There have been times in my life where my relationship with my body was perfunctory at best, willfully ignoring it outside of immediate needs, either from body shame or something like a sort of paralysis of indecision from conflicting messages in the environments I lived in. In my hometown in Utah,the feminine ideal was typically a sporty blonde with a tan who loved God, her country, and her man. I was none of these things despite trying to keep up appearances. I didn’t have a community that accepted my sexuality or interests outside of a fledgling LGBTQ support group at a high school across the county. Trying to be out with my social circle in school as bisexual came with a lot of having to reassure the girls that I wasn’t hanging out with them because I secretly had a crush or just wanted to have sex with them. By my late teens, I had reached a point where I didn’t really look at myself beyond making sure I have dressed appropriately for the day and avoided sexual topics and situations outside of a carefully curated identity and kinks I revealed to a close-knit group of friends despite my private curiosity.
After I moved to the Pacific Northwest and bounced around Oregon and Washington, that changed. A room I leased had a six-foot long vanity mirror mounted on the wall from the previous tenant, so I couldn’t ignore myself when my own movements would catch my eye daily. I began to appreciate characteristics of my body I had ignored for years but used to adore. I began dancing again, after years of discouragement and self-doubt in my ability. Instead of being driven everywhere daily I was riding a bicycle as my main mode of transportation which reinforced paying attention to my body. First, the muscle soreness from the sudden increase in physical activity was a constant nagging that I was here, I was using my body in a way I found satisfying if painful at times. I then embraced being mindful of my body while learning how to cycle efficiently with individual bicycles and utility tricycles I owned into my early twenties.
BDSM played it’s part as well. As I mentioned in Are You Kinky, I met a woman in Oregon that encouraged me to explore my kinks with our partners and other playmates. She offered moral support when I dipped my toes into local kink and queer scenes and made connections in the community. This new found circle even helped me realize I had the confidence to apply for shoots as a masochist fetish model, going into suspension scenes with eagerness. I developed quite an appetite for the give and take of playing hard, being pushed and discovering my limits along the way. Some limits I found could go further than I thought, and others were a surprise, like learning bottoming for play piercing isn’t fun for me so much as a sure fire way to faint.
When I moved to Washington, I wasn’t bottoming as much as I used to while I focused on turning the tables and practicing Dominance professionally and personally. I did, however, enroll in physical therapy which was like finding a missing puzzle piece to my body awareness. I now spend quite a bit of time weekly, taking breaks from what I am doing to go through my stretches and exercises, feeling where my body has adapted to injury and avoiding pain, and how I have tried to hold myself as physically smaller as if that might make me fit into constrictive gender roles over the years. I learned to adjust my bodily alignment, to even change my perception of myself through my posture, my breathing, and movement.