(Not exactly the kind of strength I'm striving for.)
I've been thinking a lot about the topic of strength lately and what being a strong person means to me. The people I admire the most for being strong characters aren't those who demonstrate their power or intellectual superiority over others. In my opinion, the strongest people are those who know about their strengths (and their weaknesses) and who are at peace with themselves and therefore don't feel the need to prove anything to anyone. I think one recognizes those people from their behaviour and attitude. They have clear opinions and can support them with good arguments, they like to exchange ideas and to learn new things, but at the same time they don't feel the urge to convince others that their opinion is the right one, and they can accept others as they are. I know a few people who come close to that ideal.
I aspire to become like that, too, but I'm definitely still very far away from it. That made me think about what self-confidence and inner peace or the lack thereof can mean in the context of kink. In my opinion, living out my kinky fantasies and being a part of the kinky online community have both increased my self-confidence and given me strength. But from time to time, kinky activities also remind me of my insecurities. I sometimes become aware of them when I'm thinking of kinky play, when I'm reading blogs or when I'm looking at the Scene as a peer group environment.
(That's more like it: a beautiful place to find inner peace and balance.)
I am a very competitive person, which isn't a bad trait per se. But I know that it can also sometimes drive me too far. In my opinion, there can be quite a competition between bottoms at times, to take harder spankings or to play out more edgy scenarios. Pushing one's limits from time to time and showing off a bit in front of others is of course okay, but there is always a certain risk of going too far. I know that with my brave girl kink I am in danger of falling into that trap. That's why I always think twice before taking part in any play that might push my boundaries and make sure that I don't get myself into any competitive situations when it comes to spanking play.
There are also times when I sense a certain lack of self-confidence in tops. I haven't experienced that in any real life play, but it is a feeling I sometimes get when watching spanking clips. With some tops, I have got the feeling that they try to improve their self-confidence by showing how tough, merciless and cool they are. As with bottoms, a bit of showing off is of course absolutely okay. But if I have the feeling that a top wants to make a mark as a strong guy or woman at the expense of the bottom he or she is topping, that really scares me off.
As a reader of blogs and a member of the spanking Scene, I sometimes feel my own insecurities as well. While I have developed a good self-confidence in many areas of life, two fields on which I am still quite insecure are peer groups and femininity. When it comes to women in general, and female bottoms in particular, submission and vulnerability often seem to play an important role on spanking blogs, and they seem to attract many readers. Now, I always was the geeky type and I'm definitely neither submissive nor am I looking for a man who picks me up when I'm feeling vulnerable. Of course, I expect the latter from Ludwig in our relationship, but as something mutual. And I know that Ludwig neither wants a submissive woman, nor a woman who is permanently soft and vulnerable. Still, I sometimes feel threatened by all the writing about submission and vulnerability because it makes me scared that as a woman who doesn't fulfil these requirements, I might not be attractive or feminine enough.
(Amelia-Jane Rutherford - feminine, gracious and intelligent:
an impressive combination. Picture courtesy of Restrained Elegance.)
It's the same with body sizes. While publishing pictures of myself has made me much more self-confident about my appearance than I was before, I still tend to get scared by all the photos of beautiful women which I come across when surfing spanking blogs. My own body figure doesn't quite match my personal preferences and that can make me feel a bit insecure at times. Again, I have a clear idea of how I would like to handle things, it just doesn't always work that way. As I wrote a while ago on Pandora's blog:
I’ve got a preference for small, round bottoms, slim figures and slender legs. But my own figure is different. My hips are much broader than my waist, my bottom is bigger and not really round and (like many women) I’m suffering from cellulitis on my legs. The thing is, I could starve myself to death and it wouldn’t change a thing about my waist to hip ratio or the cellulitis.
For me the key is to stay true to myself, in several ways. First, I don’t deny my own preferences and I don’t try to change them forcibly. They are there and I think that’s okay. When I’m taking pictures or making clips, I try to present myself in a position that makes my body look beautiful in my own eyes and a light that reduces the visibility of the cellulitis, because I feel sexier then. And in my opinion there is nothing wrong with that, either, especially because the pictures make me feel good about my body.
At the same time I try to take good care of my body (without obsessing about the parts I’m not so happy with) and to feel happy the way I am. And I am aware that others have very different preferences. Ludwig, for example, likes my waist to hip ratio and he doesn’t care about the cellulitis at all. For him, I am beautiful the way I am, and it is wonderful to know that.
Now I just wished that the knowledge of this would take away the self-doubt completely, so that I could watch spanking pics without comparing myself to other women and being scared if I find them more attractive. I assume that comparing oneself to others is a streak that is very inherent to human beings, though, so I doubt that I will ever get completely rid of that. But maybe I will become more relaxed about the fact that there are other women whom I find more beautiful than myself.
(A scene I would love to witness at a play event.
Picture courtesy of Spanking Central.)
Picture courtesy of Spanking Central.)
The third and last aspect which makes me think about my inner strength or lack thereof is the Scene as a peer group. I often felt unwell in peer group environments, especially among women. In the spanking scene, though, I now have met many people, among them maybe even more women than men, whom I like very much and whom I feel close to. But again sometimes my insecurity shows. It often happens when I read about big play events. Sometimes I would like to join in because I like the people involved and would like to share time and happy experiences with them.
But then, my kinky fantasies (and my limits) usually don't really fit. I'm not very fond of school play, and when I think about the three things I would like to do the most, it comes down to: watching M/M scenes, bottoming to Ludwig (I'm very picky when it comes to being topped) and topping men. These preferences simply don't really fit to the action at most of the big play events I have heard of. And that sometimes causes me to feel insecure and a bit sad because it makes me think that I don't fit well enough to be a "real" part of the peer group. Then again, there are times when not fitting to the mainstream is absolutely okay for me and when I even embrace my being different and marvel at the fact that I have found a partner who shares many of my unusual interests and preferences.
How about you? What kind of strength are you striving for? Have you come across examples of strong, well rounded people whom you admire? Have you made experiences with insecurities in kinky play? And what does blog reading do for you? Does it always provide you with joyful thought- and fantasy-fodder? Or does reading about how others live and what they do sometimes also raise self-doubts? I'm curious to read about your experiences. Please feel free to share them in the comment section!