Our focus this week at The SWC is Exploration and the Great Unknown. As part of that, HL has written a post about our limits and how they have changed over time. There are things that we thought we would never do which we have since tried and made a regular part of our play, and there are others where the boundaries have changed and been pushed, until there is very little left in the way of boundary there at all. One of the areas where I have completely moved from a NO to a YES is in the posting of pictures.
Taking and posting pictures of myself is not a new topic for me, but it is one where the growth has been quite considerable and it is one which I have had to think long and hard about it too. There are lots of reasons why it is something that I should not do, but there are also lots which lead to it being a hugely positive experience for me. I suppose the seed was planted in September 2016 with Pictures of You and really things moved very slowly for a while. It is interesting looking at my blog to see just how slowly he did approach things, giving me time to settle and to mull things over while he quietly worked away at some of the issues I had thrown up.
One of these has always been that the risk of being discovered would have quite serious and far reaching consequences for me. He tackled this by reducing the risk I suppose and by demonstrating to me that he could take pictures in which I would not be identified. This was not something he had ever done before so any of the images I had seen bore my face wearing the slightly awkward expression that I can feel but try not to think about. Seeing it looking back at me had made things more difficult, so not to see it, and to see an edited version of his picture, was actually quite powerful.
Slowly I started to feel sexy and I started to feel beautiful. Not all the time of course, but there were times when he could control it and arouse it within me. I started to see what barrier my self-consciousness and my self-control really were to me being able to make progress and grow in the ways that we both wanted me to. So while some of my issue was the risk, a bigger part was my body image and the contrast between the way I saw myself and the way that he saw me. I have since discovered that they way I want to be seen is pretty key to all of this too.
Slowly I began to come around to the idea of the pictures, adding some here and there on my blog. I changed my avatar and the header to use vastly edited images of myself and even attached them to some of my posts. Behind the scenes he pushed my boundaries in terms of the wearing of clothes around the home and we attended a couple of events where I wore things which said more about who I was behind closed doors. In November 2017 came HL’s announcement that he wanted to do some outdoor photography which I was pretty scared about and it all flared up a bit again.
I see now that it was all part of the long game and he clearly not only has patience, but also has the ability to see the baby steps I was taking as little milestones of achievement. It wasn’t just the pictures that were affected by my mindset, it was being ‘seen’ by others in general. Attending an event would lead to untold stress that he would have to try to encourage and coax me through. Dealing with anxiety which is deep rooted is tricky for both parties as the tendency to wriggle my way out of things fooled even me at the start.
Somehow a shift occurred in February of last year when I suddenly decided that I was ready. Throwing caution to the window, I stepped out of the shadow and into the light. Quite literally really. I knew that to do this I would need to be part of something bigger and so committed to trying to share some images of myself. This impact of this reached wider than I could ever have imagined as I suddenly became part of a body positive group of people who were inspiring and encouraging in equal measure. Suddenly I felt like I wanted to smash down the barriers I had built up and become someone different.
The someone different was a part of me which had been hidden for so long and the sense of freedom that I got was enticing and addictive. I had hurt myself for many years, abusing myself emotionally with thoughts that were so damaging to my self-esteem that to challenge them, even if only in a small way was huge. That HL was able to be part of this healing process was significant to my submission and he used his Dominance of me to gently encourage and support the change. None of this was overt and he allowed me to have the appearance of control so that I could set a pace which would work for me.
A month or so ago something happened which challenged these two parts of me again and although HL wrote about this, I have not been able to do so. It has left me in a dilemma of how to resolve the two sides of me in a way which allows for me to be viewed in a positive light in all roles of my life. The way I view myself is still inextricably linked to the way that others see me and this is something that I am not yet able to shift. One of the reasons I didn’t write about it was because I though that people would reassure me that it was my body and my life and others would have to suck that up, and I am still not ready to see it that way.
I know it shouldn’t affect me what others think, but it does. It is who I am, for the moment at least. It is particularly difficult where it is people who I care about and also when I think about what I could potentially lose. As much as I love what I am doing, there is always a price and I suppose I have been caught up in wanting it all. I hope one day it will be possible to feel true to myself and also feel accepted widely for that, but for the moment I am resigned to compromise. So where does this leave my limits? Still being slowly but surely pushed I think.
The fact that limits shift and change is as natural part as having them in the first place. Of course some will be boundaries which remain immovable but many will be linked to things that you see as being risky or uncomfortable or scary in some way. As your experience grows and you become more confident, some of the things that were off limits may start to appear less of an issue, perhaps shifting to something that you would like to do. Many of the things in life which are exciting or thrilling will have risk attached so I don’t think it is so much that the risk has lessened, but more that you feel inclined to take it.