I hate abusive stories from my childhood. They’re humiliating. I feel humiliated by them. I did at the time, and I do now. And that’s a kind of buy-in, isn’t it? My silence. My tentative, “It’s not OK that you did that.” Or, “You can’t treat me like this anymore.” You accept the secrets of your family, the apple-pie facade, or you don’t. I tried hopscotch for years, but it doesn’t work. Eventually you’ll step where you’re not supposed to.
My parents don’t want me to be happy if happy involves being with a woman. No doubt that should be a shorter sentence. My parents don’t want me to be happy. And? So what? I’m all grown up. What difference does it make whether or not they want me to be happy? Whether or not they wish me well? I suppose you could say that about any relationship. Why not just cut and burn?
I have spent most of my life attempting to separate sex from humiliation. Or, to restate, I have been putting out humiliating fires for as long as I can remember. At a dinner recently, a woman told me I looked like I’d dated a lot. It was such an odd thing to say. Are you calling me a slut? Cause that’s actually a word I’m comfortable with. I love sluts. They have chosen to enjoy themselves. They have stepped outside Judeo-Christian bigotry, the lies of patriarchy, and asserted their sexual selves. You don’t get to control them. They are liberated.
My earliest memories are of masturbation. The worst stories I know involve attempts to crush out my sexuality as though it were a cigarette. It’s terrifying to realize you have been owned. And in so many ways, it’s worse to find yourself suddenly free. I don’t keep secrets for people. I don’t even keep my own. Is that liberation? Is it? I think it is. Hard-won. Hard-kept. Hard. But these things are mine. They happened to me. That does not mean they are my fault. That means they are mine to disclose. Mine to reveal. Mine to unravel.