When it’s been a long time [and by long time I mean putting my past at the bottom of the Columbia]

Posted: September 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

After a good long silence a bit of an explosion is in order. This is my cycle: isolate, push every face away, get pent up and pressurized, downright angsty—and then go buck wild. Change everything overnight and every night after. Where I would make every excuse to stay home and stew suddenly I can’t shut the door before I’m out again. I can’t even sit still long enough to read or write. And where I couldn’t even talk to people suddenly all I can think about is sex with them, with everyone I come across that’s even remotely attractive. I go swimming and want to fuck the awkward shy girl, I check out at the grocery store and imagine making out in the bathroom with the hot shopper, I hang out with friends and everything I say is an innuendo. I work this way, keep people out most of the time until I snap and I set out to get lots and lots of sex. But thinking about having sex with everyone I come across and actually doing so are not the same reality. When I hit this peak in my libidinous tide I really enjoy thinking of myself as a player, able to just have sex with whomever, spur of any moment—but really I’m bluffing.

Sex is a cure all for adult angst, for career angst, for single parenting angst. And in my small and often insidious counter-culture sex is just another thing to do; it never has to have strings attached unless you want it to—unless you choose to go there. Strings attached just are not cool. And technically I agree, who needs strings attached? Minor glitch is, and by glitch I mean truth, I am all strings.

Not strings that look to strangle or turn to mesh, no, not strings that ooze goopy romanticism all over the stoop, or ones that grip too tightly but strings none-the-less. Mine are thick and frayed like cordage or ships’ lines. My strings strut around as if they make an impenetrable coil of fancy knot-work though really they are low on fancy and embarrassingly penetrable. The glitch of the matter is that these strings have been through some shit and don’t forget easily. My strings had a long spell of keeping knotted and determinedly unattached because of a past I’m gearing to drown in the Columbia.

Perhaps to you readers who are carefree and giving with your strings casual sex is cake [and eating it too as they say]. Those of you who have a dangle of loose silks, which slip, in and around the fine cilia of your lovers without a snag or tearing snap at the close.  [I have come across your kind with envy.] Or maybe you who are hardcore poly-amorous and have five lovers at all times with your ultimate multi-tasking strings of pliable and sturdy jute, maybe you scoff at my simpleton strings. They are simple, yes, in structure, in shape, but more importantly they are tired—I’ve fought my guts out to to get my strings to be here in me. To say, no strings attached, in my life now is to lie about everything I desire. To say, no strings attached, perpetuates and exacerbates a past I am done with containing. Yes river, gulp this up for me, take my shit to the sea, she’s an old friend, she’ll know a good place to bury toxic cargo for sure.

Maybe sit yer ass down now, I’m about to get heavy. [Seriously I’m about to get real about sexual abuse so if this freaks you out stop reading and go snuggle with a loved one.]

*            *            *

I was molested when I was five, pressured into experimenting when I was eight and then date raped when I was fifteen. This shouldn’t shock anyone taking notes on our twenty-first century culture. Seems like an overwhelming majority of people experience some sort of sexual abuse or misuse of power. Yea, I think there’s a distinction to be made here. When my thirteen-year-old cousin pressured and convinced me to experiment with our bodies he wasn’t sexually abusing me, he was misusing the dominating power of his age and my idolization of his olderness. But cousin was just a kid too. He was just as freaked out by the ordeal.

He didn’t mean to hurt me, his only real inconsideration was to put his need to explore and have an experience to brag about ahead of his sense of right and wrong. But he was thirteen, right and wrong is still blurry then, still gets pressed and mushed around before taking on a form that sticks. I really don’t harbor ill feelings towards him though our ease and playfulness died with that awkward and less than brag worthy experiment. Pretty sure this experience produced a solid shape for his quaky morals. I worry he might carry shame for that romp in the basement; he was only just coming face to face with his desires, how was he supposed to understand their power without pushing into the unknown. Dear cousin, don’t be hard on your self, desire fights hard to be fulfilled, goes to great lengths indeed.

Now when Dell [name changed for privacy] choked me to prove he could kill me if he didn’t get a rockin blowjob out of the night, he abused me, abused the fine line between right and wrong. He was a large chiseled man of twenty-two, a wrestling champion, a man with a fully formed concept of right and wrong. Damn straight he knew what he was doing was wrong. I vividly remember the look of his gray eyes: slightly soft around his greasy eyelid edges with sharp and focused irises. He knew it was wrong, and he was determinedly all right with it. Dell decided consciously to take what he wanted regardless if it was being offered or not. Dell’s desire that night took all despite the weak sounds of protest from me and from his obviously meek conscience.

Does Dell then deserve to feel ashamed for his actions [given that he remembers them]? I’m in the no camp, and no, this isn’t stemming from victim’s guilt. Don’t worry, I don’t feel guilty about being raped. I don’t feel like I provoked it, deserved it, asked for it, etc [which isn’t to say I’ve never felt this, just that I’ve come a long way]. Shame is a dangerous feeling to harbor, especially in a person who is so easily mastered by their desires [as in Dell]. I worry that Dell’s shame could have caused him to re-offend. Shame mixing up with desire can sneakily warp a reality [or two].

Sigh. And there’s Stan [name changed for privacy, and by privacy I mean safety].  Stan was a self-appointed godfather in my young life and boy did I enjoy going to church [Baptist] with him and his beautiful wife that I loved dearly and sit mesmerized by the choir and feel like I was big, bigger than I had any reason to be. Those dangling legs of mine loose and relaxed, my little chest clear, I was fully awake. It is strange to remember the last moment of feeling naively safe; it is awful strange, but I remember vividly the last time I felt anchored to my body.

The church is one image before the basement in my files. There is the church and the hot summer sidewalk and Petite, the black teacup poodle, and the plate of peas I had to finish and the wood paneling and the ground level windows. Stan wasn’t an innocently exploring kid or a morally-corrupt-but-fully-formed man, Stan was sick. Actually sick, with a completely skewed sense of reality. Right and wrong never formed in his world. He couldn’t grasp the boundaries [and by boundary I mean chasm] between his desires and a child’s lack of desire. A kid only wants safety, that’s it. [By safety, I mean love.]

For too many decades I’ve hung in my body like a cobweb in the guest bedroom corner—barely. Stan displaced me from my own body, made my body feel so utterly foreign and frightening that I would flinch from being touched at all. As I grew into a sexually active teen and young adult I didn’t feel anything when I fucked whoever would fuck me. I refused to get emotionally close, in fact felt embarrassed by and ashamed when I tried to care for someone. I didn’t live, after all, in my body—not my physical body, not my emotional body, and hell, I couldn’t even fathom a spiritual body.

Well I forgave Stan. I had to forgive Stan to move into a body that I felt safe to be in, my body, damn it. I live in here now, all my rooms painted brightly. And to fill out the shape of my space solidly, to take up my body with my own self, my own unfettered desires—I have to forgive Dell. It is harder to forgive Dell. Dell scared the shit out of me. He seriously cut off the circulation to my emotional body, my strings. Where I should have been growing love-in-the-mist flowers he’d gone and planted thistle. To forgive Dell is to possess desire as my own rather than mindlessly taking on others’ desires as my own. [Owning my desires scares the shit out of me.] Ultimately this means that sex and my strings must be inextricable.  To fuck now and not feel my strings zinging to life is to shit in my kidneys, to literally shit in my guts, to defecate right into my bloodstream.

If I am to be a thriving survivor of sexual abuse [opposed to barely surviving] then I have to be fully alive: physically, emotionally, and spiritually [by spiritual I mean that absolute unnameable piece of our humanness which is a body we all share]. Sex is the culminating behavior that engages all three of these elements at once. See, I know too fucking well the feeling of being hollowed out of my own body, so I am here now, strings splaying every which way. Sex is a wise thought out choice that I make, an experience that I won’t actually share with just anyone; I do, however, let myself pretend I’m all-spontaneous and carefree and even dangerous. But shit, If I am going to awaken my desire, desire that I fought my eyeballs out to forge strong in me, than damn straight there are strings attached. There’s a certain responsibility that goes along with sharing physical intimacy that can’t help but be emotional and also spiritual. This doesn’t mean I want to U-Haul it in and build a life together forever [though secretly I will play out that scenario in my head because this makes a chosen lover feel safer for me, because domesticity and the mundane is about as safe as it gets].

Yep, my strings are all there—halle-fuckin-lujah. They are palpable if you allow yourself to find them, and though I know it’s not cool, you can pass your hand along their coarseness; perhaps find a silken patch to twine your fingers in. [That’s if you can get down my pants.]

  1. samantha says:

    Yulya-Thanks for sharing this. I love your fierceness, and have thought a lot about the intersection of abuse and desire. How it’s shaping our culture, and how we can both accept that it happens all the time, and fight like hell against its continuation.
    Moving past victimization is hard. Congratulations.

    • james says:

      thank you for this beautiful articulated ghost story. yr words and slices of story are super powerful and so brave to put out there. fuk yes for repiecing togethers and hard fought for strings…. much love and appreciation

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