I Feel Fat
Recently, Cosmopolitan featured an article with a few Porn Stars, me being one of them, who spoke about their diets, exercise regimens, and body images. Women and their bodies have always seemed to have a rocky relationship and it’s only getting worse. After I read the article, I began to think much deeper about my physical self and get a better understanding of my psyche when it comes to body image. At first I asked myself how I felt about my body. It’s like living with someone for so long and you forget that they’re there, until someone asks if they were home. I may have become so used to living with an image of myself that I really forgot how I felt. Then I asked myself how I came to feel that way. What mental paths did I take from my experiences to get me to this place? And lastly, I asked myself how the porn industry contributed to my current state of mind.
The first real boyfriend I had, walked to the bathroom naked one morning and I was appalled. I wasn’t appalled that he was naked; I was appalled because he was so comfortable being naked, as if we all walk around this way all the time. This was my first close experience with another person’s body and my own, and I was clearly in the beginning stages of being acquainted with those bodies. There was no specific reason I did not want to be out in the open, naked in front of him. I was too young to know what cellulite even was, and I was always thin growing up, so there was no worry that my belly would show or my ass would look fat. I felt as if I was conditioned by some uncontrollable force, beyond my awareness to feel uncomfortable.
Fortunately, this faded more with time and although I became more comfortable with nudity I did not become more comfortable with being sexy while nude. These two are VERY different ways of presenting yourself. I realized this one Valentine’s Day when my boyfriend asked me to dress sexy for him. I was only eighteen, and I don’t know how eighteen year olds are now, but it’s not like I had a drawer full of lingerie to choose from. So out I went to buy a lacy, black bra and panty set with a pair of 5-inch stripper heels. I went home and while he sat on the couch waiting, I slipped on my new slut wear and in the most unassertive stride I unsteadily clopped my way to the middle of the room where he could see me in all of my glory…or whory in this case. I was uncomfortable and awkward. Despite the pretty pink bow that was inching its way towards my butt crack, I looked ridiculous. I stood feeling a little defeated by the obligation to be sexy for my man because clearly slipping a pair of appealing panties on does NOT necessarily make you appealing. So, I just clopped over and gave him a BJ. That seemed so much easier at the time.
One’s ability to feel sexual has a lot to do with body image. I realize now this is why it took me so long to see myself as something really beautiful. After eighteen years of age, I was never quite able to gain the confidence in the image of myself that I wanted. Yes, I could point random things out that I didn’t like about my body, but overall, I just was not happy with myself physically. This insecurity was never obvious to others and I think this is often the case – You see a pretty and confident woman but inside she’s not at all comfortable with her body. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to have this all quickly change. This change came from becoming a stripper. My first time on stage, I almost puked beforehand from nerves. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to dance or get men to give me money. Despite all of that, I was thrown up, onto that lacquer floor and told to get naked. Not for a moment was I nervous to expose myself; I was nervous to be sexual while exposing my body. I told myself I had a few options: One was to run away and never return. However, I spent a lot of money on my clear hooker heels and I was sure they were non-refundable. The other was to start moving and to see what happens, and that is the one I chose. In my hot pink stockings and scrunchy, spandex bottoms I began to twirl around that pole, and in that moment something very powerful began to develop.
Stripping gave me the opportunity to express and develop myself as a sexual person. I quickly learned how powerful this could be and in that I learned to feel more comfortable with my body and appreciate what I had. What porn did for me was a little more challenging. I learned very fast in porn that you don’t always look your best. As a stripper, you have a lot of control over how you look and even on a bad day those dark lights really help to conceal any flaws. In porn, you don’t always get the best makeup artist, the best wardrobe, the best photographer, or put in the most flattering positions. I thought getting into this world I would look like a superstar ALL of the time but this is very far from reality. I quickly learned how little control I had over how I looked in my scenes and after a while I finally told myself that was going to change. If I wasn’t going to look good on set then I was going to MAKE it look good. I learned how to not rely on my eyeliner being done correctly or my top fitting just right in order to create something appealing. I learned how to accentuate body parts that I knew were beautiful and gain a better appreciation for what I naturally had. Now, going on my fifth year in porn, I am extremely comfortable with my body.
But my own body isn’t the only one I’ve learned to enjoy – In my short time in the industry I have seen and explored so many others that I have discovered a lot of beautiful things about many different body types besides my own. What many don’t realize about porn is the days of the one note Porn Star are gone. There are so many different types of men and women, and people have discovered that everything about anyone can be found to be beautiful and sexy. When you really look into it, porn is actually very well-rounded as there is something for everyone.
When I look at myself now, I see someone very beautiful. If you take this as an expression of ego then you have a misguided idea of how one should view themselves. However, I still struggle with the pressures to look a certain way just like anyone else. I complain about gaining weight or my skin breaking out just like any other person. I’ve also had plastic surgery just like many others. I have days where I feel I need to go to the gym and other times where I just want to curl up in sweats and eat cheesecake. If I never felt this way then I wouldn’t be human and I don’t want to give up my days where I just lay around watching shitty TV, wrapped in a blanket much larger than myself, eating Oreo cookies, and pouting about how I feel – It just feels good to do that sometimes. However, I don’t let my insecurities consume me and keep me from developing a greater understanding of myself and the beauty I find in others.
I’m very lucky that I have a chance to work on gaining a stronger awareness and love for my body since I’m in an industry where it is my job to look good, even with cum dripping off my chin and one of my fake lashes stuck to my nose. But this doesn’t mean I think doing porn is the best way for people to accept their love handles. The most powerful beauty is beyond your physical self and therefore it’s not easy to develop for everyone. Sometimes putting yourself in vulnerable positions helps you achieve that higher level of thinking and for everyone that vulnerability is different. We are so conditioned now-a-days to explore our capacities only physically, that we try and achieve these limited ideals and fail. However, our mental capacity is so much greater and we forget that developing that helps to enhance our physical beauty. If you only focus on your physicality you will never achieve the happiness you desire when you look at yourself. When I look back at my eighteen-year-old self standing in the middle of the room, in front of my boyfriend, awkward and shy, I see how far I have come. I see now that I was very disconnected at that time with who I was physically and mentally and no amount of exercise, dieting, or slutty clothes would have made me feel confident that day. I will NEVER love my short, stubby torso or my up-turned, piggy nose, but as I continue to develop a greater sense of self and appreciation for beauty beyond my own body, those things I see as flaws seem to move farther and farther away from my thoughts.