Saturday, February 17, 2018

On the Female Aesthetic (Pubic Hair)

I am writing this while drunk. So consider that while reading. To me, this means that it is more honest than I normally am, rather than being more ridiculous than I normally am. Or maybe it's a bit of both? Maybe they go together more than I, and most people and situations, realize.

I'm also writing this while waiting for a video game's population to expand and therefore level me up and therefore make it easier to beat a boss. So I guess that's an important factor too.
There are so many factors to everything. It's pretty amazing, really. I think about it a lot; there's really no way to account for every factor of life when considering the outcome.

Disclaimer: I may go over this when I'm sober before publishing. I would publish it immediately, but I have no internet at the moment. So take this to mean that I am brutally and shamelessly honest in this moment.

Note to self and readers: any modifications will be to spelling and for clarity's sake, not to hide or modify my thoughts or beliefs.

I've been thinking about pubic hair. There's no delicate way to say it.

Why does it seem so embarrassing? So shameful?

Like, it's normal. Pubic hair is normal. Everyone has it.

Some people choose to get rid of it. That's fine, you do you.

As long as you aren't getting rid of it for someone else.

My first boyfriend (my ex-fiance) was constantly pressuring me to completely shave my vagina and pelvic region. So much to where I considered shaving it for a birthday present for him. I never did, because I really couldn't stand the thought of actually doing it. I trim, I adjust, I shave enough to wear I can actually wear shorts or a leotard and tights without feeling self conscious, but heck no am I gonna shave my entire pubic region. Especially not for a boy.

Like, ew. And ouch. I know some people do, and that's totally fine if you want to. I'm still slightly confused as to how you can even do that without hurting yourself. I can't even shave my legs without making it uncomfortable or itchy or sensitive for a day or two. Admittedly, it's not like I pay enough attention to really do it "correctly." I only do it because I physically can't stand the sensation of prickles while trying to sleep. It's a sensory thing due to my slight autism rather than a need to appeal to the opposite sex, or to appear "sexy" in any way.

But that's in regard to leg hair.

Pubic hair, however.

It's way more complicated to shave.

It's way more likely to result in an injury (however slight).

It has no result in my sensory obsession of prickles and physical sensation.

I am moderately self conscious when it comes to sex if I don't shave around my pubic area, but not enough to where I go out of my way. Shaving is a chore, man. Razors are expensive. They really don't last forever, no matter what my cheap mind says. People say you should switch them out once a week. Fuck that, man. Like, maybe once a month.
Well, it doesn't help that I keep losing or breaking the main part of the razor. I started buying disposable razors cause I got tired of telling me mom that I lost or broke the main part of the razor and needed not only new blades but a new main part as well.

Plus, after reading this, she may not give me any new razor parts at all because it does kind of imply that I have sex on a semi regular basis (and sex is of the devil). Even though I don't, because I'm asexual. Even though I kind of wish I did, cause my boyfriend is allosexual. He doesn't pressure me, of course (cause he's great).

Anyway.

Pubic hair.

Why is it considered so ugly? Unattractive? Unfeminine?

I should do more research on it (when I have wifi and when I'm sober), but from what I've heard pubic hair is actually pretty healthy and hygienic. I mean, as long as you yourself are also healthy and hygienic. Speaking from experience, too much shaving in any area results in itchiness, discomfort, bleeding/scabs, ingrown hairs, etc.

(I just leveled up in this video game, which proves that my patience for population growth has paid off)

I started shaving part of my pubic hair because of my first boyfriend/ex-fiance, because I thought that was what I should look like, behave like, be like. It didn't help that in ballet class I was forced to wear a black leotard and pink tights that made my very dark pubic hair all too visible when I did an arabesque or a penche or anything. I was so self-conscious about it that it did indeed influence my dancing, not only making me a less skilled dancer but also making it so that I didn't enjoy it myself. I was too self-conscious about the other dancers seeing the hair peek out of my leotard, about my (male) teacher noticing, about the other girls mentally criticizing me for not being "feminine" enough.

If I could tell my high school self anything, i'd say, "fuck them. Be you." In reality, there's a high probability that even if anyone noticed my pubic hair, they didn't care.

Yes, I have very very pale skin. Yes, I have very very dark hair. All of my body hair is very apparent, whether it's on top of my head or at my ankles. It's visible, but that doesn't make it shameful.

I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment where I wasn't physically or verbally abused for my body hair. The closest I came to such abuse was my first boyfriend who constantly pressured me into shaving simply because he liked it and said it was "sexy" and "more attractive." Since he was my first boyfriend, I knew no better. Since I grew up in the church and was taught to be relatively submissive, I knew no better. Since he told me that "in his eyes" we were "already married in the eyes of God," I knew no better.

I hate myself for all the things I did just to appease him. It has nothing to do with religion or Christianity in this regard. He didn't make me turn away from God, he didn't make me distrust religion. I blame him.
Anyway, that's not the point.

Do men hate female body hair because it seems too similar to male body hair? Is their masculinity so fragile as to be worried about body hair on female bodies? Is that it?

I don't know. I'm drunk. It looks like I really can't level up anymore unless I fight this boss, which probably won't go well since I'm pretty drunk.

I've fucking beat this boss multiple times but the save file has always fucking messed up. Partly because of me, but also because it's a fucking old emulator so you have to be super fucking speicific about saving the game.

It's Actraiser on the nintendo, for anyone that cares.

I haven't exactly said anything revolutionary in this post, but tbh I never do. In this instance, I just want you to think about it. Think about pubic hair. Think about male and female pubic hair. Think about male and female body hair. Male and female facial hair. Why do you dislike either of it? Do you have a reason? Or is it just "unattractive"? Because if you can't provide another reason, then I don't totally believe it. I say this because there's a lot of things that I automatically find unappealing, but upon further inspection, I realize I have no reason to find them unappealing. It's just that I have been taught by advertising (and other sources) that it is ugly, unattractive, incorrect, wrong.

I used to shave part of my pubic hair, if only so that it didn't show in a leotard, swimsuit, or underpants. I haven't shaved any of it in a long time because I've been to depressed, stressed, and apathetic to go to all the trouble.

Plus, when I think about it, I really can't think of a real reason why I should go to that trouble. My current boyfriend says he doesn't care. And when I don't shave for months and months, he still says nothing. When we don't have sex for months and months, he says nothing. When we do have sex but I haven't shaved, he says nothing.

Maybe I've just found the perfect mate. Who knows.

MORAL OF THE STORY:

You shouldn't change you based on social standards or the expectations of a romantic (or otherwise) expectation.

You are you.

You are you because of who you are, who you want to be, who you are meant to be.

You are not you because of who someone else wants you to be.

No one else has the authority to shape you into something you aren't.

I say this because of my abusive ex-fiance who thought he had the right to dictate how I behaved, how I dressed, how I groomed. He dictated whether it was okay or not for me to have sex. I gave him my virginity because he said it was okay. I believed that my virginity was important because of what he and others said.

But it shouldn't matter. You are you not because of who you've had sex with or what you've done with your body of how you dress or how you groom yourself.

"You are what you love, not who loves you." -- Fall Out Boy.

I have no idea what FOB meant when they sang that, but it always makes me think of my ex-fiance, of my rapist, of the countless people who have abused me in various forms.

I am who I want to be, not what others try to make me to be.

You are not reliant on other's definitions of the female, of the woman. Of the wife, the fiance, the 
girlfriend.

You can fucking be whatever and whoever you want to be;

You are beautiful.

Amazing.

Awesome.

Inspiring.

Who you want to be.

What you want to be.

I love you.

I hope you love yourself.

I am ecstatic in those moments when I love myself. They are very rare moments (usually only when I'm drunk, like now), but they are truly beautiful. I look back on these moments and am amazed, but also inspired. When I am super depressed, I look back on these moments, I read my past words, and I reflect on the honesty that I once had. It is incredibly hard to believe that things will be better, that things have been better. But it's true, despite my drunkeness or lack thereof.

Things have been better, they are better, they will be better.

They have not been easy, they are not easy, they will not be easy.

But they are. They have they have the potential to be.

I have totally lost track of what I'm trying to say, but I hope you get the idea.

Pubic hair is natural. You can get rid of it or keep it, and it doesn't matter. Whatever makes you comfortable.

I really hope I one day beat this game.

I really hope I actually do my homework and get my Masters in American Dance Studies.

I really hope I, and you, don't give up.

I sadistically hope my ex-fiance learns his lesson and realizes he's a total dick and asshole.

I recommend any and everyone read Skip Beat! By Yoshiki Nakamura. It's always been one of my favorite mangas (and anime), but is surprisingly relevant in regards to this post. The anime is only one season, but the manga is pretty long. You can still find it online pretty easily (I finally gave in and have been reading it online everyday and have almost caught up).

Well. I'm gonna turn on the hotspot and post this because if I look back at this tomorrow I'll chicken out and won't post it because pubic hair is a stupid topic and rather embarrassing and something I've been self-conscious about for as long as I can remember.

The woes of having pale skin and dark hair.

Yeah, I know, my life is so hard. (That was sarcasm).

I love you all, and I hope you love yourselves just as much. Because you should. You are valid, you are beautiful.

--Dexter

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Bad Asexual Representation (i.e. me)

Currently I've been mulling over the concept of asexual burlesque. Neo-burlesque is a newfound love of mine, and at the moment my graduate thesis will be on asexual burlesque. The two terms aren't as conflicting as they might seem at first, but nevertheless I've been having a hard time just thinking about what I've perhaps hastily committed to doing.

There are actual asexual burlesque performers out there, which is comforting and awesome. I want to get that out of the way first.

The reason why I love burlesque is that it's a celebration of self: of your body, your sexuality, your everything. That's why there's no reason asexual burlesque shouldn't be a thing. In fact, burlesque is the perfect medium to celebrate asexuality. Except that burlesque is seen as a sexualized event. I can't even break away from the inherent sexuality that I see in burlesque. And there's no reason why an asexual can't be sexy. Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction, not the lack of asexuality or the lack of being sexually attractive.

But why on earth would an asexual want to be sexually attractive? What on earth do I want to get out of that scenario? Cause it's certainly not sex. But something in me wants to be sexually appealing, sexually attractive, sexually...normal?

It's hard for me to wrap my head around it all because I've always felt like a bad representative for asexuality. All of the stereotypes fit me.

I was sexually abused, sexually assaulted. I'm clinically depressed. I'm a plant.

I'm all the things asexuals are constantly trying to prove they're not.

Which does not make my asexuality invalid.

I wrote that whole post about the difference between fear of sex and disinterest in sex, so I know the difference. I know I'm valid.

But I don't feel valid. And my love of burlesque seems to just make everything even worse.

And instead of quietly sorting all of this out in my own head, on my own time, on my own blog, I instead decided to publicly commit to researching it in grad school. Telling all my professors about it. Finding out they're super excited and have been talking to other professors about it. Finding an overwhelming amount of support for the project even from people who don't really know what asexuality is.

What I don't like about support is that now I can't just drop it. Which is good. I shouldn't drop it.

But I don't exactly know what to do with it either.

I feel the need to be blatantly obvious with my professors, my peers, myself. My experiences and biases towards sex make me distrust all of my own inclinations and feelings rather than seeming to help me find answers and information. I still have bad days and bad nightmares and wake up never wanting to think about sex or my own body ever again.

One of my professors mentioned the need to add in time for self-care when planning research, especially when the topic is emotionally close. I don't think she was talking about me, but it definitely applies. 

The reason why I never tackled sexual assault in my undergrad work was because I was afraid I would just spiral into self-destruction. I managed to get through it all independently after I graduated, but I still wonder what would've happened if I'd been forced to talk about the process and the subject while doing it.

I can write graphic truths but I certainly can't talk about them verbally.

As usual, I've kind of been writing through lots of rabbit holes and dancing around topics, but if you've read a single blog post on here then you know that's nothing new. My head is always so jumbled with this stuff that I find it hard to actually lay it all out and look at it. Writing helps in that way.

I haven't found any real answers through writing this, but my brain feels a little less cluttered. That's all I can ask for, I guess.

Anyway, grad school is going about as expected. I still miss classes, fumble through assignments, panic and avoid responsibility. Still get way too drunk on bad days. Still am unable to figure out how the disability services works. But hey, I haven't hurt myself in a really long time. That's something, isn't it?

I'll take what I can get.

--Dexter

PS. Although I did actually book my own flight for a conference today. So somehow I'm still stumbling through life convincing people I know what I'm doing.

Monday, November 20, 2017

I Have Become an Angry Feminist: Now Let's Talk

I used to stay out of things. I used to keep my opinions to myself. I used to believe everything I was told if it came from any sort of authority. If I read something contrary to those beliefs, I'd refute it. I accepted the beliefs of the adults around me. I studied under their guidance, questioned their facts but never the foundations.

But now I'm an adult. Ignore the fact that I still have a ton of stuffed animals and that I watch My Little Pony and color with crayons and read kids' books.

I'm an adult. I'm a woman. I'm an asexual. I'm biromantic. I'm a feminist. I'm a student. I'm trailer park trash. I'm white. I'm a victim of sexual assault and rape. I'm a survivor of sexual assault and rape. I'm a survivor of suicide. I'm mentally ill. I'm chronically and majorly depressed. I'm socially anxious. I'm a recovering cutter. I'm a student. I'm a researcher. I'm a dancer. I'm a choreographer. I'm a musician. I'm a crazy cat lady. I'm poor. I'm a human.

I have struggled with so many things, and for the most part struggled alone. I spit out things on this blog but rarely talk about to anyone, and when I do it's probably because I'm drunk (sorry if you've been on the other side of those conversations...).

But I will not be silent. For the sake of myself and others, I will not let issues be swept under the rug. My voice, and the voices of others, will not be silenced.

So yes, at this point, I am an angry feminist.

I am angry and upset and scared and sad.

There are so many things I want to talk about. I want to answer all of the questions and comments that have been directed at me personally as well as others.

These things need to be talked about, and not in a one-way conversation.

Let's all just sit down with some coffee or a nice cup of tea and chat about these things that are incredibly important.

Except I might have a panic attack, so my cats will have to be there too to comfort me.

--Dexter

P.S. In the spirit of conversation, ask me anything and I will do my best.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

nothing new here

It's been almost a week since I finished my film and shared it with the world. Since I conquered those fears. Or at least, faced them. Sort of. Sometimes facing doesn't equal conquering.

Fuck that. There's no such thing. Because I'm back, shaking and crying and being in general the unhealthy, dysfunctional, disabled adult I'm known for being.

I love my film, even though I get embarrassed and cringe thinking about people watching it and worry about their reactions or if they think the camera's too shaky or the editing too choppy or they don't understand something I did purposefully, which means I didn't do it purposefully enough. I do love it and I loved making it and without a doubt it helped me.

But I'm so far from functional and I hate it. Right now the idea of sex makes me want to puke. When my body enjoys it I feel betrayed and distrustful not only of whoever I'm with but of myself as well. It's not like I'm a slut or anything. At least, I don't think so.

That doesn't stop me from feeling so fucking dirty. I sit here and think of just that one guy and I feel disgusting and broken, and then I think of my first boyfriend and feel worse, and then I think of my second and feel worse, and then I think of when I was just a little girl and I feel so fucking dirty and broken and twisted.

I don't have coherent thoughts right now. I don't have anything. I have nothing but myself and really that's all I ever have and oh how I hate myself. I hate this body for its physical and mental and spiritual weaknesses. I hate it for not wanting sex and I hate it for wanting it and I hate it for being so ugly and yet for still having those stupid traits that make people want to touch me in the dark and then wipe their hands clean of it.

That's victim mentality, that's survivor guilt. It has to all be my fault, doesn't it? I can't find another reason. Wouldn't that make more sense than there being a seemingly endless supply of people who just want to put their hands on me and maybe don't mind my brain so much, but it's not worth much on its own?

I must be the problem. I must be doing something wrong to attract these people, to let them do what they want, to fool myself into thinking they're something or not or that I'm not something I am. I'm just stupid enough to convince myself it won't happen again, that I'll be stronger, better, more mature, more assertive. That I'll know what I want and I'll say it. That I'll actually do something, anything.

I haven't even technically started grad school and already I just know I'm not going to make it. Sometimes I feel at home here, simply because it's a beautiful community of people who love dance and love art, but I don't feel like belong. They're all passionate and willing to speak. I'm passionate and willing to do nothing but sit and work in silence and solitude. I'm either weird or creepy or stupid or "not right in the head," which is technically true.

There's this conference going on right now for graduate students that essentially is preparing us for being teaching assistants or teachers or whatever other responsibilities that will be thrown our way during grad school (and beyond). Today there was an extremely long segment about discrimination and sexual misconduct.

While without a doubt that thing is needed (which in itself is just sad and awful), I also had a very hard time staying in my seat. At that  point I was doing my best to lose myself in a book, blatantly reading during a lecture. Trying not to shake too much or to bite the skin of my thumb or to pinch the inside of my arm too hard.

Why am I trying to get an MA and be a professor and be a real person?

It's obvious I'm unreliable and weak and dependent. I can't take care of myself and stress gets the better of me far too easily. When I'm stressed, I get even weaker and more prone to panic over things that under normal conditions I might be able to handle.

But I'm just so fucking broken and gross now. There is no part of me that has not been touched by someone else. There's nothing I have left to give. How are you supposed to tell someone that they're getting used goods? A damaged product? Someone who is graysexual, which for me means means sometimes I like sex but also sometimes I might freak out and suddenly burst into tears, so just please don't take it personally? Who sometimes has a hard time distinguishing between actual desire and the compulsion to please? Between passion and obligation?

I have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about anymore. Long story short:

I hate myself. Looks like that will never change.

--Dexter