Dissociation and Flippancy

I just picked up Amy Schumer’s book “The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo.”

I came across it yesterday at our local Kmart, I reached out and picked it up without a second thought. Not even considering the price as I would usually do.

That’s because I’ve long considered her my spirit animal – a much less fictional spirit animal than Sansa Stark… To lessen confusion, however; I may need to relabel one of them as my patronus instead.

Clearly, I am a geek.

Though, obviously, Amy’s life and experiences greatly differ from my own… I feel a connection to her and relate whole heartedly to much of her story.

Like me, she has only ever had one one-night stand. Unlike me, however; hers sounds much more enjoyable… The men’s muscular stature being about the only other resemblance.

Her chapter on being an introvert speaks to me on a spiritual level. I wish I could have had this book earlier in my life to point out certain passages and say “Look! This is normal! I’m not the only one!”

Talking about a partner’s family noting how regularly she went off by herself and how she tends to utilise the “Irish goodbye” – basically just disappearing from a group suddenly…. Me, me, me.

But so far, what really got me is when I came across this passage last night:

image

The experience that led us there is different. No one’s respective sexual learning happens the same way… But the end result of dissociation is,again, me. The flippancy is me.

My first coping mechanism, how I dealt with being too young and immature for the sexual relationship I found myself in was being flippant about my promiscuity. Acting like I must be cool and experienced to be doing such things with an older dude.

Shame tried to push its way in, and I pushed harder back at it. Deciding I wouldn’t allow myself to feel ashamed. I decided I would be “empowered ” instead… But the result was less empowerment and more dissociation. It took awhile to even recognise this in myself.

What I saw as my ability to choose and be free of religious constraints was really me having more of a “what the hell, might as well” kind of attitude.

In all honesty, unlike Amy who guarded herself against what she suspected men wanted from her, I was less guarded… More worn down by my experiences… And would have willingly slept with many, many more men.

All that being said, I am really enjoying Amy’s book so far. I highly recommend it. It’s well written, poignant, and obviously still humorous.

Now, if you’ll excuse me… I have a book to read.

Taylor Swift Gets Me : Reprise

While we’re on the topic of Taylor Swift, I went back and perused my posts from February 2015 – when I started this blog – and came across one of the first posts I had written that was also a I-have-a-girl-crush-on-Taylor kind of post.

What I had done is compiled and mashed up several of her lyrics that I felt outlined my love life. I wrote it straight through without explaining who was who – I guess half expecting I’d make it clear enough eventually through the blog.

Well, I decided just now to go ahead and revise it. Make it clear who was who and polish it up a bit – making changes as to past tense etc so it flows better… As well as add some for Viktor, so he wouldn’t be so left out 😉 Also notice that Dane was included though he is a BFF not a past boyfriend. I still consider him as “one of my boys” in my life though… so there you go.

You can; however, still find the original here.

WYATT

I was reminiscing the other day, while having coffee all alone and lord it took me away… We were both young when I first saw you; I close my eyes and the flashback starts:

Did you have to do this? I was thinking that you could be trusted, did you have to hit me where I’m weak, Baby, I couldn’t breathe. These kinds of wounds they last and they last… Cause when you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe them; all I wanted was to be wanted.

I wish I could go back and tell myself what I know now. Stupid girl, I should have known. Maybe I was naïve, got lost in your eyes and never really had a chance. My mistake, I didn’t know how to be in love.

You took a swing, I took it hard and down here from the ground, I see who you are. I screamed so loud but no one heard a thing.

You were so casually cruel in the name of being honest. I’m a crumpled up piece of paper lying here cause I remember it all.

“Baby, I miss you and I swear I’m gonna change, trust me.” You wore your best apology.

That was the last time I let you in my door. “This is the last time I won’t hurt you anymore.” You told me that you loved me and then you cut me down; I needed you like a heartbeat, but you know you got a mean streak.

You told me that you wanted me, then pushed me around. You, with your words like knives and swords and weapons that you used against me. You knocked me off my feet again, got me feeling like I’m nothing.

I wondered if I’d make it out alive. It’s hard to fight when the fight ain’t fair. I might be ok, but I’m not fine at all. I remember all too well.

And then I felt so low I couldn’t feel nothing at all.

JUSTIN

Your eyes look like coming home. I just liked hanging out with you all the time. Darling, it was good. All I felt in my stomach was butterflies – the beautiful kind. It was miserable and magical, oh yeah. There was something about it that felt like home somehow. Oh your sweet disposition and my wide eyed gaze…

Distance, Timing, Breakdown, Fighting, silence, the train ran off its tracks. I guess we fell apart the usual way and the story’s got dust all over the page,

but sometimes I wonder how you think about it now.

VIKTOR

He said everything I needed to hear and it’s like I couldn’t ask for anything better

He said “you look beautiful tonight”

And I felt perfectly fine

DAN

New to town with a made up name, I saw you there and thought “Oh my God, look at that face – you look like my next mistake.” He was so tall and handsome as hell. He was so bad but he did it so well.

You looked like bad news, I had to have you. I knew you were trouble when you walked in. You were just so cool, ran your hands through your hair… Absentmindedly making me want you. I guess you didn’t care and I guess I liked that. I’d be smart to have walked away, but you were quicksand.

You always knew how to push my buttons, I’m really gonna miss you picking fights. It was a long six months and you were too afraid to tell me what you want. I just wanted to know you better.

No apologies, he never saw me cry, pretended he didn’t know that he was the reason why I was drowning.

I faked a smile so he wouldn’t see.

SVEN

My lover in the foyer didn’t even know me.

Thought his future was me. He couldn’t see the smile I was faking and my heart was not breaking cause I wasn’t feeling anything at all. Could he tell that I couldn’t breathe?

Everybody loves pretty and everybody loves cool.

But I was so confused because I didn’t feel pretty, I just felt used.

ANDRE

I don’t know why, but with you I’d dance in a storm in my best dress.

Cause I couldn’t help it if you looked like an angel, couldn’t help if I wanted to kiss you in the rain. We were dancing, dancing like we’re made of starlight…

 The only one who’s got enough for me to break my heart.

 

DAVID

It was a moment of weakness and I said yes. I should’ve said no, I should’ve gone home. You were looking so innocent, I might have believed you if I didn’t know.

Even now just looking at you feels wrong.

DANE

We know it’s never simple, never easy, never a clean break. Nothing we said was gonna save us from the fall out. It was 2 AM, feeling like I just lost a friend.

You didn’t have to call anymore, I wouldn’t pick up the phone, that was the last straw, I didn’t want to hurt anymore. I just wanted to tell you it took everything in me not to call you.

…So that was me swallowing my pride, Standing in front of you saying, “I’m sorry for that night.” Your guard was up and I know why…

Because the last time you saw me was still burned in the back of your mind.

JASON

You’re thinking that I hate you now cause you still don’t know what I never said. Kiss me, try to fix it. Could you just try to listen?

I’m pretty sure we almost broke up last night. I was expecting some dramatic turn away, but you… stayed. I’ll be loving you for quite some time, No one else is gonna love me when I get mad.

For the first time what’s past is past.

It’s like I got this music in my mind saying “It’s gonna be alright”

For my new readers – you can find  stories about most of these guys under the relationships tab at the top, filed by these names. (Dane is under Best Friends.) Though the entire stories are in my book… available on Amazon.

Thank the gods

I thought I remembered Viktor differently. I always remembered him as pretty cute; as most blond haired, blue eye Scandinavian boys were to me. But awhile ago we reconnected through Linkdin as he doesn’t have facebook or any other such account on a social media platform.

In the picture he used for that profile, he looks tired, hair mussed, and is sporting a 5 o’clock shadow along with what ever you call the male version of resting bitch face. Not his best showing. Not that it made him ugly – but it was disappointing to see him not as attractive as he had been in my mind’s eye.

That was awhile ago and we rarely communicate as neither of us use Linkdin much. So last night I decided to try sending him an email via gmail. Because of this, his google plus account connected and I saw an entirely different profile picture come up on his home page.

Oh my Goodness. He was fresh faced, smiling, and his eyes were bright. He was wearing a more fitted long sleeve shirt, rolled up to show his forearms. So much better a look for him than the boring ol’ shirt n’ tie he was wearing in the other picture. So much better – that’s how I remembered him.

I had a strange feeling, like “Phew, my [probably-non-existent] rep has been protected.” My first real sex partner really was actually attractive; I had doubted that memory after seeing the Linkdin profile.

It’s vain, it’s stupid, and not really worth blogging about… But here we are. I can’t help but be glad that Viktor, the first guy I voluntarily had a sex life with, the first guy I went “all the way” with still lives up to his Scandinavian heritage.

Thank the gods.

Hopefully he won’t read it…

I typed up a message, copy and pasting for the most part – since I had sent basically the same message to a handful of other men. The messages and emails were notifications that I wrote a particular book and that I had written about them in it. I told them if they wanted to read it, to just let me know and I would send them a free copy.

I sent these notes to Sven, Justin, Andre, Viktor, Dan, and even Jimmy. All the men I am still in touch with in some form or another. I wrote these notes before the book even went live, but so far I have only heard back from half of them. Andre and Jimmy seem very excited for me and of course they want a copy they told me. Justin has already read the manuscript – he read my first book’s manuscript too since he helped me with some of the editing process. This time he was helping me with the whole male perspective thing – so he’s read it anyway. He liked it, but preferred for me not to send a hard copy because he said my title was clever and he is sure if it arrived in the mail while he was at work, his son would surely pick it up and start reading it… and he just doesn’t want to have “that conversation” with him.

Why nooot? Haha… okay, fair enough, Justin.

I’m not so concerned if the other three don’t want to read it. I mean, I do hope Viktor will want to. He seemed genuinely surprised when I wrote about him on this blog before and I actually had nice things to say about him. He said my view of him helped to change the perspective he has always had of himself. …Which is a good thing. Viktor is hard to get a hold of though, so I’m not sure if he has even seen my email yet, let alone considered the possibility of wanting to read it.

Sven… Honestly I don’t care if he reads it. I think I give him a fair shake in the book, but it’s not glowing and eh… I just don’t relate so much to him anymore anyway. What he thinks about it doesn’t fuss me much.

What does fuss me is this: Dan. I can see he saw my message. So he knows, but so far has stayed silent. That is not unusual – sometimes when I message him, he’ll see it right away but not get around to answering for a couple of weeks. That’s fine. He’s a busy guy.

I care about what Dan will think if he does read it. I pretty well laid myself bare about him. I wrote all the things in my head, all my feelings I ever had about him in that book. I’ve mentioned before that I have often had a hard time displaying sincere emotion to him – so I don’t think he truly understands how I ever felt about him. Yeah, he knew I cared about him. He read his birthday greeting post from May when I sent him the link – so he knows I care about him still. But this is a man that I have never allowed to see me cry – even though he directly caused me to have an absolute meltdown in the bathroom. Punching walls and hitting the floor with my fists as tears streamed down my face; Maja trying to hold me and calm me down.

I put on a hard face for him, I exuded bubbles and fun, I tried to exude “cool.” Maybe I succeeded, maybe I didn’t. Maybe he could tell all along that I was putting on the act. Maybe he knew all along I was guarding myself from him. I was guarding my emotions from him – trying to build a wall, though the bricks continuously crumbled in my hands.

Dan doesn’t like to think on the past. Dan doesn’t particularly care for who he was in the ’90s and early ’00s. The likelihood of him saying he wants a copy is slim, I think… But I had to offer. I had to be fair and offer it to him alongside the other men.

But maybe… …probably… ….hopefully… he won’t want to read it.

That would be okay with me.

 

 

 

*Interested in what I wrote about these men? Check out my book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/That-Boy-Gave-Cooties-Relationship/dp/1516885708/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441238794&sr=8-1&keywords=that+boy+gave+me+cooties

The Abstinence and Shaming Culture

I don’t talk much about topics that tend to make people emotional. I mentioned that in my last post. Topics that would be considered “subversive” in any way with any of my friends or acquaintances I avoid because I just don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to argue. I don’t want to feel judged or shamed for my opinions.

I don’t feel that way as much as I used to – I don’t run in the exact same circles anymore. Even a few people from the past have grown themselves and have allowed their outlook on such issues to change. So that helps, a bit.

But I know if I talk about this on my personal Facebook page, I will have people attack my view and possibly try to pray for me about it. Some friends may or may not do this… but I do have some family that would have no shame commenting. So I best talk about it here if I want to broach the subject.

I’ve been ingratiated into a group of ladies that can talk about anything and everything with respect and openness. I can swear and bitch along with them, or I can talk about serious subjects and it has been a safe environment so far in which disagreements on a topic are not met with emotional outbursts or belittling.

One recent conversation was about teenagers talking to their parents when they have sex. This conversation brought back a wave of bitterness about my own experiences. I’ll just lay them out. Maybe then it would be clear why I am for teaching safe sex in schools. While I can concede “abstinence is best” for not getting pregnant or STDs, I find it entirely necessary that young teens be taught all the information about sex and relationships before they start along that path. I’m sorry if it offends, but it is completely ignorant to think that kids that age are not “dating” and/or being exposed to sex.

“Not all kids are doing it,” I hear people say. Of course I know that, <insert snarky insult name here.> But the kids don’t feel that way. They think they are the only ones not doing it half the time. The sexual innuendo they start to joke about, the bullying or shaming done often has to do with sexual themes. Telling kids just not to do it will not stop it from happening for the ones that fall into it. There are a range of reasons kids will want to or be expected to do any of this stuff and preaching “just don’t do it” will not stop a damn thing.

So onto my story.

I learned the mechanics of sex at school in 7th grade while I was in Australia. My mum had already given me some basic info about periods, but that was about it besides the “don’t let boys touch your private areas” talk… and my dad telling me to kick a boy in between the legs if they try anything.The school and my parents didn’t really talk about contraception or anything like that. Maybe they would have gotten to it had I finished out the year… but half way through the year my family moved back to the US and I was put into a very conservative Christian private school for 7th and 8th grades. No sex ed happening there at all. Any discussion caught amongst the students was quickly shut down.

I only just recently talked about the particulars about my first boyfriend and my introduction into the actual sexual acts. If you need to get caught up, read it here.

I feel it is safe to say I was pressured into it by him. I was also convinced that he was a “good, Christian boy” and that we’d be together forever – so therefore there was a “commitment” involved and… well… there was fear of varying degrees. Fear he’d be angry, fear he’d leave…. there were manipulation tactics used to convince me it was all ok… I can’t even say now what all my motivations were to go along with that aspect of my life then. Anything I learned about sex was through this one guy.

I moved to Ethiopia when I was 15. In Ethiopia I went to an International school that was in no way a Christian school… yet my family attended an Evangelical church and I attended the youth group. Of course I had friends outside of this sphere, but I became “best friends” with a boy from my class that was also in the youth group.

He acted enlightened and not so uptight, so I mentioned to him some basic info about what I had experienced. He did not get details – no play-by-play, no mention of abuse. I used words like “stuff” and “…things.” I mentioned some generalizations in youth group when we did a topic of dating.

Whereas Mikael and his sister thought my additions to the discussion were good and “brave,” I underestimated the missionary kid, my “best friend.” He went and told his family ALL about it.

So his mother ran to my mum to tell her all about how “promiscuous” I was. To this day, I hate that word. I was shamed by these people. I confronted Ethan and asked him “What the hell?!” His response was merely that he and his family talk about EVERYTHING.

Really, Ethan? Really?? Did you tell them about when you asked me to pose in my underwear for your “art project?” Oh, sorry. Actually you asked me to pose nude, and I was the one that agreed only down to the underwear.

I didn’t think so.

Awhile after, my parents had me sign a “True Love Waits” contract. I signed it not because I wanted to – or even believed in it anymore – but because I felt the pressure to and didn’t want to have the fight with them… or be further shamed by people in my church.

One day, I had a sleep over at my house with a handful of girls from church. I made a mild sexual innuendo type joke. One other girl laughed hysterically – so at least there was one. But then the other two or three girls (including Ethan’s sister) were just so shocked and appalled. They had no qualms shaming me for saying such a thing and then one of them didn’t even want to hang out with me further for several MONTHS after. Eventually that one appeared to ease and be okay hanging around me again – but I had lost all trust and ease in this group. To be quite honest, I couldn’t even stand that chick after the way she had treated me. All of this stuff, instead of making me see the light or whatever – it made me feel rebellious and distrustful of evangelicals.

The next time I even did anything with a boy was when I was 16 and fooled around a little with Justin in a movie theater. At the time Justin was from a Christian family as well… so when we broke up he threw that one occasion back in my face and tried to shame me for it. I was so hurt by that.

After all of that I was determined to have the rest of my sexual life to be on my terms. It didn’t always work out that way, of course, but I was of the mind that I would do it when I was ready and I wouldn’t be ashamed of it.

I moved to Sweden when I was 16 and the culture there was a LOT more progressive and not-shaming for the females. So my first time having full on sex was when I was almost 17, with Viktor. I mentioned recently in a discussion about all this that “at least my first time was with a nice Atheist boy.”

After my history, I did not feel like I could tell my parents when it happened.

Luckily, Swedes are well educated about sex early on – so I had friends I could turn to. The Swedes have very good resources for teens – free youth clinic, easy access to contraceptives, etc.

So while I was there from 16 – 19, I was handling it all myself. I put myself on the pill. I got myself tested and dealt with the Chlamydia myself. I dealt with a pregnancy scare myself. I was open with close friends and boyfriends on the topic – no pussy footing around if I wanted to demand condom use, discuss STD status, or anything like that.

I had been slut shamed one too many times. As I grew up, I made a conscious effort to own the word “slut.” I joke about being a slut with my friends, I’ve allowed men to call me a slut in intimate relationships.

I did not involve my parents or anyone from my church in the sexual side of my life.

…And that is sad. I really hope that one day my kids will be able to talk openly with me about it. I want to be there for them… and yet, my husband is very conservative and I can already see the arguments coming a decade in the future.

Viktor – #2

I got a message from Viktor today… He read my post about him and… I just… Well… He liked it. He actually liked it and thanked me for writing it. I know I copy and paste messages sometimes into my blog post, but this time it feels a little too personal to put his exact wording out there – which feels weird to say after every other personal thing I have already posted.

I must say, I was very impressed with his writing style and couldn’t help but think he should be the one to have a blog, lol.

Anyway, to explain the gist of it all: He told me he was nervous to read what I thought about him. Apparently, he always thought he had been an asshole in our relationship. He said that he even used our relationship as a benchmark of how not to be in subsequent relationships.

Wow.

I have never, ever thought of him as an asshole. Perhaps he was an asshole in his head, but he never displayed asshole tendencies to my face. It makes me a tad sad that he thought so poorly of his past self all these years. I honestly always felt bad, or like I was the jerk in the relationship, because I thought…knew…he would be good for me. I wanted to want him more, but I just didn’t have the feelings that were required.

He said he was impressed with my ability to remember the details. What can I say? I generally have a pretty good memory… then he thanked me for being so open about it all and giving him a new perspective on himself. He said this really helped him.

Wow.

And here I was nervous about how he’d take it and if he’d hate me for putting it all out there in the blogosphere.

Viktor

I started to think perhaps I have been a bit harsh in my flippant remarks about my relationship with Viktor. Maybe “harsh” isn’t the word exactly… but to be honest, I don’t look back on my relationship with any strong feelings, good or bad. He was the first boy I had intercourse with, yes, but I wasn’t in love with him. I wasn’t smitten by his good looks or personality. I suppose I dated him because we were both lonely. It was winter and we were lonely.

That’s not to say he wasn’t a nice guy, so I have decided instead of recording my relationship with him via flippant remarks and a short paragraph in the book… perhaps I would do a little write up on him and some things I remember from our three months together.

Svea was instrumental in introducing us and getting us to date. I recall a few others from their class pushing us towards each other as well – but I don’t recall exactly who. It seemed as though they all knew we were both lonely. I think maybe Viktor was a sad-sack in class about being single; so they thought we could help keep each other company. I doubt the matchmaking had anything to do with actually believing we would be a good fit. Where’s Yente when you need her, eh?

My first date with Viktor was to go see “Analyze This,” he paid which was unusual for Swedish boys to do. Even though I hadn’t thought of this relationship as remarkable, I still kept the ticket stub from that date for quite awhile.

We went one evening for Indian food with some friends, including Svea. He ordered some kind of vindaloo… Someone said it would be too spicy – it had more than one chili noted next to it on the menu. He was confident that he could handle it. Good thing we each ordered a Lassi… because that boy’s face was red and quite literally sweating once he started his food. I tried a bit and oh Lord. Svea and I were used to spicy African fare as well as had eaten our fair share of other ethnic spices… but goodness. This small restaurant somewhere in Stockholm had the most chokingly hot food I had ever tasted.

Viktor persevered because he was not about to be undone by a silly dish of stewed meat.

Later that night, after everyone else had all gone separate ways, Viktor walked me past the Asplund Stockholm Public Library to the train station at Rådmansgatan. On the way I came to find out that he was an Atheist. The thought passed through my mind asking myself if I was okay with that. I had thought I should be with a “Good, Christian Boy.” But then again – no Good, Christian Boys seemed to be interested in me… and previous experience had me realizing saying that they are “Christian” didn’t mean much if they tended to abuse. So we had a chat about it, he asked me if I cared that he was Atheist. I told him, no… It didn’t bother me. He gave me a hug and then kissed me as he dropped me off at the train station. I remember his black pea-coat covered arms felt warm around me, I also remember looking up and thinking his ears must be cold – he wasn’t wearing a hat and his ears were red. Or maybe it was just left over effects of the vindaloo.

We talked about it a bit before doing it. We did the right thing and verified each other’s STD status. We were both virgins, so there you go. Then, on December 6, 1999 I lost my virginity to Viktor. I was 16 years old – soon to be 17. I sometimes wonder about calling myself a virgin then (after all that had gone on with Wyatt), but Viktor was the first guy I had actual intercourse with – so how else would I explain it?

I recall his mum was never home when I went over. I had the base knowledge that he had a tough home life, a broken up family and a mum that didn’t care much (eventually she moved away and left him alone in Stockholm while we were still in Gymnasium so I heard.)

She was nowhere to be seen when he had me come over to his flat. We turned on some music and nervously started about what I was there for. I’ll spare you the gory details – except that I remember hitting my head in the process. SMOOTH. It was also not entirely pleasant on my part. It hurt. He wanted to stop because he saw I was in pain. I told him I’d have to get it over with eventually, so hesitantly he continued on.

Afterwards, we laid in his bed, watching the snow outside of his window fall steadily onto Mariatorget. We joked and teased a bit. I shivered and tried to curl further into the blankets. He grabbed a hold of a hot water pipe that ran along his wall and then placed his now warm hands on me to help warm me up.

We got to talking about now that we had been together for a little while… and got to this point in the relationship, that it must be official. We started talking about couples that have a song. “Don’t people usually have a ‘song’ because they had their first dance to it or something?” I said.

“Well, we just had a first… maybe that song can be our song?”

I laughed. “Okay, Viktor… You do realize that song is called Pathetic, don’t you?”

Viktor and I dated for another couple of months. We continued to sleep together now and again.  I remember what he got me for Christmas that year – a small grey Jansport backpack he knew I wanted, and a couple of posters that he knew I’d like – and that matched a larger one I already had. I thought it was nice to know he actually paid attention to me – my likes, my personality.

But we did not mesh well. We did annoy each other sometimes. Our individual senses of humor were foreign to the other. Eventually I gathered some courage to break up with him. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but I felt nothing. I felt almost trapped in a relationship I didn’t want and I knew it wasn’t fair to either of us to continue the facade. I sat him down on a bench in a common area on the 5th or 6th floor at school. I broke up with him and he accepted it in stride. I felt relieved. I felt quite literally free, and it was exhilarating.

The next day, he told me he had been a bit sad after the break up, but on his way home he felt a weight lift off of his shoulders and realized he felt much the same in our relationship. He too experienced a sense of freedom.

He then assured me he was fine because “Besides, now that I’ve seen it – I can imagine you naked whenever I want to.”

“Fair enough,” I said.

He closed his eyes, smirked,  and murmured “Oh, looking good, Rae.”

I laughed and shoved him, calling him something to the effect of “Jerk.”