This is not about that. This is about how I wore ‘that’ stain on my name like a goddamned trophy. This is about every boy I ever loved, ruined and devoured. This is about how I was able to learn love, self-worth and kindness for myself.
When abuse happens, how does one overcome years and years of shattered self-esteem? How is one supposed to love another when there is no love for oneself?
Talk about a long, strenuous legal process that stretched over 8 years, sessions with many different (female) therapists and the only one who ever worked well with me was a man, the constant victim-blaming and shaming from my community and the untouched, undiscovered area of sexual intimacy and relationships. It was a lot to manage but I found people who helped me along the way. Through healing comes self-love, reflection, deep disappointment and understanding that what has happened will never be my fault and can never be undone. It's learning how to manage feelings around it, how I can build myself up to live a life that's worth fulfilling and how to love another.
So how did I navigated my way through sex and intimacy when I experienced complex trauma?
For starters it was extremely difficult because I was in between homes, no one was giving me any advice on safe-sex OR safe relationships and I was so vulnerable that any sort of ‘affection’ was wanted. I've 'loved’ many, but the few who have given back to me have helped me figure out my feelings toward sex over the years. The first relationship was when I was 15 and still, I was struggling with the idea of sex and to be in a (heterosexual) relationship meant having sex, right? Nope, it really doesn’t but you get what I mean.
This terrified me, sex. Actually, I was terrified of dicks for a very long time and thought they were THE ugliest things on the planet (might still be true). So weird when I think back on that. So yes, the first relationship sets up the rest to follow right? I found the total opposite of my father, a white-Australian guy with blonde hair and blue eyes. We were together for almost 4 years and the things I take most from that relationship is the fact that he helped me to find intimacy, be safe in sex and secure in love. Which is how relationships should be!
Side break: I reflect on every relationship I knew growing up, and everyone just seemed miserable, there were no displays of affection, no kindness. Call me naive but kindness should be a damn necessity in any relationship. It’s incredibly sad to say and even those ones that stood the test of time, they had given up and decided to stay together for the kids. What kind of a relationship like that, will anybody benefit from? If the parents are miserable with one another than why put your children through that? I tell you, people can be incredibly selfish.
Back to the story… Some great advice my foster mothers gave to me was the analogy of the shark cage. Now trust me it sounds incredibly strange but it makes a world of sense; so the woman is inside the cage and the sharks are ‘men’ (I know, not all men are sharks… sure.) and the question is; how strong is your shark cage? If there are holes, then, of course, these sharks (men) can get in and we need to patch those up asap. It’s about filtering out the assholes and protecting yourself because it’s important to do so.
There were other men who were fucking fantastic, you know, didn’t put pressure on me to have sex all the time, respected my opinions and they just treated me so nicely. But I wasn’t ready for any relationship due to dealing with a nasty break-up with the first guy (it almost took us a year to fully end the relationship, lots of back and forth). In the end, I destroyed myself by ‘playing the game’ and not caring for the broken-hearted girl inside, I was ruthless and bitter. I didn’t care if a guy wanted this or that, all I knew was that I was there to get my bit in and didn’t care if he did or not. I wasn’t myself and I resented that. I’ve always considered myself a romantic and I mean buying flowers for my guy, writing sweet little notes for him, deeply invested in cuddles and other stuff. So it was awful being this emotionless robot who only cared for herself because I was afraid of getting hurt again, it really fucking sucked.
The next relationship I had was with a guy who I feel had no regard for me, meaning I never knew when I had him or not. Most of the time made me feel crazy, or perhaps I just was? We took a lot of drugs together and partied hard like I said emotionless robot and soon after I found out I was pregnant! Long story short, I terminated the pregnancy because that relationship was never going anywhere. People will most probably blast me for not having safe-sex but that’s okay, I feel terrible for that but I did try the pill, the 3-month needle and condoms but mostly I ended up in the hospital with horrible pains from the contraception.
Relationships have and always will be hard for me and I think for everyone else. There is a lot of maintenance and self that is put into one when you’ve found someone you really enjoy and love. I for one have to keep myself in check when things get hard, I have a tendency to feel unappreciated and often have thoughts about other men and that perhaps they would appreciate me better but you know, I just take a few deep breaths, bitch to some girlfriends about the situation and honestly wait out the feelings and urges.
My (real) opinion is that we as humans aren't meant to be monogamous, we’re simply here to spread our seed and flower a bunch of babies everywhere but there's that and then there is love. I don't care how damn hard it gets if I want it and I care for it, I will nurture the shit out of my relationship with my man. And I do, so here we are and so far these past 4 and half years have been a wild roller coaster ride with plenty of love, failure, achievements, communication, miscommunication, respect and maintenance.
Does anyone have relationship advice to share? Or if you yourself can relate to the hard work that is put into a relationship?
Live, love & prosper