Slowly, I’m learning to change the channel. But there are still days when the left-over issues between the abuser that lives in my head and my present consciousness start duking it out. Yesterday, it wasn’t even at my initiation. It came from Dana asking me how I was doing- just a general update.
I told her that I thought I was doing a lot better, I said, but there isn’t any moment of any day that I forget what happened. I don’t think about what she did to my sexuality- she never touched me herself, but inserted herself into my life so that when I did start thinking about love and sex and all of those thing with women my own age, I felt like I was cheating on her and I got the impression after I talked to her that night she was jealous and angry… but probably not because she was jealous it wasn’t with her. I think she just realized that our lives were moving apart, and there was nothing she could do to stop me from aging. That’s only conjecture on my part, but I remember plainly sitting on my top bunk with my Mickey Mouse sheets, journal in hand, as I told her I’d lost my virginity. Her voice seemed strained, throat as tight as a cassock three sizes too small as she said, “welcome to the girls’ club.” My reaction (of course) was to try and make her laugh so that the awkward moment between us would pass. It killed me that I thought I’d done the wrong thing, that I should have waited. It was too much cognitive dissonance in my head to hear her sadness and NOT wish I’d waited. The next time we saw each other, all was forgiven, but I’ve never forgotten that still, small voice.
However, as I told Dana, there was a bigger implication with her abuse. It made my mother’s, my father’s, and my sister’s voices all fade into the background so that I couldn’t hear them clearly anymore. I was isolated into thinking that I could only trust my abuser, which is generally what abusers do in the first place.
The reason I’m so much better than I was is that I’ve finally made the connection that I have a lot of work to do on myself, because all of the people who were supposed to be primary in my life haven’t gotten a chance until now.
I’ve also gone through the guilt I laid upon myself for even publishing all this. I honestly and truly didn’t want to hurt anyone, but I knew that the moment I breathed anything, there would be people all over me to hear more. I have been pleasantly surprised that no one has wanted to know anything, and I have been free to complete my own analysis of myself without any sort of interference. It’s a wonderful thing to have space… because now I really know what I think.
The next feeling I have to explore is that when I became an adult, I didn’t explore all of these questions *then.* I’m not the type of person that is afraid of conflict. I guess you just don’t see abuse unless you want to. That’s my only advice to myself as I continue to figure this stuff out.
…and as I continue to learn that my own story matters just as much as everyone else’s.