The Last 20 Minutes

I actually brought my lunch today, so I don’t have as much time to write as I normally do. I’m down to the last 20 minutes of lunch, and then the last two hours before I come back on Monday. I think that the food is making me sleepy. Note to self: maybe you should write first. I don’t know whether or not eating actually influences my writing, but it can’t be good to concentrate on birthing an article and a food baby all at once.

Yesterday got deep because that’s just where my mind went. It goes all over the place, and fortunately or not, this is just my catch-all receptacle. In all of my writing, the thing that came up at the forefront was shame. I wasn’t ashamed that an older woman was turning me on. I was ashamed that I wasn’t pretty enough for her to do anything about it… because that was the unintended consequence of all her attention. All of this sexual information was coming at me, and I did not have the capacity to see that this woman was hurting me emotionally. I only saw myself as unworthy of her advances. For years, I saw myself as not good enough, not attractive enough, not well-behaved enough… to the point that I would literally fight for her attention because maybe someday, some way, I’d be able to prove what I’d thought all along. She was giving me sexual information for a reason, because it was me. It was always me.

Years later, I went to see “Memoirs of a Geisha,” and the entire movie just hit too close to fucking home. I cried at the end, and because the friend who was with me has the most deadpan humor in the entire world, she leaned over and said, “are you crying at the part where he’s a pedophile?” I burst out laughing at the same time my heart dropped into my stomach.

I grew out of wanting to be her lover/girlfriend/wife, but the behavior where I was constantly trying to get her attention to prove to her that I was worthy of her time stayed. It was completely second nature, to the point that I didn’t even realize I was doing it. When I figured it out, and I figured it out several times before it stuck for good, she’d all of the sudden become interested in me again. The big blowout was when I realized that I was tired of being the mouse in this scenario, because the cat would only chase me if I moved.

It feels good to release some of this shame, because the true feelings of abused kids are in the dark spots… the ones we don’t talk about. Like when you engineer a response in a 14-year-old, she knows it isn’t right, but her body goes on high alert before her brain catches up. It creates guilt beyond belief that we know we’re not supposed to want what we want, but we can’t undo what you’ve done.

But we can try.

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