There are things in life that can hold a person back if they’re not properly addressed. Mindset things. Especially when fearing the input of others. Along my blogging journey, I’ve had to look at some of my own hangups to find healing.
For the long time followers of the blog, there were several stories, which will eventually continue, that had photos of high heels as their cover photos and driver of the storyline.
Then, self-consciousness got the better of me. The realization that my concept of self-love was not as mature as I thought it was. I had to make adjustments so that my writing would not be derailed. After months of agonizing with myself, I stopped and laughed at myself. This is the kind of mindset games that can derail a blog, a writing career, self-esteem, and much more. Wanted to share with you how some cherished but impractical self-told stories can create needless pain and setbacks. Hopefully this will help someone push themselves past their limiting beliefs.
Now on with the post.
Due to the career choices I’ve made, adopting a very conservative approach to many subjects made a lot of sense. While comfortable with this venue of life, it was creating a lot of internal conflicts when it came to writing. During the days of doing photography, this posed an internal crisis that I managed somewhat OK. I took “standard” photos for everyone and only “creative” ones with trusted friends.
In time, it became clear that I was good at all the styles of photography I tried. Good enough to get paid anyway. However, my internal conflicts made growing a photography business difficult. Self-sabotage was in full effect. (currently, the photography business is on hold, but for very different reasons)
Worse, I was asked by a few online friends to help run their websites. They were trying to make their fashion lifestyle sites more appealing and my photographic eye helped. One of the sites was very successful and focused on lingerie and heels… that was until the owner took it down to move on with life’s responsibilities.
No one in my family circle knew of this. No one in my religious circles knew of this. It was my silent deeply protected secret. Not so much from a shame perspective, there was no shame for me in the art I was getting good at. I just didn’t want to mix the fun carefree more liberal sides of me with the more conservative straight laced side of me.
The Emotional Hurt
Later, it became clear that my conflict was being telegraphed out to others. Certain comments and behaviors of mine was betraying me. My social worlds were starting to collide. I had to find peace or else risk creating chaos.
First lesson: I had to embrace and love myself as a complete being. I had to start changing my narrative about myself. Natural teen hormones were not “trials and tribulations” designed to test my ability to ignore my feelings, even if the community I frequented insisted that was the case. I was not abnormal for feeling attraction to women. I was not a failure for experiencing arousal when in close proximity to a woman I was attracted to.
My commitment to this weird narrative was so intense that it made dating challenging. Sharing what I liked was difficult as I thought I was defective for having such feelings. My artistic side, sadly, got wrapped into this conflict. My nerd intellectual side won out. That was the side I presented. Whenever folks saw glimpses of my artsy nature or my interest in women… feelings of panic and failure nearly choked me into hiding.
The fear of rejection took deep roots early. I didn’t want to be an outcast because I couldn’t gain mastery of my emotional drives. Somehow, I felt if I couldn’t keep stringent controls of my emotions, I would be humiliated and banished from my social circles permanently. Obviously, not very rational in thought process. It would take years to face, unpack, and address these childhood theories.
What made this journey all the more painful, the positive social feedback that came from holding myself in check reinforced the ideas. I was complimented for being a gentleman by many. I was complimented for being trustworthy because I didn’t act like a thirsty-lustful-horny-selfish teen guy. Women said they felt safe around me because I acted mature. Secrets were shared with me because I kept my mouth shut. I was the good guy.
On occasions, if a fellow teen lady had to change clothing and didn’t have the luxury of a locker-room, I was the only guy that was trusted not to make any sexual moves or do anything uncomfortable. All because I could keep a polite respectful attitude (plus I always turned my back so they gal saw I was not looking).
I attributed this trust to my ability to contain and push my emotions aside. To speak about what I liked would betray that trust and subject me to untold humiliation and ostracizing. My own unique world view had set a trap that kept me in pain. I couldn’t share what I like or wanted because of the conservative image I had built.
As a good strong smart Christian man, I was able to keep a level eye and treat ladies as equals. By equals, I mean… intelligent beings with beautiful souls. By equals, I mean I didn’t look at their physique any differently than I looked at another man’s physique. With this strange standard, anything women did that made them attractive, I had to ignore. Or act like I was ignoring.
(for the record… this unique narrative of my teen years is not part of the Christian teachings… strictly my own social interpretation of what is proper, upright, and gentlemanly… at the time)
At first, I thought I was doing the ladies a favor. I was the good guy that was safe. Women could talk about anything and not worry about a sexual response. Some gals tested my ‘resolve’ as mentioned in the last section (changing clothing)… to see if I’d react. I didn’t. Not saying it was easy. But I managed to stuff my feelings away into a box. I was praised for being such a “great friend”.
Phrases like “for a straight guy, you’re really cool” and “you’re just like my gay friend, but you’re not gay… so you’re more like my brother” felt like compliments that just tore me up inside.
Most guys responded to breasts, butts, and hips in a way that many teen gals didn’t appreciate very much… but tolerated. I managed to act like those didn’t exist or distract me in any way. However, in the circle where I socialized, no one seemed to pay legs that much mind. It wasn’t long before the mental connection was made that… legs was a safe topic to compliment. The few compliments I shared was well received and no social cost was paid. Heels made legs look even better. But… but… mentioning anything about heels got me strange looks and questions about me being a pervert. Lesson learned quick. And hard-wired fast.
(in hindsight… during my teen years, there were a few sensational stories in the news… which I rarely tuned-in to follow… about guys getting arrested on college campuses for stealing panties and heels)
However, there comes a time when one’s art starts to spill over container styled boundaries. The narrative has to change. Or else I run the risk of being labeled a “deviant” I know I am not.