“You just don’t come across like a sexual person.”
“You’re, well, kinda just family friendly.“
Actual things said to me a few years ago. By actual (now ex) lovers.
Which got me thinking… Why? I mean, well, yeah, I’m good at being appropriate. But for people that have known me in the bedroom? That’s not an impression I want them to have, y’know?
So I started to dig.
Where was the disconnect between what I felt and what was seen? And what would it mean to express more of myself?
That’s easy. I’d had unwanted attention from the moment I started wearing things that made me feel good in my body, that made me feel powerful, embodied, and alive. When I first started exploring the expression of myself, which included that being alive as an erotic, sensual being, I got the message loud and clear that it was dangerous.
So I stopped. I pulled back, in. I hid my body and myself.
Even now it still puts me right back in that space, wearing things that make me feel alive, that time where strange men propositioned me as a young teen and I had to escape, where guys took advantage and pressured for more, where cat calls reminded me that I wasn’t allowed to just exist in my body without fear of wandering hands and eyes. I wasn’t dressing for them yet they still felt they had a right to insert themselves into my space.
It reminds me of the times, later, when I tried again to access that part of myself and was rejected, repeatedly.
I’m not happy with staying small. This is a puzzle that I choose to solve. A fear that I’m facing. A cage I will not be kept in.
I find myself trying online, in this place where so many of us have tried and tried and tried to find self expression, with a small amount of anonymity and therefore, we hope, protective distance. Seeking enough of a positive response with less physical danger, to maybe undo the rejections, untangle the threats, and begin to find the strength I buried long ago.
To uncover this part of myself, this feeling of being alive as a sensual, erotic, creature.
I want to feel like myself. All of myself.
So, yet again, I’m trying on clothes…
Why do we hide parts of ourselves?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments:
In what ways do you hide and keep yourself small, and how have you taken steps to undo the fears that hold you back and live as your full, authentic self?
Or; how do you use clothes for self expression?