’ll keep trying. And that will be good enough.

It will have to be.

Private