Another Friday, another epiphany from Iron Pentacle class.
This time, my Iron Pentacle epiphany comes with a big, bold warning. I’m focusing on the Sex point, and this one really packs a loaded punch, so there will be landmines and triggers all over the place. In fact, I frankly and openly discuss rape and sexual abuse, so if you want to opt out, no feelings will be hurt.
A long time ago, back before I was aware of my own gayitudeinal gayosity, I dated boys. There are three in particular we’ll be discussing today: Adam, Bart, and Chester.
First, let me say that I led a very sheltered childhood. I knew that girls dated boys, so when I got to be of dating age, that’s what I did. Never mind that I didn’t really like dating them, nor did I have any interest in anything they wanted, but that’s what my friends were doing, so I did it. (I used to be something of a quiet follower.)
My first real boyfriend was Adam. He was “dark” and “mysterious” (mean and closed-off). He taught me that boys got to do to girls what they felt like doing, and girls let them. I certainly wasn’t comfortable talking about sex with anyone – anyone at all – at that time, so I wasn’t comfortable asking if that was the status quo. Adam said so, so I went along. Fortunately for me, Adam was also “gentle” (a coward) so he never actually managed to do anything other than emotional torment – not for lack of trying, mind, just for lack of being quick enough: he tried to rape me. Twice. Twice, he was prevented by the timely arrival of my mother coming home. Twice, I didn’t say anything to anyone. Twice, I took him back. It wasn’t until he grew tired of failing that he broke up with me and went his own way.
Then there was Bart. Bart was a step above Adam – he was “dark” and “gentle” from the get-go. He was pretty “mysterious”, too, but in a more deceptive fashion. I often felt like Bart was being open with me, especially since he was so forthcoming with his very urgent needs. All the time. He pressured me into giving him head on a pretty regular basis, and it was only my intense fear that kept him from pressuring me into more. And again, I was too uncomfortable to talk to anyone, so I didn’t. No one knew that he was coercing me into blowjobs in my own bedroom with my mother asleep some 80 feet away.
So, during all this, I was madly crazily in love with my best (girl) friend, Dora. I had no idea it was love-like-the-real-thing-love, because what did I know of love, and besides, girls love boys and that’s that. (Yes, I was weird. No, I didn’t talk to anyone about that, either.) I wrote her sappy sweet teenagery poems and did anything and everything she wanted and followed her around like a whipped puppy for years before I realized, hey, I think I love this girl.
It was about this time that Bart found the poems in my room. To anyone other than me, they were obviously love poems – from his girlfriend to another girl.
Bad things happened.
Here’s where things get weird – the roads diverge. The story becomes two: Story A and Story B.
In Story A, Bart raped me. I wound up in my room alone with him and he forced himself on me to prove that I was his, because no girlfriend of his would be loving on girls.
In Story B, Bart did not rape me. I wound up in my room, alone with the poems he’d shredded after freaking out at me and breaking up with me and threatening to tear all my friends from me one by one.
Let’s step away from the Big Bad Thing for a moment. Let’s go with Story B. Bart ripped up all my poems, all my unsent love letters, and yelled horrible things at me, broke up with me, and proceeded to carry through on his threats by turning all my friends against me, one by one. The hows of that I’ll never know, but I certainly lived through it slowly and painfully enough to remember that clearly.
Sometime during this crisis – which was pretty epic – I turned to Chester. Chester and I had been friends for a few weeks, and he was the sweetest, most open, honest boy I’d ever met. He was gentle and sweet and funny. We hit it off smashingly and spent a huge amount of time together.
After the screaming display by Bart, I wound up in Chester’s living room. In my car, two suitcases held everything I cared about. I was on my way out of town, driving north til I ran out of road, but I stopped off to say goodbye to the only friend I had left. We wound up talking til dawn.
We wound up dating a few weeks later.
After our relationship had grown and intensified and survived many trials, Chester raped me.
It started off innocently enough – we were making love. But it got too rough, started hurting, started being really bad for me. I started asking, then begging him to stop – and he did not. My hands on his shoulders, silent tears streaming down my face, but I was far too weak to stop him.
I loved him more than anyone else in the universe.
I trusted him more than anyone else in the universe.
I knew him better than anyone else in the universe – and he knew me that well.
And he did this to me.
So I blanked. I completely refused to believe it. I gave him a hundred reasons, a thousand other chances, a million excuses.
And then, weeks later, I was suddenly confronted with the truth again. Through a weird chance reading of a webcomic that was eerily similar to the abusive situations I had experienced, I was forced to look at the facts again.
But again, I needed something else to be true. Anything else. Anything in the universe else.
So I inserted myself into Story A. I made Bart the bad guy. I needed a villain, someone else to take the fall, because it couldn’t – could not possibly – be Chester. I loved him, I trusted him, I knew him – he would never, never do that to me. Of course not.
I created a world where it didn’t happen, and blamed someone else for the pain and the scars.
It sounds so simple, but I’m sure you can imagine – it’s not. It’s anything but simple. It was so convoluted, so complex, so strange and bizarre, and it happened entirely under the surface. Deep in the dark cold waters of my internal self. My memories wove themselves around these rocks, shifted and changed til I myself couldn’t see the difference.
And it gave Chester the chance to do it again, which he did. This time, there was no pretext; he was full of rage and I was there. He took it out on me, I cried and pleaded.
And again, I gave him a hundred reasons, a thousand other chances, a million excuses. And again, I buried my pain in a hundred other stories, a thousand other memories.
But this time, something vital was different. This time, I was awake. Once you wake up, it’s really fucking hard to lie to yourself. Once your eyes are open, it’s really fucking hard to close them to the truth. Once you start digging into your Self, those true memories and those false memories will eventually surface.
And surface they did. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had an ever-growing dissonance within myself. An overwhelming sense of misalignment, of some rocks where none belonged. I’ve had disturbing dreams and trouble sleeping, my nighttime rest hasn’t come easily. And tonight, it crystallized and I understood.
Until I put myself back into the story I belong in, I can’t rest. Until the blame lies where the blame belongs, I can’t let it go. And until now, I didn’t realize I’d put myself in the wrong story. Not fully. Now, though, I grok in fullness. I see things for how they were – how they actually were. And I understand.
In our society, we’re taught that we’re broken, we’re wrong, we’re sick, we deserve badness in our lives. We’re taught that, if we’re hurt, we’re responsible. We draw it to us, we bring it into our lives, we deserve it. Victims of crimes of all degree think to themselves, “What did I do wrong?”
But it’s bullshit. Bullshit. We’re perfect beings living imperfect lives, learning lessons and hurting ourselves and each other. We’re all lost. We’re all scared. We’re all waiting for someone to find us, fix us, rescue us, make it all better. We’re all waiting for someone to save us. But –
We are the ones we’re waiting for.
Chester raped me. Twice. I took it in silence, recreated my past to hide from it and to protect the man I loved above all others. My past is riddled with sexual and emotional abuse. Did I ask for it? Did I deserve it? Am I being punished for something I did wrong?
I was a scared, fucked-up little girl with a scared, fucked-up boyfriend. I didn’t know what to say or whom to say it to. I stayed because I was waiting for someone to save me.
And it was only when I realized that someone was me that I got out.