L and I are trying some new roleplay. In these scenes, I’m a tomboy, I wrestle and yell with abandon, I ask for cuddles whenever I want them, I’m pampered and spoiled, and I’m 11 years old, rather than my actual 25. She plays Daddy, and I play me, but little.
When I’m little, I feel free. I experience little space as a more innocent state of being. It’s also a state of submission for me because it puts me in a place where I have immense trust in my daddy and that she is in control of adult matters. I get to think about the next time I want to go play outside, my new coloring book, or what color bubbles I want in my bath. For however long our scene lasts, I don’t think about rent or the election, because 11-year-olds don’t think about rent or the election. My world shrinks down to the world my daddy can control and make safe, and I feel safe enough to let my mind ignore the things that I usually have to think about for survival.
In that space of innocence, I’m comfortable enough to explore what being a boi feels like in my body. I can free myself from some forms of self-censorship. I don’t police myself the way that I’ve been taught; instead, I act on parts of myself that I have to keep quiet in my everyday life. In the everyday, I can’t be too loud or I’m just another angry black woman. I can’t be too much of a tomboy or I’m a man-hating dyke. I can’t be all of myself, because cisnormativity often violently coerces me into only part of it.
Acting under coercion for most of the day, for most of my life, is exhausting. Kink allows me to resist that coercion, if only during play — and because my little space isn’t always sexual, exploring it has given me tools for resistance that I can use when I exist in public from day to day.
Being little doesn’t feel like being a child again. It feels more freeing than my childhood ever was, and like something completely different. When L and I first talked about trying me being little and her being daddy, my real-life daddy issues stemming from an inconsistent childhood made me feel weird about it. I didn’t want to allow myself to re-enter that innocent mindset only to be disappointed again. I also felt afraid because I don’t do little space like those skinny, white littles on tumblr who use baby talk and wear all pink and frills, and who love being called baby girl or kitten. What those girls do is hot and exciting, but it isn’t what I want. I want to be little in a way I never got to be little, and I wasn’t sure if L wanted that, too. I wanted to wear Hulk pajamas, play Super Smash Brothers, jump on a trampoline in a skirt. I wanted to know that my laughter was welcomed, and not another headache.
But even though I was scared I was also not scared because I think I already knew a lot of those things to be true. I just needed someone to tell me them. I needed to hear someone I trusted wholeheartedly — and outside of little play, my relationship with L felt strong enough to trust — tell me truths about myself in order to feel like I had permission to act on them.
The light in my eyes in pictures of myself from childhood, the light that growing up has taken away, has started to come back. I look happier in pictures, more fulfilled, like I fit my body better and can more fully exist in the world. When I laugh when I’m little, I need to hear my daddy laugh alongside my laughter, or lift my legs up to help me do a handstand. I need my heart filled in innocent, playful ways that reminded me that my entire, whole self is my best self. I’ve opened doors I never knew were closed being little, and I’ve rediscovered things about myself that I forgot existed. I get these reminders with L when I’m big, but when I’m little, I can hear them wrapped in another layer of trust. Things are easier to hear and believe when your daddy has pinky-promised you that she won’t lie to you.
Now, when I laugh as an adult, I hear daddy laughing alongside me and keep laughing. I don’t feel shame about not shaving because my daddy thinks my leg hairs are cool and so do I. I am assertive without apology, because daddy says that it’s important for me to ask for what I want and need, and even though I already knew this to be true, I finally believe it.