The last time I taught at LSM, I wore a t shirt with this image on it. As a way to get started in the class, I asked someone to describe the panels to the room, as it was likely they could not be seen by all. And I talked about the ways that it is common for people to imagine tops (and sadists in particular) as the third row only–monsters that tear the heads off robots, stomp on cities, roar, and eat vehicles, or the human equivalent of these things. We are reduced to our cruelty, the havoc we wreak for our bottoms, the ways we are larger than life and frightening.
I went on to say that one of my main aims in the class (which focused on tops pushing our own edges in play) was to give us room as tops to be all the panels–to sleep with a teddy bear, to eat breakfast reading the paper, to get tired after working so hard, to set our watch alarms because we need to take a break and eat a sandwich. That we are whole human beings, and that in order to support us to take risks, we need give ourselves and each other room to move beyond the fantasy figure that is always mean, to a more complex, and full experience of ourselves.
I wore this t shirt again yesterday, as a reminder that I am full and complex person, and to give myself permission to breathe into the fullness of myself. A good reminder these days, as I am so deeply in a whirlwind of moving. One of my hopes in this move is to carve out a life that makes more room for my complexity, more room for me to be in pain, to need to take a break and eat a sandwich, to sit and read as I eat breakfast, to be more of myself more of the time, to not push quite so hard or move quite so fast.