current plan: locking personal posts, leaving research-based ones open
Long ago, I decided I wanted to be as publicly vulnerable as possible, because I wanted to broadcast acceptance towards others.
As in; one of the first times I felt deep acceptance from someone else was when I watched them name an unflattering thing about themselves with openness and grace.
As in, one of the easiest ways of telling someone you might not accept them, is by being uncomfortable with yourself. If you can’t be with your unflattering parts, then how could you be with their unflattering parts?
As in, I don’t see much of a difference between deeply accepting yourself and deeply accepting others. You can’t really accept yourself conditionally - if you’re okay only as long as you aren’t “x”, then you’re like the Catholics trying to get into heaven by being good enough; it’s an existence punctuated by doubt of your worthiness, of constant self-assessment to try to locate the flaws you might be overlooking. You’re only one unfortunate scenario away from your ugly side coming out.
You can’t fully know yourself1, and so how can you accept that which you don’t know? What if you really are selfish, or you really are embarrassing, and you just haven’t squinted skillfully enough to see it yet? You wait to dispense acceptance until you’ve solved the mystery of your true self, but this is a game without an end.
And so in my mind, self-acceptance covers all your potential selves. Instead of going “some selves are acceptable and some aren’t, and I am trying to be the acceptable self,” you switch to “what I am is irrelevant; there is no possible self I wouldn’t accept.”
And if you do this, there’s very little boundary between self and others, because other people are just other potential selves - you could, given enough change and time and post-singularity scenarios, behave and feel exactly like them. This view is behind a lot of circling and self-help moves that frame aversion to others as actually an aversion to something inside yourself. If you accept yourself no matter what, then you accept them no matter what.
I want to be transparent and soft, heart-on-sleeve, walking around with my entire body made out of underbelly (given: I know boundaries are a very important thing that I also value, but this post isn’t about boundaries). Some of this has gone into my sex work; there’s a way I value people being able to see me orgasm or gaze straight into my butthole, and being able to look you in the eyes after without shame afterwards, because there’s nothing to be ashamed of. In general, when I notice a small flinch of fear in me around sharing a thing, I take this as a sign that sharing it might be a particularly meaningful display of love. I know I’m not ashamed of it, and so I try to fall forward into the abyss, trusting that my acceptance will save me.
I can find the scariest parts of myself, the darkest, most socially taboo, unflatteringly motivated parts, and I can lay them out raw before you and hope maybe you can see that I’m trying to tell you I love you. And maybe you’ll laugh at all of it, but I am ready for it, it was worth my attempt, I am ready for you to hurt me. If that is the cost of loving you, I’ll bear it gladly.
These sentiments (while true!) are nice and all, but I never predicted I’d become a microcelebrity.