I had an awful moment while running today. For too long a moment I thought had lost a bet no one is keeping track of but me, turned out to be Gray was right, and I’d need to read stumbling upon happiness.
I faltered in my stride and almost fell off the elliptical – this may be why most people don’t do their heavy thinking while running.
You see, for a few years now I’ve been working on getting naked. Yep – working on getting naked. This kinky chick? Pretty much a never-nude. No, I don’t actually have a sexy pair of Tobias Fluke inspired shorts, and yes I am noted for my distaste of pants, but complete nudity is not a state you’ll often find me in outside of a locked bathroom.
Truthfully? It is a bit annoying: group showers kinky campgrounds; fire or wax play sessions; mud wrestling, public sex – these things would all be easier if I was comfortable showing my vulva. Even getting undressed in front for lovers the first few times can been a big challenge for me.
So little by little over the past three years I’ve pushed at my comfort level. Stripping off my bikini bottom while alone in the group showers at Vice; a nude photo shoot (though you can’t see anything more reveling than a hint of breast); drying my naked body outside of the tiny shower stalls at FetFest – while talking to a gentlemen I’d never met before; skinny dipping in the darkness of Tease with a couple of strangers….
And finally, I actually did it. Full frontal nudity– in the presence of friends, with no shadows to hide my body in. Captured in pictures and posted for posterity. I’m officially naked on the internet. Public nudity goal met.
But you know what? I’m not feeling that super awesome YAY BODY PRIDE in the way that I thought I would – or thought I ought to be when I look at pictures like this.
So here I am. I set a goal; achieved my goal and yet – where’s my burning desire to frolic naked in the fields? Have a lost track of what actually brings me happiness? Do the cynics win?!
Luckily by the time I got around to working my core, I’d realized the core of my problem. I was stuck in the comparison trap again.
WOOO-HOOO NAKID does not have to be the goal of body pride any more than HAVE ALL THE SEX needs to be the goal of sex positivity.
Please don’t get me wrong on this; we need – I need – the woo-hoo naked/sex/slut/whatevers to be out there doing their thing. The Woo-hoo People? They’re creating space for all of us by pushing the boundaries of what is socially acceptable, or challenging the world to consider something new. They make it okay for those of us who want to stay 50 feet behind them. In fact, they make it safer for us to explore our own boundaries, limits and preferences by drawing the attention to themselves.
So. I’m not one of those people on those woo-hoo naked people. I’m with the crew hanging back, walking slowly into the pool instead of canning balling into the deep end. And much like actual pools I’m free to move around. I can swim out to the deep end and then come back to the shallows; I can sit on the steps with just half my body in the water, or lounge with a floaty – I’m free to find the place I want to inhabit in each moment.
And it’s not just the x-positive world where comparisons can become a trap; think about how often we compare ourselves to our peers in the kinkoverse. We compare ourselves to the tops we admire; we compare ourselves to that seemingly consummately obedient slave, to the scenes we seen in our local dungeon and the photographs we see on Kinky and Popular. Too often we forgo where we’re actually at in favour of where we think we should be. If kink is about exploring the edges of our own sexual boundaries; about following the relationship styles and power dynamics that move us , we do over very selves a disservice by letting admiration slide over into hero worship and buying into what we think we should be instead of embracing what we are.
Maybe I will be a woo-hoo naked person one day; maybe I won’t – that’s not actually what matters. What matters is I saw through a goal; and I’m one step further in the journey to owning me.
Which I’m going to consider a win.
And you know what else?
I am still a good predictor of what’s important to my contentment – to my happiness. I’m good at knowing what boundaries need to be pushed and stretched, which feelings need to be explored and worked through, and recognizing tweaks that need to be made along the journey. What I’m poor at is keeping the outcome aimed at me, solely at me, and not falling into the comparison trap.
Here’s to killing your heroes and owning the hell out of yourself.