Reasons You Shouldn’t Fuck Kids

Reason #298: Our Burdens Get Too Heavy To Carry
July 31, 2012, 12:34 am
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You remember that work friend I was telling you about, the one I went to that conference with?  She’s having a rough time. Her boss set up a meeting with her, and we kind of sensed in advance it wasn’t going to go well.  Unfortunately, our senses were right. Her boss ended up screaming at her, apparently.  I wasn’t there for this, but my friend texted me about it when the whole thing was over.  After that, a bunch of people from work talked to me about it. I’m not sure if they talked to me about it because they know we are friends, or if it because I am a more seasoned member of the team (since they are all kinda newbies).  I guess it really made an impression, whatever transpired between my friend and her boss. My friend has been totally fucked up ever since, avoiding our normal work site like the plague.

Anyway, my friend and I had to go to an off-site meeting the other day. She arrived wearing a dress we bought together on the way up to the conference.  It’s a sleeveless dress, and she was wearing a pretty black sweater over it.  I told her she looked really pretty, and complimented her on her dress.  She said that she usually wears a different sweater with it, but she lost that sweater so she had to wear this one.  I told her it looked good, and we went into our meeting.

It wasn’t until much later in the day that I realized that my friend was wearing a long-sleeved black sweater in the middle of a hot summer day. And then it hit me – she’s probably cutting again.  That’s why she felt she had to explain her sweater, because she was self-conscious about it..  She has never explained her clothing choices to me, nor has she ever worn long sleeves in summer. This is what happens when you rape people – they end up finding terrible ways to cope with terrible things.  She copes with her pain by cutting herself.

I asked her to go to lunch with me this Wednesday; I told her if she needs a shoulder, I have one available.  I don’t feel comfortable telling her I know why she is wearing a long-sleeved sweater.  When I was cutting, I would have been embarrassed if someone I didn’t want to know had found out and pointed it out to me.

The piss of this whole thing is that about two weeks ago, I had some serious urges to cut.  I thought about cutting my arms, which was always my place of choice.  But I didn’t feel comfortable doing that because it is summer and my workplace would totally judge me for that.  Then I thought about cutting my stomach, but I didn’t feel comfortable with that either.  (Less than a year ago I had multiple gall bladder surgeries, and I just didn’t want to re-traumatize an area that has already been traumatized.)  I thought about cutting my breasts, but I fed my baby with those, and I don’t want to cut them up.  So I thought about cutting my legs.
I couldn’t find a reason not to cut there, so I thought about it some more.

Finally, I decided that that was the old butterfly, not the me I am now.  The old butterfly used to cut myself when I was hurting as a way to relieve the pain.  I am not that butterfly anymore. I have learned things since then, and one of the things I have learned is that emotional pain sucks shit but it won’t last forever.  The urge to relieve emotional pain by cutting yourself can be obliterated just by sharing that pain with someone else.  I talked to my ex about my urges to cut, and we explored all the emotion that was driving those urges.  After that, I didn’t need to cut anymore.

I am worried about my friend though.  I know what it’s like to feel alone and scared that things in life are not going well. I wish I could tell her that it’s okay and that I wouldn’t judge her for cutting.  I wish I could share that sometimes I still mentally go to those dark places too.

I once read that if you’ve been traumatized, you are much more likely to be empathetic to trauma survivors than if you hadn’t been traumatized.  I am sure that I feel some sort of allegiance to her because of that. I almost kind of feel like a big sister to her, if that makes any sense.

I hope she finds her way, and I hope I do too.  We are both good people who have been hurt by malevolent people. It’s not our fault, but it is our burden to carry.  I hope both of our loads lighten in time so that we can walk straight again.  I will sing a prayer of healing for each of us tonight.

Reason #297: A Funeral, A Ritual, Something to Mark this Time

Last week, I told my therapist that in a week my ex-husband is shedding his/her male identity entirely, and going full-time female. (She began her new life as an outwardly-appearing female today, though she has understood herself as a female for about a year and a half now.)  Yes, we are still living together.

I thought I was past the grief, but I guess no matter how much you anticipate a punch, it still hurts. So I have been crying over the loss of what I thought was a man who loved me. The only man who ever loved me, who ever waited long enough to let me work up to sex with him, the only man who I was ever able to trust as a lover. Of course, it all makes sense now that I was able to trust him as a lover – he was actually a she inside. If you believe the prevailing theories, which I do, then you believe that transsexuals are people who have the body of one gender, but the brain of the other one. So, in the case of my husband, while she has the body of a male, she has the brain of a female.

Anyway, my therapist said “Have you thought about having a funeral for him? For the husband you have lost?”

I like the idea of it. I like the idea of rituals, certainly. I remember once I took a class called “Women and Judaism”, and it was taught by a female rabbi. She said that sometimes incest survivors like to ‘claim their body back’ as their own, and they do a cleansing ritual called a ‘mikvah’. (The mikvah looks strikingly similar to the Christian practice of baptism, in that they both involve water.) When the Rabbi told us about that idea, I liked it. I like rituals that validate the things we experience in life.

The thing about my kind of loss is that it’s not quite as ‘real’ a loss as everyone else can see. I mean, for instance, my mother in law lost her husband to cancer two weeks before I lost mine to another gender, and everyone came to her house and ate with her and passed the horrible shitty time where it was all raw and the loss was so bad. It was like that for me, all raw and shitty, for like 7 months or so. From the time she told me she’s a she to a month or two after I almost died in the hospital.  The thing is though, where my mother in law has had the world acknowledge her loss, I have had mine hidden for the most part.  With each new person that my ex ‘comes out’ to, it’s kind of a coming out for me too.  But even then, the focus is on her (as it should be).  With each ‘coming out’, I was reminded of what I had lost.

While I still ‘have’ my ex in human form, I have lost my marriage, my future with this man, and any dreams/plans that came along with that.  I am suddenly in the process of divorce and single, and worst of all, shunned by a lot of idiots who can’t seem to deal with a male-looking person appearing as a female in front of them.  We went to the restaurant the other day, and the waiter stared at us for so long and hard, I wasn’t sure if he was actually going to take our order or not.  It was pretty pathetic.

But definitely one of the worst parts is the fact that she doesn’t seem to want me anymore.  She is very focused on herself and her trajectory towards femaleness, in physical, emotional, and social spirit. She is exactly where she should be, in terms of her life path.  I am dust in the wind now, someone that she used to love in the way that two people in love can love each other.

In thinking about a ceremony, I wonder what kind of ceremony is appropriate. In a terrible way, she is actually yet another person who gained my trust and then set about breaking it. And then broke me in the process.  I feel as though I cannot trust what anyone is telling me.  It’s not her fault; I mean, she says she didn’t know that she was a woman until a year and a half ago.  But the effect on me is the same. In a way, this whole thing is so similar to surviving incest.  There’s so much loss and grief that goes along with surviving it, and yet no one grieves with you.  No one comes over and brings a casserole and just sits with you because they know you have lost something and are sad and hopeless about life.  Surviving incest needs a freaking ceremony too.  A funeral for who we were, the innocent child that has died.  A ritual for all that we have lost.  And a celebration that we survived and all the great things we will accomplish because of the adversity we have suffered.

I wish I did have the courage to bury ‘him’ and this relationship along with it.  I wish I had the courage to walk free and break free of my own chains.  I wish I had the courage to even just be my best self. Fuck, I wish I had the courage just to walk out my own front door without overwhelming fear and panic.

I don’t feel ready to bury him. I suppose no one is ever ready for death though.  I feel like an idiot even discussing this.  The actual person is alive just in a totally different form that includes wigs, dresses, a lot of time spent with make-up in front of the mirror, and constant “Do I look alright?” questions.  The superstitious part of me is afraid of even talking about this, lest G-d take the human too instead of just the man.

I pray for a positive end to this suffering, to the nights spent in terror and the days spent in hopelessness.

I thought about cutting myself the other day, for the first time in 10 years.  I hate myself so much for ever trusting him, for marrying him, for being so fucking stupid about all of this.



Reason #296: Oprah’s interview of four child molesters

I have had this episode of Oprah on my DVR for months now, and I was finally feeling ‘safe’ enough to watch it.  In this episode, she had a candid conversation with four convicted child molesters, all of whom had been in therapy for years after their conviction.

Child Molester 1: 65 year old pedophile who was convicted for molesting a 5 year old girl who was not his biological grandchild, but called him ‘Grandpa’.

Child Molester 2: Man in his early 40’s, convicted of molesting his 12 year old daughter.

Child Molester 3: Man in his 20’s, convicted of molesting his cousin who was 3 years younger than him.  Started molesting her when he was 8 and she was 5.

Child Molester 4: Man in his 20’s, convicted of raping teenagers.

All acknowledged that they still had the capacity to be harmful to children except for #4, which I thought was hilarious because of them all, he seemed like the most likely to rape a child again.  So he was obviously also in the most denial. 

Anyway, so Oprah was interviewing them, and they were all answering candidly.  They all said that trust from their victims was essential, and that they worked very hard to gain their victims’ trust to make sure that they could then go on to molest these kids.  They said that even when their victims told on them, the molesters told lies to the parents so that the molesters would be believed and the victims would be called liars.

Almost towards the end of the interview, she asked them all if there was anything that any of the victims could have done to stop the molestation at any point.  They all acknowledged, after prodding from their therapist, that there was nothing that their victims could have done at any point to stop the molestations from occurring.  Except for the father who molested his daughter.  He said this: “She did stop me. She did the absolute right thing by turning me in to the police.  She has every right to protect herself.”

This father understood that he was doing something very wrong when he was molesting her, and in his own words he formed ‘an obsession’ with her.  I have read about these kinds of incesters before, and it is a specific sub-type of incest, where they form an obsession with their own daughter.  My dad’s type of incest was different, in that he only started wanting me when my mom rejected him for a few years (sleeping in separate bedrooms for years, etc.).  Please don’t mistake me – this is not and was not my mom’s fault.  A normal father does not start wanting his daughter if his wife isn’t putting out.  It wasn’t my mom’s fault that he molested me.  It was, however, her fault for not being physically or emotionally present for me, which created an atmosphere that allowed my father to molest me.  But it was not her fault that he molested me – that is his fault. 

Anyway, after that father said that bit about his daughter having every right to protect herself – I thought to myself about his daughter’s healing trajectory.  Hopefully she heals from her abuse with the knowledge that even her own perpetrator felt she did the right thing by turning him in. As someone who did ask the court for protection against her dad, I know first-hand how traumatic the whole thing can be. 

As you know, my Dad and I are forming our own healing trajectory that is somewhat tentative and shaky.  He has apologized for being an overall shitty dad, and has since made many attempts at amends. He has made reparations and apologies, and most importantly, acts totally different around me now than he used to.  He is supportive and respects my current boundaries, for the most part. However, even with all that, our relationship is as good as it can ever be – and what that means for me is only seeing him in the presence of others, and never EVER leaving my son alone with him under any circumstances.

That is what healing looks like under the best of circumstances.  It means being together with one of my perpetrators only in the presence of others. It means never fully trusting my father even though he has apologized and acts differently towards me as an adult than he did when I was an adolescent.  It means never being able to hug my dad without worrying that he has sinister intentions.  It means always being on guard with my father. It means watching other people and their dads, and never understanding the kind of closeness they seem to have.

This is why you shouldn’t fuck kids.

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