I’ve joined forced with the lovely Succulent Savage & Penny Berry to talk about DDlg, littles, middles and age regression play. There are a lot of harmful misconceptions in the media about what littles and middles are or why we do the things we do, but very few really dig into actually understanding why we do what we do. Today, I wanted to share my story.
When I was a little girl, I was always told to grow up. I was always told to be an adult and do adult things. My playsets largely compromised of a pretend kitchen and a pretend laundry set, with emphasis on using them correctly. I had to learn and to grow up and be prepared to become a successful adult, If I wanted some play pretend, that was discouraged. Playing pretend would detract from me reaching my potential and integrating into society as a successful adult. There was a way to play, and pretend wasn’t it. Toys had to be used properly, correctly. Farm animals in the farm, zoo animals in the zoo, clothes ironed.. what are you doing, you silly child? The remote control is not a telephone!
There was some theory that I was autistic too, largely owing to my love of playing with water and fascination with parts of objects. I later transpired to be a smart, witty adult who makes great eye contact, doesn’t shut up and is very scientifically-minded. Consequently, no autism diagnosis has ever been made.
All of my childhood activities revolved around learning skills, sunrise, sunset. Our bedrooms had to be tidied, we had to learn to make our own beds, we had to do chores without pay (because you don’t get paid for doing housework in the real world). A lot of films and shows that my peers watched, I wasn’t allowed to watch. If it wasn’t informative or educational, it was strongly discouraged. If it showed violence or fighting of any kind (other than the slapstick tug-o-war between Tom & Jerry), it was banned.
I also never had a rolemodel for beauty. My mother was a tomboy and she had no interest in cosmetics. Instead, I’d learn to pitch a tent, to camp and to fish. Clothes couldn’t be fashionable, they had to be practical. It might be cute and it might be stylish, but those cold shoulders won’t keep you warm while we’re fishing – go and put it back.
This was the life I’d lead.
My family did have fun, and we were very tight knit. There was a lot of sharing, a lot of caring, and a lot of community. We’d bake and do crafts together, read stories and do puzzles together. It wasn’t that we were isolated, we just weren’t allowed really to play.
I’ve never forgotten the occasion that my mother came and joined me in our wendyhouse. I was reading Girl Talk magazine, my favourite magazine at that time. Enough was enough, she’d decided, I was a teen and I needed some more adult reading material, I had a choice of Shout or Mizz. Having no interest in fashion and liking the funny, embarrassing stories in Shout, I opted for Shout instead.
In my teens, boys were forbidden. If I got too close to a boy, my parents would embarrass me and scare him away. The parents’ evening I approached my crush, they called me out for making him go red. Rumour has it, he was waiting for me at prom night. My parents refused to fork out for a dress I’d only wear once and a seat in a limousine, so I never went.
At fifteen years old, I was caring for my grandfather with his struggle against lung cancer and at sisteen, I cared for my gran with her plight against Altzheimer’s disease. Boys, teens, sex and learning and experimentation were never a priority for me.
Now, in my adulthood, I realised what I’ve missed and in a way, I’ve become resentful of my family. I still love them, but there was a part of me who wanted to be young again, to explore and to play. “Adulting” can be tough, and sometimes we need something more youthful and fun.
Penny Berry referenced to Car Jung’s theory in that regression can sometimes be a method for coping with adulthood. For me, it’s both a way to cope with adulthood, and a way to explore the childhood I never had, in a way that feels safe and loving.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that Littles have pacifiers and wear diapers, but this is not always the case (Succulent Savage covers this in far greater detail). Being a little can be little more than the way you carry yourself or the way you behave. Regardless of what Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter will have you believe, there are no interests or or activities that define littles. You could be into pacifiers and cartoons or, in my case, cop shows and ice cream. There really is no one way to be.
For me, being a little is about a chance to play again. It is a chance pile soap foam on a loved one’s head and not be reprimanded for it. It is a chance to pout and whine and throw tantrums like a kid and not be told to grow up. It is a chance to feel all of my emotions, wholly, real and raw, without the fear of judgement that I had from my family. I sleep with a bear on my bed for no other reason than because I can, he is the bear that I love, the kind of bear I always wanted, but never got, because my parents felt I didn’t need. He is a plush, brown, squishy bear named Badocks (bay-docks).
As a middle, I get to explore the adolescence I never had. The adolescence that, crucially, I was forced through. I can listen to Britney Spears or Ed Sheeran and sing along without being judged. I can explore fashion and make-up and find what works for me, because I never had that help at home. Perhaps most fun, I can explore sex and sexuality without being embarrassed by my family, and that’s led to some exceptionally fun “dates” in our own home.
People who practice age regression are not inherently harmful, we are not dangerous and age regression can happen for a variety of reasons. It can come from some form of abuse (Kiera Knightley’s “A Dangerous Method” is a classic example of this, a woman who wants to relive the erotic sensations she felt from spankings from her abusive father) or it can merely be, as theorised by Carl Jung, a coping strategy. Age regression can be a sign of an underlining problem, like a disassociative disorder, but it need not be.
“Daddy Doms” and “Mommy Dommes” are not weird or strange, and they are not sexualising children. Many, many people who practice age regression play in some form are parents themselves, and just as many are vehemently against child abuse and cruelty in all forms. We know we are not children and we do not believe ourselves to be one. But heavens, sometimes it’s a hell of a lot of fun to act like one.
If you’re interested in reading more about little activities or my little self, you can read my blog post here. You can also read Penny Berry’s post and Little Savage’s post. They are great, wonderful and regular writers, so please do give them some love while you’re there!