We all have experiences that shape our lives. These might be huge events or small moments in the history of our lives, but they occur. There are times these experiences become immediately useful to us, and other times we may not incorporate them into who we are for years. There are lesser times, unfortunate times, when we fail to see a lesson and use it to improve who we are as a person.
While preparing for my children to return to school we took our last day of summer to receive father’s blessings, load backpacks, and get to bed earlier than we had become accustomed to. During this time I had a conversation with my oldest son about working with the Football team as a manager. He is not old enough to play yet, but has shown a lot of interest in the game. I felt this might be a way for him to gain exposure to the game and learn some of the fundamentals before being able to actually play. He was hesitant, but decided to do it partially because a friend of his would also be doing it.
The first day of practice came, and I received a call that his friend that was supposed to manage with him was not anywhere to be found. I received a phone call, and I quickly dismissed his worries telling him to go down to the field and find the coach. A few minutes later I get another call where he is in tears, and doesn’t want to do it anymore. His story had drastically changed, and he didn’t want anything to do with football.
I drove down to the field, and we talked about his reasons. After some time he admitted that he was afraid the bigger kids would make fun of him because he was small. This became bigger than a position as a Middle School Football Manager. We was choosing to run away from something, and hide around the corner. We slowly worked to help him understand what he was experiencing and coaxing him to take steps towards the football field.
At his age, he would be setting a precedence of how he would continue to attack his problems in the future. Would he take the uncomfortable step forward, or cower in the corner away from the experience?
I told him that all he needed to do was get to the coach that he knew, and ask “how can I help coach?” While such a simple act conceptually it caused so many emotions to pull him in different directions. Slowly, and painfully, he took small steps toward the field. He hid behind me as we walked onto the field and approached the head coach. I began to move behind him and encouraged him to talk with the coach where he asked how he could help. The coach immediately introduced my son to the team, and his role. He was quickly given a job and within seconds he was part of the team. I stepped away without a word, and left the field.
In that moment, my son grew. He stood in the face of something that scared him, something that he didn’t understand, and faced his fear.
For us, I believe there are some big similarities. How many times have you been a “little” scared? Throughout life we experience something about ourselves that is not common or socially accepted. We struggle in the dark, often times alone, trying to understand what we are. Many questions cross our minds:
- Why me?
- Why am I like this?
- Why would God give me something like this?
- What am I supposed to do?
While growing up with an affinity to wear diapers I tried to hide them from myself. I was so ashamed of the part of me that wanted to wear a diaper that I wouldn’t allow any space to try and understand it. I would internally say some version of the following,
“If I just ignore it, maybe it will go away.”
While I tried over and over to leave it behind diapers would always find their way back into my life. While I want to make a comment about how this should not be shocking it was truly how I was trying to manage with my shame and pain. I didn’t want them to be part of my life, and I partially still feel that way, and running away from my problems seems like the best approach. I wasn’t “supposed” to feel this way, and everything that I was learning in church taught about relying on a higher power instead of some physical object to bring me comfort.
What did I do? I would binge and purge. I would hold out as long as possible, and then find myself wearing a diaper feeling a myriad of emotions. Elation, happiness, and peace while wearing it that would inevitably be followed by pain and shame as I beat myself up for the horrible person I was. This painful cycle brought hedonistic and temporary peace. I would have a moment of comfort where I felt okay with who I was, and then that would be replaced by such painful emotions that would wash away any good that had been done by padding up
I was conditioning myself how to “deal” with diapers. I was continually running away from growth. Like my son, I was figuratively hiding around the corner from so much more of my life. I was already making fun of myself, and I didn’t need anyone else to pile on.
The majority of TBDLs and ABDLs (less now with the ease of access from the Internet) growing up internalizing and hiding these feelings. We are so ashamed of ourselves that we feel that we are unable to share what we are experiencing with anybody else. The longer that we live in isolation, fear, and pain the harder it is for us to stop running away from who we are inside. I didn’t have someone encouraging me to take the first step towards becoming a better person. I would catch glimpses of what the Internet showed ABDLs to be, and that made me like myself even less. I struggled multiple times to begin writing a blog in an effort to send out a distress flare up. Each time I would stop myself, until this last time.
Through resources and other blogs I found solace in finally understanding that I wasn’t alone. That beginning of growth was supplemented by reaching out to the first ABDL acquaintances friends that I have made. Those people helped me realize I was not the only one who had felt the same way about myself, and that my experience was not unique. I had others like me, others that could relate and understand my experience, even if they were hundreds and thousands of miles away.
We must be brave littles. Don’t let your life experiences be missed opportunities for growth. We must find our courage to step out of the corner and towards the opportunity of growth. It will not be easy and it may be painful, but it is the way to learn, incorporat, and accept who we are. After many failed attempts I have shot my distress flare into the sky. I hope to stand with my fellow ABDLs to help them know they are not alone. While we are aberrant than what society’s poster child of “happiness” is I know that I can continue to grow into the person that I, my spouse, and family need me to be. Each time I wear a diaper, and am able to be a contributing part of the world it helps me realize that I can be my best self even while crinkling when I walk. My shame is slowly being replaced by the smirk I wear when I am able to improve myself though understanding the place diapers and my little side have in my life. It has become a balancing act, and I hope to become better at standing tall on the path.
You are NOT alone. Know that. There is power in understanding that others stand beside you in your struggles.