Today we have something different. Mindflight is all about creation – whether it’s writing, painting, drawing, or even creative MMO games. Rayven joins us as a guest author and for her first post she’s writing about body image.
All my life I admired cats. They are absolutely shameless. By this I mean, they are without shame – especially the crippling kind. If a cat is fat, for example, they won’t let that stop them from enjoying a sunbeam – giant belly on full display. They seem proud of their various parts. I’ve had plenty of cats say “look at my butthole! Look at it! It’s amazing, isn’t it?” as they wave their tails in my face.
All my life I’ve been ashamed of myself. My body, the secret parts of my personality, those hidden desires I could never admit, everything. I’ve become the mistress of creative draping, hiding behind my clothes, and basically hiding all those things your average cat gives absolutely zero shits about. This has not been good for my relationships.
When I was little I wanted to explore my body, and those of my agemates. When I was four years old I was fascinated in how boys were different than me, why I didn’t have what they had, what they looked like, everything. However, when my sister was caught exploring, and given the sternest lecture I’d ever heard, I quickly realized that this was a Bad Thing and I shouldn’t ever talk about my curiosity.
Later I satisfied some of my curiosity by reading the Clan of the Cave Bear, hiding in the school library. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex (but were afraid to ask) was a little better. Porn helped a bit too but I quickly realized it was fake. Also, back when the dinosaurs walked the earth there wasn’t any internet so I was reliant on quick peeks at people’s magazine stashes. I came to maturity with some rather funny ideas.
It wasn’t till I turned forty-one that I woke up. I had a lackluster sex life, not because of any lack of interest on my partner’s part, but because of the shame on my part. I was so inhibited and I couldn’t figure out why. I vowed to fix that part of myself, I didn’t want to die a prude. I decided that I wanted to be liberated by the time I reached the Age Of The Question. You know, the question of Life, the Universe, and everything. 42.
How to do this? I’d gotten to the point where sex was actually kind of scary, and I had trouble getting out of my comfort zone. My body was so weird, it wasn’t shaped right, I didn’t feel comfortable in it. Even the fat models and body positivity folks were fat in all the hot ways. They weren’t lumpy like me, and off balance looking, and asymmetrical like me. It was impossible to feel attractive, I couldn’t imagine anyone looking at me with desire. I always did it in the dark.
I’m not sure how this happened but I started listening to a sex-positive podcast. I downloaded a bunch of them to listen to on my long, boring commute. I started with old episodes of the Sex Talk radio show, and soon found a fabulous program – the Mystery Bod Show from Portland, Oregon.
The stories were wonderful. The entire GLBT spectrum, straight people included, were telling their stories on stage. They told of their triumphs, their failures, their joys, their fears, their journeys. They honest accounts began winding their way into my brain. I started to feel normal. One day, I was re-listening to a particular story at home, and I took a look at the woman who was telling her story. It was an incredibly kinky story – but I was stunned as I realized that I might as well have been looking at myself in twenty years! This woman looked so much like me. Her hair was the same only silver, her face like mine except with a bit more of a double chin, her top was small and her bottom big, and yet she was telling me about this wonderful proud confident sex life and all this self love and love for others, and knowledge of herself as well as her partner. Never before had I seen someone in a venue like that who looked so utterly – normal.
Seeing her gave me wings. I started looking at the other people on the program, and saw how they were thin, fat, old, young, normal looking, wild. Every kind of person was represented there – nerdy looking people and average looking people included. Yet, each one had their moment in the sun, and had the audience in the palms of their hands. Something deep eased inside me.
I wept as I realized that I finally was no longer alone. My early explorations? Normal curiosity. My asymmetrical body? More common than I knew. That weird thing I liked my partner to do when I was feeling brave? Not new. A huge weight lifted from my shoulders. I could be me, kinky sides and vanilla sides together. I could give in to my butchy side if I needed to, that part of my that I call “my inner old guy.” I could be fem if I wanted to also, enjoy the hair and the nails and the frilly clothes. I could have a dramatic day if I want to, in this persona that is growing inside me, the one with milky white skin, deep blood red lipstick, heavy cat-eye liner, and shining black wig. All these things could be part of me and I could sample from this incredible buffet of experience and not have to eat the same thing every day.
Knowing these things, I realized I could finally loll in the sun, enjoying the warmth, unmindful of how big my belly was.
-Love and fantasies, Rayven Mystere