I used to be a politician.

I ran for office once, and it was no joke: T-shirts and matchbooks with my name were handed out; volunteers campaigned and canvassed on my behalf; posters proclaiming my candidacy were strewn all over the place; my car was even the target of dents. It was college politics, and I was running for school president – not the big-time, I know, but if you know anything about Brooklyn College, you know that politics is a big deal on that campus. Not just school politics, but the bigger scheme of things: students are downright political at Brooklyn College. They are up on their game. They know what’s going down. They are on all of the listservs and attend all of the rallies. They get arrested for what they believe in, and they are passionate about their ideals.

In those heady days of college politics, I knew exactly how to handle myself. I had a sixth sense for how to act, and how to be. I always knew exactly what people thought of me and how to tweak their perceptions. I call this time the Age of the Honest Con Artist: not only did I keep a blog of the same name, but I believed wholeheartedly in my game: I was never as I seemed, but the smoke and mirrors were all implications, and not out-and-out lies.

It was a gift that served me well, and is probably the reason I decided to become a dominatrix in the first place. I got addicted to the con, and needed a safe venue in which to practice it.

It was during my dominatrix days that I started regularly going to therapy, and it was in therapy that I relinquished all of my Honest Con Artist ways. It was hard, leaving that part of me behind, but slowly, surely, I dumbed down my instincts. The problem, as far as I was concerned, was that I could read peoples’ insecurities. Once I knew exactly how to get to a person, how to use them, and how to manipulate them, I acted on it. It was second nature to me. I didn’t know how not to do it. But I knew I had to learn.

First, I shut off the part of me that noticed all of the insecurities. In doing so, I muted a lot of my observational skills and this made me somewhat oblivious to social cues. I didn’t pick up on what people were trying to say, or what they meant. Experiences seemed shallower, less vivid and less important. I felt like I was only getting half of the story. I knew I was being ignorant, but I also didn’t want to take advantage of people. I felt like I had chosen the lesser evil, and though it wasn’t perfect, it was an alternative I could live with.

Luckily, it was also at this time that I got pregnant, and I was therefore forced to turn back on all of my keen detection and deduction skills, and also be as mentally healthy and stable as possible. That’s where I’m at today. I still read people and know them like a book. I see peoples’ strengths and I am aware of their weaknesses. I know their insecurities, and how they’ll likely respond to certain emotional stimuli. But I don’t feel the need to use these powers of observation. Frankly, I don’t care enough about people to do so.

Whereas before I was downright malevolent, I am now indifferent. Whereas I used to be oblivious, I am now simply blase. I don’t mean anyone harm, and I’ll do my damnedest not to hurt anyone, but I don’t care enough to curb my instincts and impulses. At least, not with my words. I say and write whatever I want, whenever I want, however I want. I am not rude just for the sake of being rude, and I hope that on the off-chance that I am rude, people will not take it personally because really, it’s me and not them. If ever I’m accused of being rude, that’s what I chalk it up to: My bad. Didn’t mean to offend. Please accept my apologies and don’t hate me. That’s all I can really do. I don’t feel the need to fake any niceties or intentionally skew someone’s perceptions of me. But I also know that the unfiltered and unadorned version of me is at times brash and harsh.

It’s this rawness that causes me to blog about things most people would set off-limits. It’s the reason I’m open about controversial subjects, i.e., sex, politics, feminism, love, art, my relationship with Rob, motherhood, etc. It’s not that I necessarily mean to be provocative. It’s not that I want tongues wagging to my mother about things they’ve read on the internet (Hello, family!). It’s not that I’m so hard-up for attention that I want the world to watch my train wreck. It’s just that I am a 25-year old woman with things to say and experiences worth sharing. And in this world, where people hate on you for your choice of dress or your lack of make-up; your race, class, ethnicity, age, nationality, weight, height, attractiveness, civil status, dis/abilities, friends, enemies, aspirations, or experiences; your favorite color, your music preferences, your sports inclinations, or your favorite professional teams, I need a place where I can be me, without the filters and without the censors. I need a place where I can set my mind free, expose all of the parts of me, and still feel relatively safe. I need to find a community that really knows me and still accepts me.

So, yeah. On here, I am metaphorically naked and literally an open book. I welcome suggestions, criticisms, and comments. I write as prolifically as possible and I show myself to be the hypocrite that I am, and I have great company: if doing so was good enough for the great Walt Whitman, then it’s sure as hell good enough for me.I might change my mind or contradict myself, but I will never lie.

And maybe those days of politicking are behind me; or maybe this is what they morphed into, and now I use my powers of persuasion in a more subtle manner, and toward subjects that hit me where they matter. I don’t care to spend time and energy on the how or the why. The facts are always hard to get, but the truth – my truth – is here, waiting; steeping in its own juices; craving comradery; attracting attention; causing doubt, anger, joy, frustration, sadness, and disappointment; and keeping me from a career in politics.

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4 responses to “I used to be a politician.

  1. As someone who never had the gift of being able to read people and pick apart their weaknesses, I can only imagine how hard it would be to give that up. I want some Honest Con Artist days, damn it.

    But seriously, where does that come from? Is that something you think you were born with, or did you just learn it at a young age? You’re obviously a smart lady, I just wonder if you were more in touch with that as a small child, or did you learn it later in life, when it would better serve you?

    I guess I’m curious, because I can’t relate. I grew up innocently, which made me naive; and only in the past ten years have I realized what people and the world are really about.

  2. I credit my dad with that particular skill set. He’s always been very encouraging of the con – so much so that your question’s got me wondering if he intentionally bred those qualities into us. (My brother has only recently started using this skill set – he’s 20 years old – and he also credits my dad with teaching it to him.)

    I started being aware of peoples’ facets and how to play on them when I was in elementary school. I was a teacher’s pet and a competitive perfectionist, and I learned how to be what people needed me to be in order to always win the golden ring. In junior high, that skill got tweaked, so that the “golden ring” included more than academic rewards. When I hit puberty and realized the power of my sexuality, the con became even more riske and enjoyable. The more I practiced, the better I got…

    I remember, during my last session of therapy, listening to a recording of myself from the very first session and thinking, “Holy crap. I was certifiably *insane*.” I just hope I’m still interesting now that I’ve been *cured*.

  3. “I was a teacher’s pet and a competitive perfectionist, and I learned how to be what people needed me to be in order to always win the golden ring.”

    I was that, too, just with a very innocent twist. I can’t believe I grew up so sheltered.

    You are very intriguing and interesting, cured or not. Good or bad. Here or there.

    Ok, now to catch up on the rest of your posts. I’ve been slacking on my good reading.

  4. Thanks, lady! 😉

    And maybe I’m talking in a general “grass is greener” kind of way, but it must have been awesome to have grown up so sheltered. Maybe, if we were switched at birth, we’d be each other?

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