February 4th, 2009

On Vox: How did I get here?

One of the common conversational themes among some of my friends lately has been how different our lives are than what we'd expected.  "If you'd told me when I was 18 that I would be (....), I never would have believed you."

Tell 18-year-old me that I'd grow up to be an engineer, and I wouldn't have batted an eye.  It wasn't first on my list-- I was planning to be a nuclear physicist-- but engineer was certainly plausible.  Tell me I'd live in San Francisco?  I might believe it, but probably not.  Weirdos and hippies lived in San Francisco.

Tell me I'd have pink hair?  I would have laughed in your face.

I would have never believed that I would have long-term stable relationships with multiple boyfriends at the same time.  No way no how.  We won't even mention the girls... I was sure I was straight when I was 18-- I liked men well enough, and the word bisexual wasn't even on my radar.  "You'll fall in love with a professional dominatrix" fails on at least three counts.

I have no idea what I would have thought if you'd told me that I would be a professional gambler.  I was 19 when I played in my first poker tournament, so that one wasn't completely implausible.

I would have never in a million years believed that I would grow up to become a bondage photographer... no way, no how, no sirree.  I was a nice girl from St. Louis, and nice midwestern girls just didn't do things like that.  We married nice men, moved to three-bedroom two-bath houses in the suburbs, had two kids and a dog, and did the things that society expected us to.  We played it safe.

Mmmm hmmm, that's me.

Tonight I find myself sorting through some of the 13,000 bondage photos I've taken in the last couple of years, trying to choose the final three for submission to an art show.

"Hey teenage Patti: when you grow up, you'll spend a couple of days worried about whether you're too extreme for the Kinsey Institute."


And I still can't decide whether to send the safe one or the edgy one.

Originally posted on patti.vox.com