My therapist and I just spent an hour trying to figure out why I rarely trust my perceptions of people. My instincts with assholes have usually been en pointe, so if I’d spent my life trusting my own damn self, my history would be steeped in rainbows and Chanel Number 5.
I’m relatively well informed. I can spot predators from 50 paces, and yet I walk headlong into pain and trauma all the time. The same thought has gone through my head time and time again: “I knew they were destructive when I first set eyes on them.”
I tend to think I’m the only person who has this much distrust in myself but, by my own perceptions </irony> most of you are quite similar to me.
Give me a second to take a detour…
… When you’re pitching a feature for a magazine, you look for what are known as ‘pain points’ in the most popular articles in that publication—the problems their features solve and the emotions they appeal to. That’s how you figure out what their readership is like…
If I do that exercise on Fetlife, I find that most popular posts offer one thing: acceptance. Their pain point is insecurity. It’s odd that we, in all our rebellious glory, would be so hung up on finding people to tell us we’re okay. Aren’t kinksters supposed to be so well-acquainted with our uniqueness that we don’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks? Apparently not. I’ve read one comment on Fet far more often than any other: “So you’re saying I’m not that weird? Well, shit.”
The one thing that would keep subs safer than just about anything else is self-acceptance. If we felt secure enough to use safe words without hesitation and choose the precise dynamics we wanted in relationships, we’d have the kind of security that no number of references could achieve. Hell, if we were more comfortable in our own skins, we’d be far more likely to use safe calls and reference checks instead of letting guilt and embarrassment rule the day.
Four of my closest friends just saw me through the darkest phase I’ve had the pleasure to run into in a decade. They saw me at my worst and through my worst. Last week, conducting a post-mortem of the chaos with an old friend, I said, “They saw the most awful parts of me and they still like me.”
She looked at me as though I’d just told her the sky was blue and said, “Why wouldn’t they?”
That affected me profoundly because, as much as my ego wants you to like the shiny, sparkly parts of who I am, my soul needs friends who love the whole of me instead. I’m not Wonder Woman. I’m your average woman, but if I’m not Versace-perfect I tend to come down on myself pretty hard.
But then my friends always show up to love me through the hard stuff. That’s how I’m learning that the real me is worth loving, and my god, that’s a beautiful thing.