Why did you want to participate?
That’s a hard question! I just wanted to tell my story. Not that it’s special, just add my input.
Tell me about your self-esteem levels?
Throughout my life it varied. I remember specifically when I was a little kid not having any issues but I had a lot of energy, what people called a spirited child. In middle school, kids made fun of me for being so energetic and pumped up to do stuff. That took a toll on who I was because people made fun of who I was. I changed to be like other people. In late middle school I started to adapt to the general population. My self-esteem in high school was low as a result, because I couldn’t be who I was.
Recently after I had my child, everything seems more carefree. I don’t care what people think. It’s really strange having a child because it changes so many aspects of life. You only care about everything revolving around her life now.
How would you rate your self esteem?
Why is this project important to you?
I think its important that people, male or female or any gender identity, hear different real stories of people. There are so many fictional characters out there, that people lose touch with how people really are. I know I do. It was refreshing to read the interviews that were on your website.
How would you rate your self esteem now?
About the same, maybe at eight now though. Didn’t fluctuate too much.
How did you feel being naked outside of your bedroom?
Really cold. But. Fine. I felt pretty comfortable, but I think the comfort came from knowing my neighbors were asleep. It was a little awkward knowing my parents are in the kitchen watching. I wasn’t anxious or scared. I know my parents have seen me naked before but it was a little distracting. But I tried to put that out of my mind.
Tell me a little more about who you are as a person?
That’s always hard for me!
It’s hard for everyone, nobody likes to talk about themselves.
I’m very, not critical, but aware of everything. Especially body language. I feed off of body language a lot and try to adopt to situations that way. I feel like whatever is said non-verbally is more important that what is actually said verbally. I’m really socially anxious so that kind of decides who I am in certain situations. Like if I walk into a room and nobody notices me, I feel comfortable. More than if they all turned to me.
When it comes to doing things with my daughter, I think it’s important for her to not see that side of things. I want her to be comfortable wherever she goes, I don’t want her to pick up on me feeling that way when I go places and feel that way herself. I’m constantly second guessing everything I’m doing to ensure she isn’t taught to fear social situations.
I’m really just myself. We’re super energetic. We dance, we sing, we have fun. I don’t care what I look like. I would say generally, I’m a pretty loving person when it comes to people and animals and things.
How are you as a sexual being?
I used to be a very sexual person. Some may call it a slut. I think people should be able to feel okay in expressing themselves in any direction they chose to. The whole slut-shaming thing is not favorable because it takes a toll on people.
How did it take it’s toll on you?
Before I felt like I had a lot of freedom, but now when I have a partner I feel more constricted in certain aspects of the bedroom.
Why do you think that is?
Certain people are into certain things, and when you try to do sexual things with certain people and they don’t like it…they can make you feel weird for liking certain things. It’s hard to open up and express yourself when people don’t agree with you.
So you have had situations where your sexuality didn’t match up to another persons, and their reaction caused a certain type of anxiety surrounding that expression now?
That was perfectly said! My child’s father was very much like that. That’s okay, but it was the way that he made me feel about what I liked that was not okay. Looking back on it, I shouldn’t have chosen to be with someone who made me feel like that when it comes to sexual encounters because that’s when you’re most vulnerable. And having someone break you down when you’re that vulnerable takes it’s toll on you.
What type of things did you enjoy in bed that you find some partners did not?
Generally, more aggressive handlings. Choking, being held down, role plays, more aggressive role plays. That’s really all the extent of it.
You mentioned you enjoy attending BDSM events, can you tell me a little bit about those and what BDSM is all about?
I’m by no means a spokeswoman for BDSM but from my understanding it’s about exploring different desires that are generally out of the ordinary to the rest of the population. To me, it’s more freeing because throughout life you feel like you have to be in control of the situation and when it comes to BDSM I’m a submissive so it’s nice to have someone else be in charge.
Yeah, I asked someone to hold me down during sex the other day and they called me a slut playfully, not realizing that’s too far for my tastes. I had to just explain that there are levels of rougher play that don’t include that type of language being used.
A lot of people think that BDSM is taboo, why do you think that is?
It can be seen as aggressive, dark. The whole slut aspect of it, being open sexually, people have problems with that.
Especially in women, taking charge of their sexuality goes against gender norms.
Mhm. God forbid, a woman be into some freaky shit and enjoy herself. That’s how I felt, coming from my past relationship. It was long distance. I wasn’t doing anything sexual with a person, but he saw me being aroused at these events being an issue. But me watching porn at home isn’t an issue for him. That was a big difference between our personalities.
Have you experienced slut-shaming from anyone outside of him?
Ha! Yeah. In high school, and college. I was very promiscuous. People talk, a lot. It was shitty, people talked behind your back about something you enjoy.
Have you ever had a negative sexual experience?
One in particular. I had this friend, his name was XXXX. We’d hang out all the time and watch movies. One night me and a couple of our friends were there. I’d always been curious about how my friends were in bed. Events led to him and I being in his bedroom, it came to having sex and at the time I didn’t have safe sex. He pulled out a huge box of condoms, I remember thinking, “Why did you need that many condoms, you’re not a sexual person” He was fiddling with it, trying to open it. I was like, “Oh we don’t need one of those!” And he agreed. We have sex, he pulls out, and he came on me. I had torn a little when we had sex. I found out, he had something permanent. I ended up getting an STI. He could have easily told me he had it, but he didn’t and now I have something I’ll have for the rest of my life.
There is such a stigma for people with STI’s.
There is a crazy stigma when it comes to STI’s and it’s just fucked up that I didn’t get to have that warning. Most people react pretty okay when you tell them. At first they’re surprised, mostly they just want to know what’s safe and what’s not.
I can see that weighing into your self-esteem too.
I haven’t been as sexual for obvious reasons. That was a big part of my life, I really liked to have sex and now I can’t do that. I feel like something was taken away from me.
What things do you do everyday to keep a positive mindset?
I used to be really depressed. On medications, off medications. I decided a few years ago that switching medications and therapists only felt worse. I told myself if I was going to stop all of this, I had to step up and change my mindset on my own. One constant reminder is my daughter. I need to be there for her, and not be depressed and low energy. Or negative. That will affect how she grows up.
Whenever I’m starting to feel down, I try to switch up our environment and get out new toys. And seeing her happy and vibrant makes me feel better. Doing productive things, even simple things like cleaning my room or laundry helps me feel better.
Tell me about your pregnancy, how did it affect the way you look at your body?
During birth, I tore really bad. I recently had surgery to fix what the midwives fucked up. I have a long scar, it’s raised and it’s long and not pretty. That’s really difficult for me to get past when it comes to sexual encounters with new people because I’m not with her father. That’s one thing I’m working through. My stomach is a little more stretched out than I like, but I try not to beat myself up about it because that’s okay. I also know that if I want to look better all I have to do is exercise and put more energy into toning my body. I’ve always been really skinny and people thought I was anorexic. It always stayed in my mind that I should be skinny, that’s what the media says over all. So now, being more stretched out than I usually am I feel like I need to get back to how I looked before.
Have people made judgments about you being a young mom?
From older people specifically, they always make comments about where my husband is. Or, “I bet she looks like your husband”, always about my husband. Like I’m supposed to be married. As a single Mom, I don’t need to be reminded that I’m single. When I first announced that I was pregnant, the first question everyone asked me was, “Why aren’t you getting an abortion?” And that’s fine. I’m pro-choice. Not for me. But when people asked, I felt an underlying pressure of, “You should probably get an abortion”. And I took that as a jab at me being capable of being a good Mom. It was family, friends, and strangers. Like, it would ruin my life and I couldn’t do it alone like I hadn’t had my life together. I feel like they didn’t know what they were even asking. That would be the notion I got when people weren’t supportive of me keeping her at first.
I feel like people are ignorant to the meaning people find in their wording and questions when it comes to things like pregnancy.
Mhmm. I would agree. I’d also like to add, when you find our youre pregnant and your relationship is rocky, it’s hard enough to defend your position to other people when you’re not entirely sure of your decision yourself. I knew I wanted to keep her, but I was so scared about how things would unfold that it was hard to put my foot down when people would ask questions like this.
And I’m sure if you did put your foot down…
You’re being a sassy pregnant hormonal bitch.
Do you believe in gender equality?
Are you a feminist?
I wouldn’t say I’m an outspoken feminist. But I would say yes.
A lot of people think you need to be in the streets picketing and wearing no bra and growing your arm pit hair out but simply believing in gender equality makes you a feminist.
And it’s funny because before I had giant milk filled boobs I wouldn’t wear a bra and I hadn’t shaved my armpits.
Any last words for the readers?
Do what you need to do for yourself, and be who you need to be for yourself.