13 August 2013

Knowledge is in the Body

When I was 15, I was sexually abused.

There. I said it.

Why am I telling you this? Why now?

A couple of reasons: Trying for a baby stirs up all sorts of feelings. It has the power to change radically a woman's perspective. Second, I'm reading this book by Christiane Northrup, M.D., called  Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom. Keep in mind that I've only read 15% of it according to my Kindle, so I can't offer a full book review (yet).

My initial, knee-jerk reaction to the book's holistic approach to disease and health, including discussions on vibration, chakras, and so on, was to balk like someone who just swallowed the slimy skin that forms on boiled milk. Ughhh....! What is this wishy-washy, let's-hold-hands-in-a-prayer-circle-and-sing-Kumbaya bullshit? 

But then, I really want to have a baby, and recently had a part of my cervix sliced off... and the Clomid my MD prescribed is playing havoc with my cycle (TMI? Between the cystic acne, bouts of sadness, and bloating, I've got my fingers crossed that I won't have to swallow the next two rounds of pills. Oh, did I also mention that Clomid is expensive, and not covered by your private health care plan? On the bright side though, it does have one funny side effect: Near ovulation my labia and clit swell and become extra sensitive -- so much so that I can feel them through my clothes at any time of the day. PC says that I look like my pussy's been pumped with a suction cup!) 

You could say that I'm getting desperate. I'm liable to buy that snake oil just in case it actually works. I'm on the verge of believing in miracles. 

Back to this book: The main premise, as I understand it so far, is that our emotional state (conscious and unconscious) has the power to impact our health in a big way. True that. If I am stressed out about a deadline, I always feel it in my shoulders or lower back. I also get headaches. However, dealing with emotions I allow myself to feel is easy. I am aware of them, I can pinpoint their source, and I can eventually find a constructive way to remedy the situation. 

Unconscious emotions are another story. The feelings I bury in my body because I am too afraid to feel them, the ones that I rationalize instead of experience: These emotions are difficult to access. According to Northrup, they come back to bite us in the form of bodily symptoms. (Keep in mind that she does not claim that sickness is all in our heads; the argument is more subtle than that. Think of it this way: The "mind" inhabits every particle of your body.)

Gaining access to these buried emotions requires reflection, introspection, and the ability to be honest with myself. Ok, here goes!  

The Abuse

When I was 14 I became infatuated with my 23 year-old swim team coach. As an adult, he should have known better, but he chose to return my affections instead of maintaining a healthy professional distance. We had an "affair" for close to six months. It only ended because my parents figured it out. My mother confronted him. She came to realize that he was in love with me. She decided not to press charges because his feelings were genuine. More importantly, she was afraid of the impact that a public trial would have on my psyche and reputation. 

We never had "sex"; our physical intimacy was limited to making out and him touching my breasts. I had no interest in his cock or having my pussy touched at that age. 

Six months after the initial affair ended, he moved to my street. I would run into him regularly. Sometime after my 15th birthday, I went over to his house. I remember making out. He pulled my hand and placed it inside his pants, to stroke his cock. I remember thinking: "The skin is so soft...." Then, out of nowhere, rushing for the door. (I left and never saw him again.) 

We stayed in touch by phone without my parents' knowledge until I was 18. It was easier to tell him my feelings than anyone else. He was a confidant, conveniently removed from my life, but always on the fringes. He had told me more than once that when I turned 18, he would marry me.  I stopped calling. 

The Rationalization 

For the longest time I always downplayed what happened. "There was no sex," I would tell myself, "so I wasn't really abused." Sure. Whatever. Why is it that I ended up in emotionally destructive relationships for most of my youth (PC being the exception to this rule -- the man is a godsend!) Why is it that I was never really into cocks until I reached my 30s? Hum.... 

The Attempt at Assimilation

In the last couple of years I have revisited the swim team coach scenario in my own private fantasy world and added new layers of humiliation.... I imagine that he blindfolds me, and tells me that he's going to pretend to touch me as if he were someone else. Then, without my knowledge, he lets a friend of his into the room, who proceeds to lick, finger, and fuck my ass without a condom.... I hear the coach laugh from the doorway as his buddy jizzes inside me..... 

Another time I imagine him fucking me in a field, up against his parked car... always from behind. I guess that my perverse humiliation scenarios are a way for me to tell myself that I got fucked? 

The Acknowledgement

So there, yes, I admit it. I was abused. 

Fuck. I just cried as I read over this. I also realized something: Sex -- fantasy scenarios in particular -- are a way for me to articulate unconscious emotions.... Damn, I've tapped into a source of personal knowledge. Wow. (And I always knew that this blog meant something, in spite of what my rational mind claims.)

Now, according to the book, I have to find a way to let go of the pain of my 15 year-old self. I need to forgive her, to embrace her, to love her, to move on. (As for the swim team coach? Fuck him. He's dead to me.)

And so it goes..... 

Emma xox


Anonymous said...

That was very brave and courageous of you. It's good to know that you overcame that part of your life and are able to have a normal adulthood. I hope you are able to fully let go of that horrible incident, and leave it in the past.

P.S. This is the shy early 30s virgin. I'm still a shy virgin, if you are wondering.

Emmanuelle Undine said...

Hi shy guy,

Thanks for your kind words.

Still shy, still a virgin? :)

I used to be very shy when I was a kid. When I turned 14, I decided that I wanted to be outgoing. Although that decision sadly coincided with the crap I described in this post, the outcome of my willingness to come out of my shell, so to speak, was positive overall.

Before jumping into social situations, I would observe the "outgoing" girls to figure out how they behaved and why they were so popular. Then I tried to model their behaviour (note that I could distinguish between the insecure girls who flaunted themselves for male attention and the confident ones who were at ease with themselves and with others in social situations. I chose to imitate the latter).

Anyhow, it took time for me to actually feel comfortable in groups, and I still don't enjoy being the centre of attention. Eventually though, I did manage to overcome my shyness.

Keep in mind that the transition was awkward at first: Inside I didn't feel confident, but tried my best to make an effort to interact with people by initiating conversations. A couple of things I did learn: Listening is a highly valued social skill. You can listen to someone with your whole body, by turning towards them, maintaining eye contact, smiling, etc. And there are polite ways to disagree with someone.

Second, as a shy person, my acute self-consciousness was really all in my head (ok, with the exception of when I showed up to class in what the boys called "flood pants" and got teased for a week). Most people are too self-involved to pick up on the little things that your own mind imagines that they notice. And people often forget these little things quite easily.

Eventually, I observed a transition in my own perception. As a shy person, my mind used to magnify and replay my social blunders. I even lost sleep over them! As I forced myself to become more confident, my mind focused less and less on the "mistakes" and switched to paying attention to the positive things that had taken place. Besides, blunders humanize us, and can be endearing. ;)

Does that help any?

Emma xox

Anonymous said...

Well, when I say I'm shy. It's not like I am quiet in the corner all alone all the time.
I can talk to people I know, but I normally don't have much to say. Up until a certain point my brain goes blank and I say nothing.
I don't really talk to strangers too much.

I have real low self-confidence, and it's hard for me to talk myself up, especially when I don't believe it. But I have to try something.
As much as I may want it, I don't think I will ever meet a kind-hearted soul who will ask me out and will gladly teach me about sex, having a social life, etc... I will have to do all the hard work.
Thank you for your help.