Filed under: fear | Tags: Clark Kent, cutting, superhero, Superman, survivor of child sexual abuse
As I mentioned in my last post, I had to go to a conference this last weekend. I didn’t want to go, but I had to. Though you’d never know it when you meet me, I have social phobia. You’d never know it because when you meet me, I am all smiles and sparkling conversation. Inside though, I am scared you think I am a fat bumbling idiot, and I wish I were at home in the safety of my own bed.
Anyway, I went to the conference with my usual conference friend (the one who used to cut herself), and another woman. I like the other woman but it’s difficult to get close to her. She plays her cards very close to her chest. I realized when the weekend was over that she hadn’t really told me much about her personal life.
Both women are married. Both apparently have satisfying sex lives with their husbands. Now mind you, I wouldn’t choose either of their husbands for myself, but they each must see something in their husbands that sparks their love for them.
I asked them both about their sex lives. I know that what happened with my ex is fairly unusual, but the truth is that I married someone who was never going to push me on sex, and I am pretty sure I did that purposely. I didn’t know she was a woman in a man’s body, obviously, but I did know that I was never pushed on sex with my ex when we were together. So I asked my conference companions about their sex lives.
They both seemed to really enjoy sex. One of them was raised in a Catholic household where sex was ‘naughty’ or ‘taboo’. My friend (the cutter) was raped in her first relationship. She then slept with a series of men afterwards so that she could ‘take the power back’. I get that. I went the other way and couldn’t ever get comfortable enough in a relationship with a man to sleep with him (until my husband).
I felt so – ‘otherized’ when we were all talking. They both know my situation (in terms of being married to a trans woman), and I think they have both guessed that I have a trauma history. It’s like one of those things that we all tiptoe around but no one ever says ‘I was fucked when I was a kid and that’s why I am fucked up now’.
The conference, as usual, was a difficult experience for me. It’s kind of like being Spiderman or Superman. They have to be one way in front of people, but they know this enormous secret about themselves that shapes everything about who they are. In front of people, especially at work, I am put together, polished, smiling, funny, etc. In my own private world though, I am a survivor of incest and child sexual abuse, and it has informed every single aspect of my life.
I did some courageous things at the conference. Well, courageous for me. A few times, I walked to my hotel room from the lobby alone, and I stayed in the room for a few hours by myself too. Normally I am so afraid of rape that I refuse to be alone in hotel hallways or hotel rooms. But this time I told myself there are a lot of people at the conference and at the hotel; I am not really alone.
So even though I felt like shit about myself because I was measuring my sexual unsucesses with their sexual successes, I still did some courageous things at the conference, and that’s pretty cool.
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