Saturday, June 11, 2011

Externalized contradictions, internalized pain.

I am educated and so passionate about sexuality, health and sexuality, sexuality identity, body image, eating disorders, and so on.

I am so open about telling people to get HIV tests and STI/STD tests. Or being open about annual pap smears and mammograms after reaching the age of 40. Like, I know the times when people should start doing these things. I know where to get pap smears at and if they're poor - I have the resources. I have been open about my pre-cancerous cells on my cervix and the treatable STI I got from an ex-partner.

I am open about use of condoms, birth control, dental dams, and know so much about each type of female birth control such as the pill, Nuva Ring, IUD, etc. I am fairly knowledgeable about the percentage of protection in regard to pregnancy. I am open about sexual partners and being safe. I am supportive about rape issues and sexual abuse and assault. I have resources and so much information for people. I hand out condoms and dental dams, for fuck's sake.

I am open about being bisexual to most people. I support LGBTQ issues. I educate myself about these issues.

It's funny how I desperately try to teach my daughter to love her body AND to eat healthy. Or that I have always been interested in eating disorders and I never want anyone to go through them. I read books and watched movies about them growing up. I know they cause death and other issues. I know they can kill the esophagus and the teeth. I know they can cause infertility and many other awful health risks.

However, I am reading a book about sexuality for women in recovery. And I realized that ALL of this stuff that I am SO educated about and so passionate about - I NEVER applied it to myself.

The truth is, I have an awful hard time with my own sexuality, myself as a sexual being. I have been sexually abused by dad (and I even have a hard time writing or saying "molested" or incest). This has impacted me WAY MORE THAN I ever thought.

I hated my body (and I sometimes still do). I never touched myself until I was 19. I never even thought of doing that because I thought my vulva was gross. Even when I did finally masturbate, I was ashamed of myself and didn't do it for a long time afterward. Almost every partner I have had, I have not had an orgasm. Because everything was for THEM. As long as they finished, whew, I could be done with it. I have never really known what I actually like, sexually, because I've never given myself to chance to figure it out.

When I was thinking, I was having unprotected sex at times and didn't care. Thankfully, I was going in every year for STI testing. But here I was, telling people to USE CONDOMS and DENTAL DAMS and I didn't every time I had sex.

The other night I told my boyfriend some things I had never told anyone to the detail I told him. I told him I hated my body sometimes and these thoughts have been burned into my mind since I can remember. I was specific. I hate my stomach because it's fat. I hate my thighs because they're fat. I hate my calves because they're too big. I hate my the lower part of my shoulder because there's too much skin. I hate my arms because they're too big. I hate that I might get a double chin. I hate how my hands have dimples on them. I hate my hair sometimes. And even more, now that I'm typing: I hate that my face is changing and I'm getting wrinkles because of my age.

What.the.fuck. How could I claim to be body-positive when I hate my own? While I strive for health and don't want people to have health consequences based on their size, weight, etc, I hate my body. But I'm telling others to not hate their body? Why?

I used to wear clothes that were too big for me. I remember visiting my kid's dad in jail with a black shirt and jeans on. He looked at me and said I looked like a slut, put down the phone that we spoke over through the glass, and walked away. That was a turning point. No more form fitting clothing for me. I bought jeans and pants way too big. I didn't know how to dress myself. I wore things that didn't really bring attention to me, but also did at times. I wanted to dress "cool" enough, but also didn't want to look sexy.

I remember thinking I was fat when I was 6 fucking years old. SIX. I remember restricting my food when I was that young. Feeling good when I didn't eat, feeling bad when I did eat. I felt guilty when I ate. When I was 17, it got worse. I was exercising a ton, eating a granola bar a day (and bragging about it), making myself throw up when I did eat. A year after I left my ex, I started taking "natural" laxatives everyday. I didn't like feeling like I had food in my stomach. I'd much rather eat and shit it out. That's what I did for months. No one knew. It felt good. I felt cleansed. When my rabbit died last summer, I started taking these natural laxatives again. I remember being in amazement because my younger sister did not seem to have this issue. I put pillows or sweaters over my stomach when I sat. I still do this. I don't want people to see my nasty stomach. I sit with my hands across my stomach.

When I got sober, I realized almost every partner I had sex with (except, sometimes with my kid's dad) involved alcohol or drugs. I also realized that I honestly didn't have that good of a time with most of them. I didn't get off with most of them. Some of them I used. I had/have such fucking low self esteem, that I would fuck these people and then try to figure out if we had a relationship without actually asking. Then I would be upset when our relationship just ended up being sexual. I DIDN'T WANT THAT, BUT I DID. I didn't want it because I felt used and I wanted it because I realized that if I didn't close to them, then I wouldn't get hurt. Fuck relationships! Fuck monogamy!! Good fucking wall I had so carefully put up. Sometimes I used politics to validate this wall. Example: monogamy is patriarchal and sexist. So fuck it.

As far as my bisexuality goes, I've only been with one woman. So that's not good enough? I constantly judge myself on that. Or think I'm not bisexual enough. God fucking dammit, I can't help it if I like men, too. This is fucking okay. But I also have a hard time with dealing that.

In some ways, this has all been incredibly contradicting. However, in some ways, this is the only way in which I knew how to deal with my own shit. I externalized everything. Absolutely everything without looking at my own issues in the mirror. This was a way for me to be safe. To stay safe. To not get hurt. I could ignore my own shit, while focusing on everyone else. I could pretend as if I truly believed in these ideas, but deep down inside, I never really did accept them.

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