“I am a question to the world, Not an answer to be heard,
Or a moment that’s held in your arms.”
You smile like Mona Lisa, is what my boss at the time (now close friend) said after the first few weeks that I had worked with her. She wondered what was going on in my head but I couldn’t say. She had opened a small window which cast a single ray of light but I was too far away to be able to touch it. I was so afraid of rejection that I couldn’t show myself and throughout my life, I have often wondered how I fit in or where I belong.
As members of the kink community, many of you will be able to relate. Our practices are still widely regarded as taboo or something to be ashamed of. When I realised I desired to be tied up I wanted to burn the thought from my mind. I reverberated the thought that no one could ever know. Those kinds of people couldn’t be a functioning part of society. Those kinds of people weren’t allowed to exist and I could not be one of them.
The above sentiment echoed surrounding my sexuality. On a daily soap, a girl was falling in love with another girl but they snuck around, keeping it a secret. They kissed and when I saw it I repeatedly said that this was normal; of course, it was normal as long as it wasn’t me. For, if I were to hold the hand of another girl in public people would stare at me and I would no longer be normal.
When I went about my daily life, especially when I was a child, people noticed that I’m a little more tanned than the average person in Western Europe. As a result, the question about my origin always came up at the start of the conversation. The question never came from a bad place; people were simply curious and interested in my history but it made me feel different. I’m white-passing but there’s a small trace from the Indonesian genes stemming from my grandmother. I wondered why people had to cling onto this part of me when I felt Dutch and nothing else.
The aversion to my differences came from my upbringing, as I learned that my feelings and thoughts didn’t matter. My parents didn’t listen to me or my concerns and therefore, I stopped wanting to share. Feeling invalidated, I thought I didn’t matter. It was better for me to remain quiet and to stay out of the way. Since I grew up with this, I navigated the rest of the world with the same caution, avoiding to be seen at all costs and therefore having Indonesian roots, being gay and showing a desire for BDSM was at best inconvenient.
“And how can you learn what’s never shown?
Yeah, you stand here on your own. They don’t know me ’cause I’m not here.”
I first heard this song (Still here by The Goo Goo Dolls) in a fan video someone had made about Toph from Avatar is the Last Airbender. For everyone who missed out on this great show, Toph is a blind girl who is seen as helpless by her parents and who needs to be protected at all costs. In reality, Toph can find her way around through earth bending but her parents don’t accept this. She receives ‘support’ from them but is not supported, so all her life she’s had to fend for herself. As a result, she stops sharing and follows her own path, feeling no connection to anyone else. No one knows her because she’s no longer allowing anyone to see her.
No one was allowed to see me anymore either. I let go of everything that I was because none of it seemed good; I stopped smiling and I stopped feeling. I had become an empty shell and learned the right cues of normal interaction so I could flawlessly work my way through the system.
My parents would tell me that I was such a happy child. My grades were fine, I appeared to have friends and the moods were put down to puberty. They said that everything would be fine but that they didn’t have time to talk right now. When we went for dinners with the family, they told me I should talk more, look happier. They started saying I was ruining the supposedly fun occasions. You used to be such a happy child, they’d say, we don’t know what to do to make you happy.
“And I want a moment to be real. Wanna touch things I don’t feel,
Wanna hold on and feel I belong.”
When I was about to move to the UK Dad said I should mention I’m Dutch because it made me unique at a British university; people would be interested, he’d say. I thought I should make an effort to get rid of my accent. At university, my friends would ask me how to say certain words in Dutch and I’d shrug and say I wasn’t interested. I was quick to point out that I didn’t care about being Dutch; I was simply there to live my life, specifically not in the Netherlands. When I returned for holidays on some occasions I started appreciating where I came from. I decided that I am simply a person, European perhaps or just a citizen of the world.
Around when I was 18, I was at a German summer festival with my then best friend, together with her boyfriend and her parents. When I had come out, she and another friend and I had made a fan video with kissing girls and slowly I had started to embrace myself more. At this festival, as we were walking in this open space she took my hand and held it. I felt alive, anxious and happy, thinking how this was okay because she and I were just friends so no one could say anything. At the same time, no one knew we were just friends so I felt like I was proudly acknowledging my sexuality. My first gay pride which we attended together in South Korea gave me a similar feeling of belonging.
Still, I couldn’t sleep at night while having to live my ordinary life. I didn’t understand why nothing felt real and why I couldn’t feel. To escape, I’d close my eyes and imagine this underground type of cave in which my friends and I had been taken captive and were left behind bars in the dark. I could vaguely hear mumbled voices and footsteps move around until someone would get me to be interrogated first. The anticipation, fear and humiliation made me feel things I couldn’t quite explain but it felt right. I’d blink and look at the walls of my room once more; no one could know about this; there was nowhere I belonged.
“And you see the things they never see. All you wanted, I could be,
Now you know me and I’m not afraid.”
Back in 2014, I wrote this text titled ‘To Darkness,’ in rather poorly written English. In it, I’m trying to convey that I’m struggling to accept myself. Feeling a desire towards BDSM is bad, it is dark, but I have started questioning if it’s truly bad. Are we wrong for following our desires, I ask. Is there harm when no harm is done and am I dysfunctional for being who I am?
I say that the answer is no and that there is nothing wrong with my desires, but it feels like society is watching me from behind, quietly judging me. As a result, I pull away, then return when I have to fulfil this need, pull away again, return, over and over and over.
Then she stepped into the frame that was completely black; to scare me, I supposed. And maybe I was scared, I admit, but society would not be able to see without any light. In the dark, the only way we could find each other was by feeling the other and for that, I had to know her and she had to know me. If she could accept me then maybe so could I without needing the approval of society.
“And I wanna tell you who I am, Can you help me be a man?”
Before I met Lois, I had successfully managed to suppress all that I wrote about in ‘To Darkness’. The ‘she’ I mention there is Lisa, a Domme who meant a lot to me but life on her end abruptly cut things off. After opening up like that without anything to hold onto, I couldn’t function anymore. I had to bury myself in order to survive and all my previous desires and fantasies no longer existed.
Conversation with Lois was sporadic and if I’m honest, I was very sceptical of her, thinking she wasn’t reading me well at all. Months down the line this changed and it felt like she could acknowledge a part of me I had lost. I started wanting to open myself up to her, thinking she might be able to see me, and help me, be me.
The rest of that story is still being written on this blog under the slogan ‘my journey of becoming a slave’. I now identify as a slave within the BDSM community and feel happy with who I am and where my journey might take me next. A testament to that is all the words and pictures I share with you here.
“I’m the one now Cause I’m still here,
I’m still here.”
And I’m not going anywhere.
The lyrics throughout this post are from the song Still here by The Goo Goo Dolls.
This was so lovely and heartfelt ML. The Goo have a special place in my heart. “Long Way Down” comes to mind as well when I read this. Completely different circumstances but I can relate to never feeling like you fit in. I moved every 2-3 years from childhood until 2010. Never feeling settled or that it was safe to show anyone who I was because I would be moving by the time I was comfortable. Btw- you are simply radiant in your photo. ❤️
Loved this! It made me think of the Goo Goo dolls song “Iris” where he says “I dont want the world to see me, cause I don’t think that they’d understand.” I think we’ve all been there!
And Mona Lisa’s smile was great because its sly, holds a bit of mystery but shows her beauty nonetheless 🙂
Omg yes!! That’s the other song I was considering actually. I used to relate so much to that song, but I think for overall progression this one worked better haha
And I agree 😉
Thank you <3
Beautiful post ML – I know the Goo Goo Dolls and they hold a place in my heart too – I can also relate to some of the lyrics from the song you chose by them. And one thing you should never do is let society or the party line dictate how you behave, what you think or what you do. I am so glad you feel happier now and are looking forward to your journey ahead. I think it will be an interesting, educational and enlightening for you – because you open yourself up to looking for your truth – something we should all do
ML , you share your journey so well and so honestly. And I appreciate that you’ve found your heart and your voice and share them here. I feel touched by you as I read and immerse myself in your bloggings, reflections, learnings, challenges, and beautiful photographs. You share such a tender beauty and wisdom, your tenderness is also strong. I’m happy to hear how the sun is shining more happily in your heart now. May you stand more solidly on the truth of you and continue to radiate more and more of the you that you discover . xoxo
Aah, this is such a sweet, kind comment that I don’t even know what to say. I feel so touched by your words and I guess all I can say is thank you, thank you ❤️
I resonate with so much with what you have said, plus have a personal love of that song anyway. I can honestly say its amazing and harrowing and a pleasure all at the same time to read this. There is such a genuine nature to how you share things that it touches everyone. Thank you.
You are a very open person. I don’t think I realized you were Dutch before this post, but I can easily believe it. I found it strange that others questioned your origin. You say you e been to South Korea? You are so young to have travelled that far away. My daughter lives and works there. But it isn’t a casual holiday location for you or for us.
I like the person you show us regularly. I think you have a warm spirit and a caring nature. There’s no doubt in my mind that you also have courage and determination. Anyone who can do the wasabi thing, the staples, or the needles has to have both qualities. You demonstrate loyalty to your friends and your honesty is refreshing. Your self introspection has helped you grow and will continue to do so. I am so hopeful that your “thing” with Roxy turns into a great relationship when this situation starts to ease up. I’m rambling here, but the short story is: I liked your post.
I never mentioned that I am Dutch before, so I don’t know how you could have known!
Yes. It was only because my friend studied there and I couldn’t go without seeing her for an entire year lol. I was terrified of traveling there on my own, as I hadn’t really used airports before. But once I was there she kind of took care of everything else. She’s 6 years older than me I think. How come your daughter is over there?
Thank you Michael, it’s really nice to read that. Like I’m sure many others, I do worry sometimes about how I come across! It warms me and brings a smile to my face reading this and I appreciate the rambling haha!
My daughter works over there. Because of Covid19, she won’t be able to come home for her holidays this summer.
Oh, and me too in regards to Roxy. We already have some needle play and caning ideas lined up!
I am glad that you are happy with who you are. It shows. I enjoy being taken along on your journey, ML. I thought the exact same thing when I first saw your smile.
Thank you Elliot
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful post. Strong, powerful. You are the one, because you are still here, a strong young woman who went through a struggle to be just who you are. I will continue to follow your journey, ML. Your honesty, beauty and wisdom always shines through in your words. Thank you for that.
Aaah thank you Marie ♥️ Your words mean so much to me every time, thank you!
I’m glad that you are finding yourself and are embracing your identity. I still keep myself hiding away in the shadows because I would likely get disowned if this side of me was made known. I’ve enjoyed reading about your journey thus far and look forward to reading more.
I can imagine why you would have to, in that case and it’s a shame that it’s like that. Thank you, I appreciate it!
Beautiful post – I feel you. I’ve been having a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to my writing and this was something i needed today. Cause i don’t want to go anywhere, either.
Thank you so much, that brightens my day. I’m sorry you’re currently in an identity crisis. It’s something I keep on experiencing on and off since this pandemic. I’m glad this post gave you something you needed today and that you don’t want to go anywhere either. We’ll both stay right here!