W × L

When one of the last guys with camera I worked with told me that in editing the photos he’d done he’d taken the liberty of softening the areas where my stretch marks were I was almost horrified, but not for the reason(s) one might think.

It surprised even me: I was almost horrified because the immediate reaction to my stretch marks on his (and likely most folks’) part was to hide them. I found that I didn’t really want that, but did not end up protesting the action.

It may have to do with the fact that I have only recently acquired these, perhaps even grown used to them by now. 

I never dreamed I could gain weight, let alone have stretch marks.

Before I moved to Seattle I was ~three sizes smaller, unhealthy in fact, and not eating very well at all. Several years prior in high school I was quite honestly malnourished, anorexic. I hid myself in the baggiest clothes imaginable.

These days I have a wee bit of a tummy. It happened gradually, as my availability and quality of food improved in my coming up northwest.

Some days I’m not sure how to feel about that. I rummage through my clothing, frustrated, late for something, exhausted. Most of my clothes are made with tinier, flatter girls in mind, so parts of me give garments rounded shapes.

I can work it, though. I do. I watch so many others around me become positively radiant in the ways they carry themselves — people I don’t know, people I do. It gives me something to look forward to. It makes me smile.

With this, some other things must change, unfortunately. 

A good number of the people I’d like to shoot with have size requirements; a woman in Portland can’t (or won’t) shoot any females over size 6, and I don’t think I’ll ever be that again. I still continue to admire her work.

I have to usually make a point of asking photographers if they have limits to save us both the hassle of having to cancel appointments later.

I have realised that around the double digit dress size is usually when cute clothes become harder to find and more expensive, and when demand wanes.

I’m past the point of being broken up about it. Luckily I’ve encountered some who are willing to take me on, and even one who insisted he wanted to work with me as I am. It’s for the chance to have more of those cases that keep me pressing on.

When things seem really awful and I discover that I’ve yet to shake the ‘skinny is the only shape that is worthwhile and appealing’ mindset, I remember precious moments of being silly with my friend Jamie. We grab our bellies, move them about, and have a good laugh.

The growth represents to me a graduation of sorts, from a lack of regard for myself to living a rich, more fulfilled life. I welcome it.

Beauty is encompassed in a number of diverse houses, and we should spend more time celebrating that instead of building a box round a few prim blocks.

out of the dark

To say ‘it’s not easy letting one person into your life’ is quite the understatement. Truly. 

For many, it’s impossible to let in more than one – a deal breaker, unspeakable, morally wrong, joked about. On the same token, I’ve read articles from seemingly militant polyamorous folks who feel that monogamy is ‘stupid’. (Dan Savage, Monogamy vs Commitment)

It’s a sensitive subject.

I’ll count myself fortunate that the friends who’ve asked about my experiences with multiple partners (and are monogamous) have done so gently and respectfully. I try to answer every question as best as I can, and return that respect.

We humans are notoriously curious, after all; as long as there’s no malice behind the curiosity, what’s the harm in supplying the knowledge?

I cannot and will not in any way claim to be an expert on the matter, though. 

Whether you’re monogamous or not, spending time with each lover is different. Each connection yields a multitude of feelings and lessons. Venturing into one relationship or more blindly is not recommended. (I can tell you that frankly, having unfortunately done so myself. Do yourself a favor – don’t learn this the hard way, please! Study up. Ask questions.)

My last break-up was a rather nasty one. That can’t be denied. Our modes of communication were not working well together and there was stress frequently, which began to affect me elsewhere. With that in mind, I took it upon myself to go slowly next time, at the pace I wanted to go, or one that was at least in sync with others in the relationship.

‘Next time’ came sooner than I expected. I met Shiny Girl briefly at a casual local women’s poly and kink friendly event chatted me up online, which turned into meetings over meals, then watching feel-good movies snuggled up in private. Conversation laced with the occasional smile and nervous tripping over words ensued; generally a good time.

To be honest, I was all ready to distance the interaction at a friendship, but her efforts gave impetus to a deeper-than-surface bond. The more I talked to her, the more I wanted to know.

Shiny Girl’s teaching me what it’s like to be selfless without being entirely aware of it, which is just wonderful. She’s also opening me up without pushing too hard, something I needed in another love interest. It has been nearly three years since my last serious girlfriend…

What’s more is that my Anchor (whom I’ve been with for about 2 years now) gets on well with her, something that didn’t have the chance to blossom with my ex. I feel a wave of relief come over me when I discuss Shiny Girl with him, and I don’t have to remind him who she is. We’ve all met, spent time together, conversed online. I hope that we can do more of it soon.

No one is in a rush to achieve any ultimate goal. We can just go forward at a leisurely gait.

It’s very early and I dare not press on this for fear of jinxing it, but I am very, very happy.

No, it’s not easy. Hardly any of the best things are, but they’re worth fighting for/working on if you think they are. It helps if you’re not the only one in a party feeling that way.