Am I An Object?

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. In most of my 32 years I don’t feel like I’ve been seen as a person. I feel like I’ve always been treated like an object or product. When I was a child around extended family it was all about looks. No one was interested in my talents, education, interests, or anything else. The women in my family are very much image obsessed. So if I gained a few pounds it was definitely noticed. If I dressed like a tomboy it was always “Why don’t you wear more dresses?”. It was always about how I looked and not who I was. That didn’t come until much later and by that point I had learned to despise these people. They started the ball rolling of me hating myself because I never felt good enough with all of their poking and prodding at my looks all the time.
As I got older it got worse on a whole other level. I developed early. And I do mean early. I was in a training bra by 8 and in a DD cup by 15. Everyone noticed. From the moment of about middle school it was very hard to tell if boys liked me for me or the size of my breasts. At 32 I’m still asking myself that very question. In high school I’d joke about my breasts with friends. I’d make boob jokes, because back then it really wasn’t a big deal to me. In a way I kind of liked the attention. Had a crush on a guy? No problem, just throw on a v-neck the next day. Might get his attention. Didn’t happen often because I was (and in some way, still am) a big tomboy. I wore the big baggy skater jeans, Sketchers or Chucks, and band or novelty tees. When I would switch it up and wear something low cut it would  DEFINITELY get attention because it was such a rarity. In my late teens and 20s I’d go hang out with friends at all the places people at that age hang out and there would always be a random guy who would want to hug me purely just to feel my breast against him. No biggie. I was used to it by then. In some weird way it made me feel powerful, like I have something these guys want.
Looking back I see that maybe I sexualized myself and not because I wanted to. I made myself believe it’s because I wanted to, but it was for the attention I got. It became a given that if I was going out then I had to put on something tight and revealing. Then it just became a habit. Now I’m at a point in my life where I sort of know what I want career wise (I’ve spent so long confused on that subject) and I want to settle down with someone that I want to be with for the rest of my life. Whether that be man, woman, or other I have no idea, but I do know I’m ready to build a life with someone. The more I try to date the more I realize I’m still attracting men who only see me as body parts. No one wants to get to know my hopes, dreams, likes, dislikes, past, or otherwise. It’s only about how they want to fuck me, what’s my bra size, and sending a collection of dick pics. Honestly I do welcome these conversations sometimes and afterwards I feel dirty. I engage in these conversations telling myself that it’s okay when really all I want a man to do is ask me about my life and to start the conversation like an adult. When I get these men to try and engage in a conversation it’s always elementary things like “What’s your favorite movie?” or “What is your favorite color?”. Nothing deep ever comes of it and I feel let down. I feel like there is absolutely no one interested in my story. No one. So I accept the dick pics and the dirty talk and move on. I obsess over what pic to make my avi. Is my makeup right? Can you see my tits? Is my hair okay? I do the same when I venture out into the world, even if it’s something simple as going to the grocery store. After all these are the only reasons that men are attracted to me, and it’s partly my fault for making them see me that way. So am I an object? Surely I am not. Surely I don’t want to be seen that way. The only way to stop others from seeing me that way is for me to stop seeing it myself. That is a work slowly in progress.
-Asia Aneka Anderson

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