I’ve discovered a new podcast in the iTunes store called “The Mental Illness Happy Hour.” If you go to the web site, you can find all sorts of surveys, which Paul will usually read anonymously on the air. After listening to the show for a few months, I went to the web site and looked at the survey section. I chose the one on shame.
One of the questions was “have you ever been a victim of sexual abuse?” One of the answers was “some stuff happened but I don’t know if it counts.” This is absolutely the crux of the problem that I’m trying to work out. What really happened? What was I supposed to feel that I didn’t? What was I supposed to discard that I didn’t?
I can start with the axiom that she never touched me intentionally. That part I know for sure… however, it is also the *only* thing I know for sure… which, as I’ve said, was brutal because at least if I was being sexually abused, I would have known it was wrong. In this situation, there is so much grey area that it’s the main reason it’s been turning over in my head for as long as I can remember. I have said this before and I will say it again that I have very few memories of my life before she came into it, especially as I get older and my childhood fades away.
The two memories I have of her touching me unintentionally are things that she would never remember in a million years.
We were standing next to each other, and I swear to God I don’t remember how it happened, but she accidentally kneed me in the clit and I had never experienced that kind of fire. I remember it hurt, but I also remember wishing she would do it again… accidentally, of course.
The next time, we were both in a USO show and I think there was fake snow falling. She was trying to brush off my military uniform *in the middle of the performance.* I am hoping that there was fake snow on my ass, because I remember thinking that it was taking a long time to get it off… and then it was over and it wasn’t long enough.
Keep in mind that in both of these experiences, I have already read the college journal that she gave me on my 14th birthday, she is regularly telling me everything going on in her life, age-appropriate or not, and doesn’t seem to understand that if she wants me to leave her alone, she’s not doing a very good job of saying it out loud.
I am trying my dead-level best to keep up with her, but it’s difficult. My mom knew there was something up and banned all contact between us. We went underground and continued the friendship despite what my parents wanted… and I can’t even really say “we” because as the adult, what right did she think she had to cross my parents like that?
The flip side of the story is that she knew I was coming out, knew I would need her. I thought it was the better and safe thing to do to distance myself from my parents… which led me further down the path of being manipulated rather than away from it. Once we were beyond my parents’ control, we could talk about anything and everything.
I did need her, desperately, which is why the grey area is so tremendously large… and I would like to believe that she needed me, too, although I doubt she would put it that way. When we met, her life was in as much upheaval as mine, just in different ways due to our ages. She’d just graduated from college, about to turn 24. I had just graduated from sixth grade, about to turn 13. My life centered around coming out. Her life centered around an abusive alcoholic/weed dealer that I begrudgingly called her girlfriend.
I got to be a part of all of those discussions, and I would wrestle as a 14-year-old over whether she was going to be arrested in connection with her girlfriend, whether she would ever find the strength to get out of that relationship, and whether she would ever see that the one who had the best intentions toward her got the least in return.
I remember that I was standing in line to turn in my band uniform at Clements when I got out the card I’d just received. It was yellow, with gold ink on the inside, which made her handwriting all the more “unique.” The one thing I could read for sure is that she’d left her wife. I instantly regretted opening it at that time because I was just trying to speed up the wait. I was crying and blowing snot all over everywhere. It was the least attractive I think I’ve ever been. My heart was so full I couldn’t help it. The tears of relief started coming and wouldn’t stop. I fell into my best friend’s arms since my abuser was now four hours away. I was just so happy that her life could begin again, and still sad that I hadn’t been there to see it in person. Seriously. I would have enjoyed the chance to throw things and spit in her face, like a statistically crazy lesbian does when someone’s hurt the one they love. It was the best moment, I was so happy and smiley, and I couldn’t share it with her. I had to settle for having it with someone else. I was so in love at that moment, because she’d absolutely fulfilled my hopes and dreams and happiness for her. Her victory felt like one for me, too, because I didn’t have to worry about the drug dealer anymore. I also didn’t care how she felt about me. I knew that even if there had been some shenanigans in our past, that didn’t mean I was all “this is my chance.” It was just a bit of flirtation from someone who wouldn’t hurt me, not an expectation that just because I wanted to be with her was a reason for her to fall in love with me. It doesn’t work that way.
The only question I’ve ever had is how the fuck she could unintentionally knee me in the clit – when we were both standing up? How, given the present laws of physics, could that happen? How could it, like, be a real possibility that she had no idea what she was doing? It’s the same thing with the journal. How could she not have known that giving me a journal that included her college sex life would turn me on? Those two questions have been torturing me in my dreams since they happened, always leaning toward nothing being intentional. I was mature enough for this. I could handle this. It was normal.
But I don’t know if it counts.