3 Big Lies Kinky Bottoms Tell Ourselves

Photo of Evie Vane by The Silence, at Kink.com’s Upper Floor

Steven was stupid. Bad. A problem kid. The teacher knew it, so everyone in class knew it too. Steven had trouble sitting still, passing tests, and playing well with others. His bad reputation fed itself; one time the teacher even punished him for doing the exact thing I had just gotten away with scot-free. The term “special needs” wasn’t even a glimmer on the radar of the Bronx public school system in the 1970s, and Steven was a casualty of all of our ignorance at just six years old. When everyone tells you you’re something negative, how can you possibly see yourself positively? I still think of him and wonder how he turned out. My guess is not well.

In kindergarten today, at least in San Francisco, a kid like Steven would likely be described as having special needs or a different learning style or being differently abled, and would get accommodations, extra help, and positive reinforcement, not ridicule and punishment. Same behavior, differently worded description. A world of difference.

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As a bottom, I find myself the target of negative wording fairly often. From bullies? Nope. From tops? Nope. Save a few trollish haters, my harshest critic is…yup, you guessed it: myself. Who needs a bully when you can beat yourself up?

Maybe you know the feeling.

These negative things some of us bottoms tell ourselves are often lies, born of low self-esteem or emotional masochism or ignorance or whatever our own personal issues are. And just like with Steven, they feed themselves and can become self-fulfilling descriptors. So lately I’ve been challenging myself to reframe them into positives. If any apply to you, feel free to join me.

Lie #1: “No one wants me/I’m unlovable.”

For me, this comes from not having a significant other or even dating or playing that much for what feels like a very long time. But it’s obviously a lie, as extreme absolute statements about ourselves usually are. In a world of 7.6 billion people, what are the odds that not even a single person would want me, or you, or anyone else for that matter? Let’s say…um, zero. Moreover, I’ve been lucky enough to have dated and played with many people in the past, so that lying bitch in my head really needs to shut the fuck up.

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Positive reframing: “I’m selective.”

When you’re indiscriminate about partners, it’s easy to have lots of bottoming scenes. All the play! When I was much more indiscriminate and got tons of play, I also did stupid shit, got involved with more than one asshole, and got hurt physically and emotionally. *Thank goodness* things have changed! Hurrah for being selective and going for quality over quantity!

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Lie #2: “I did a bad job.”

The more you put yourself out there, the more opportunities people have to criticize you. Most people see and appreciate that my main goal in my kinky “career” is to be helpful. Others pan my books, call me a manipulative PR whore, and tell me I’m going to hell…and of course, one critical zinger is stronger than a hundred loves, right? It’s human nature. Not to mention that pretty much every time I bottom, I think I could have done something better. Whether it’s work or relationships or bottoming, do you ever tell yourself this?

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Positive reframing: “I’m doing my best—and my best is pretty good.”

If our heart is in the right place and our intentions are good, then there’s nothing “bad” about what we do. There’s always room for improvement, sure—there’s also room for letting go of perfectionism and for caring less about what haters think. Perfectionism is the enemy of excellence. And if we never put ourselves out there because we’re afraid of criticism, we’re going to miss out on some truly wonderful experiences—in bottoming and in life.

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Lie #3: “I’m not enough.”

Beautiful enough, entertaining enough, strong enough, financially secure enough…take your pick. This whopper knows no bounds. It lurks around my bottoming, my writing, my parenting, my relationships, my everyday interactions. Whoever spends 20 minutes doing their makeup before going to the gym or buys an expensive car because it’s a “chick magnet” will understand.

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Positive reframing: “I’m enough.”

I read somewhere that we’re not what we look like, what we have, or even what we do, that our true selves lie beyond all those things. How amazing and comforting! Even if you don’t believe that, just look at rock stars and celebrities who OD—even megasuccess clearly doesn’t make people happy. My apartment is small but lovely. My daughter is precious. We have food on the table, friends to laugh with, and love in our hearts. It’s enough. I’m enough. Anyone who tries to make me or you feel otherwise doesn’t deserve a place in our lives—including the critics who live in our heads.

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One other common term worth reframing:

“should have” ———> “could have”

As in, “I could have researched that partner more carefully, negotiated more, and communicated better, and maybe next time I will.” So much less judgy than “should have,” yes? We’re human. We don’t know what we don’t know. We’re learning as we go. Maybe in the future we’ll do things differently based on what we’ve learned. Maybe it’ll take more learning before we change what we do. And that’s all okay.

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“For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.” —T.S. Eliot

So those are my big ones. What kinds of negative things do you tell yourself? Do you have any positive rewordings? Please share in the comments.

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Evie Vane is the author of the kinky novel The Making of Miss M and the nonfiction books Better Bondage for Every Body and The Little Guide to Getting Tied Up. Get in touch at EvieVaneBooks.com.

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