When I was young, I experimented with touching myself. It might have led into healthy, normal masturbation, but my mom found out about it. When she came in at night to tuck me into bed and kiss me good night, she would smell my hands to see if I’d been touching myself. If I had been, then she sent me to the bathroom to wash my hands. It gave me the message that I was dirty.
In middle school, when my body began to change, she would take me into the bathroom and pop the pimples on my face. It probably gave me the message that I was ugly.
[Note: These incidents also probably gave me the message that my body is not mine. Boundaries and physical space were violated.]
In school, some people acted disgusted at me, and it hurt my feelings. It was as if I was dirty and ugly that message was reinforced a few times. I grew up believing it was true. I did not believe others, later, when they’d tell me that I was pretty, because of the earlier messages I’d received.
I think it’s mostly important for me to be “pretty” on the inside—personality-speaking.
I was a teenager, buying a shirt with my dad. I tried it on in the dressing room, then came out to show my dad. I was proud—it was kind of a sexy shirt. A little see-through.
My white bra’s outline was visible. The bra and the shirt didn’t have much substance, so my hard nipples were visible, poking through the shirt. I remember my dad having a half-concerned look, as he stared at my chest. It felt like his eyes spent an eternity looking at my chest. I felt uncomfortable and I thought he was disgusted at my body. I tried to ignore the feelings. I smiled and laughed more, to cover up the awkwardness. I still remember that moment to this day. I hated him for staring at me.