Why I Strip… II
I’ve been fascinated with women and sexuality for as long as I can remember. My strongest memory I have of that as I look back on it now, was very defining. It really pin pointed who I was to become as a feminine and sexual being.
Before I go into the memory, there should be some history. I was adopted at two months of age into a very conservative family. From the moment I began to have a sense of self I sorta knew I was very different than my family. I was one of, eventually, five siblings, all adopted from different families, from different places, from different racial backgrounds, at different times. While I felt that the rest of the family had a cohesiveness, I was always on the outside desperately trying to fit in. Everything about me seemed wrong to my family.
I was, at the start, a very sensual person, which freaked the crap out of my Mother. I do not mean I was a sexual child, I was sensual. I had to experience everything with my whole being. For example, I would look at a leaf wondering at every nuance, rub it against my skin, taking in textures, taste it gently on my tongue, pull in the fragrance with my breath, listen to the tree wiggling in the breeze as I would lean against the bark, then I would talk about everything I had taken in to whoever or whatever was there. I had no problem discussing my revelations with a person, the clouds, or a shiny passing bug.
Now the weird thing about this was, that to me, this was just a normal thing, the state of wonderment of life. Being part of a beautiful huge energy that I felt flowed around me and through me. To my Mother, for some reason, it translated as sexual. She felt that at age two, I was trying to seduce people. She threw this into my face in a shaming and condemning way constantly and I had no idea what she meant. I simply felt there was something wrong or bad about this side of me. But I could not help it. I simply had to fully appreciate things. If I felt something, I expressed it.
I developed a high artistic aesthetic sense, specially concerning feminine figures. I was drawn to pictures and photos of beautiful women. I watched them move gracefully through life. I studied their clothing, jewelry, makeup. I wanted to be beautiful, glamorous, and though I couldn’t have articulated it exactly then, …….desired.
That is why this memory has always been on the forefront of my consciousness when I think of my personal journey to becoming a woman.
I was around four when the family took a trip to New York City. One of the things we did was go to Broadway and watch a musical. As we poured out of the theatre into the tantalizing night of sparkling city streets, I saw the most gorgeous creature I had ever seen. She had a very tight, sexy, yet tasteful dress on. There was a fur shrug casually thrown across delicate shoulders. Incredible baubles decorated her ears, neck, arms, and fingers. Her hair looked like she’d stepped off of a movie set, and her makeup was flawless. I stopped in front of her and just stared. My Mother, herding her group of duckings, quickly noticed one was missing. Panicked she turned to see me in conversation with this etherial stranger. I remember the tight look she gave the woman before she coldly and politely extracted me. I could not understand why my Mother so obviously did not like this very nice pretty lady. I started talking about how wonderful she was and my Mother stopped dead and with intensity told me she was a bad woman. I asked why and she told me she was a Prostitute. Of course that went right over my head. So she carefully said, “She is a woman who men spend money to be with.” Oooooooops! If giving me the label Prostitute had meant nothing to a four year old, this explanation didn’t clear it up but only hit all my buttons. I remember breathing in with a gasp and blurting out, “Ohhhhhhhh, I want to grow up to be her!!! Men would want me all the time!”
Can you just imagine my Mother taking that in?!? Trust me, that simple exchange colored my life with her from that moment on. She became my sexual watchdog. Guarding and shaming everything she deemed had any stain of sexuality at all. Despite her best efforts, my spirit secretly rebelled. I had two lives, the one I lived for my parents, and the one I ran for myself. I locked myself into my bedroom constantly, hardly spending any time with my family at all. I began to watch myself carefully in the mirror. I worked to emulate the grace of women I admired. I studied movie starlets, models, and beautiful women all around me. I practiced walking, sitting, standing, gesturing. Though my Mother forbid makeup, I began buying it secretly and practicing tirelessly the techniques I would glean from the makeup counter girls. I also started amassing a lingerie collection I hid away that I would dress up in and pose for myself in front of a mirror. A lot of my practice to becoming a woman I did privately. All signs had to be erased before I stepped outside my bedroom sanctuary.
As I write this, it seems that I was really stuck on myself. I really wasn’t. I had actually no self esteem or ownership of this mysterious person I was feeling inside me. I was also conflicted because it was so ingrained in me to be ashamed and guilty about this part of me. “She” was dangerous and had to be controlled and hidden. The only place it was safe to be “Her” was in my bedroom, by myself. In everyday life I was a tom boy. I was always in sweats and huge t-shirts. My hair in a pony tail, tucked into a cap. I hung with boys, but they thought of me as one as well.
I wasn’t until I ran away to college that I began to let Her out. I felt safer to explore this inner personality. Sadly, because of the years of stamping it down and the tapes of my Mother and society condemning me, I let Her out, I wore Her, but I couldn’t own Her, live in Her. I still thought of Her as trouble. I really didn’t believe I was beautiful at all. She did get me noticed in ways I had never imagined. I was approached three times by Playboy to model, and on the third time, I accepted the offer to go for Centerfold. I did the shoot. It was incredible. A dream. For a moment in time I believed. I felt the power. It felt like I had been chosen to be the most sexy woman in the world. But something about that scared me to my core. I could not really feel it was me, that it was real, that it was deserved. Deep down, I really felt like an impostor. I felt ugly and dirty.
I began to panic. I called my Father and told him I was going to be a Centerfold. He had such a positive reaction it pulled me into a different reality. I had been repeatedly sexually abused as a young child into my budding adulthood. My Father’s reaction to his daughter being sexually open scared me. It felt so inappropriate. Then I thought of my siblings and their reactions. How their lives would be changed by my decision. Their friend’s reactions. My friend’s reactions. I thought of my parents and their standing in their community and what that would mean to them. I thought of my own future. How I would be forever perceived. All of a sudden, more than anything, I didn’t want to be a Centerfold. And then the impossible happened……….. Playboy lost all my paperwork, most importantly…….my model release and contract. They called me down to headquarters to redo it all and I never went……..
I struggled with my sexuality, sensuality, and femininity for years. The more I distanced myself from my family, the easier it became to wear the persona on the outside. But it was not until I met my husband and he not only gave me permission, but called Her out of me, could I fully integrate. One of the greatest gifts he has given me is the power of fully being my true feminine self. He called Her who She is…..Urvashi, and that is who I am.
What does this have to do with Stripping? More to come…..