Taking Control

26 Jan

I was an awkward teenager.

I didn’t weigh 100 pounds soaking wet.  For a couple years, my naturally blonde hair was dyed black.  I scoured consignment shops for used Catholic schoolgirl uniforms, which I wore with ripped fishnets, combat boots, and gobs of black eyeliner.  I looked like hell.

I didn’t receive my first kiss until I was 19.  It was from my first boyfriend, an endearingly gawky boy with an adorable gap-toothed smile and a refreshingly simple outlook on life.  He had, like me, taken the “virginity pledge,” so he was only interested in going to the beach and drinking milkshakes and making out in his truck.

Once, I felt his erection on my leg while we were kissing.  My body stiffened, and he apologized immediately.  I never felt it again afterwards.

During the first few years of my 20s, I started to grow into my looks.  I put on a little bit of much-needed weight; I replaced the black hair dye with honey blonde highlights; I swapped out the schoolgirl uniforms for tight mini-dresses and the combat boots for heels.  Transitioning from a graceless youth to an attractive woman was a process I went about completely methodically.  There was no luck involved; I decided that I wanted to be beautiful, and I applied myself steadfastly to making it happen.

By the time the opportunity to dance presented itself (I’ll get to that eventually, but for now I’ll say that it was a case of being in the right – or wrong, I’m still not sure – place at the appropriate time), I was 22 and felt secure about the way I looked.  Once, I caught sight of myself in a mirror at a bar and marveled at how I had pulled off such a complicated sleight of hand.  I gawked at the image of the petite, blonde girl – grasping a Heineken in one hand and the shoulder of some blandly attractive boy with the other – and it was like an out-of-body experience.  I had successfully manipulated reality.

I knew, vaguely, that I had reached a point of culmination.  I had taken control of my appearance but had yet to take control of my sexuality.  I knew that this was a crucial next step in my transition into adulthood, but having been raised in an environment where sex essentially didn’t exist, I had no idea to go about it.  I had the distinct thought as I navigated an unfamiliar part of the city on my way to work that first night that maybe dancing was an important – albeit unorthodox – first step toward becoming a sexually liberated adult.

As it turns out, it was much more complicated than that.

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One Response to “Taking Control”

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  1. White Goddess « I'm Not Really a Waitress - January 27, 2010

    […] I'm Not Really a Waitress Decidedly NOT just another WordPress.com weblog « Taking Control […]

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