Belonging to me
So, to the nub of the issue: I don't feel like I belong to me.
Homework, sitting through the memories of the attack, not helping any. Desperately trying to find a way to sleep with my husband, not helping any. Getting stared at at our hotel's swimming pool by guys, then with hard eyes in the ladies' changing room, yep, you guessed it, not helping any.
I keep wondering if that first rape is just me making mountains.... Then I remember that I had got naked with guys before, lovely, shy, not pushing me guys who made it fun and joyous and who help me now focus and accept that it isn't my prudishness and shame combining to 'pretend' the rape was rape. It just was.
But... Those were rare, lovely, innocent times. We're getting in T to discussing my first bf., the first guy I slept with, with whom it was fun... except on the times it wasn't. When it wasn't consensual.
And I begin to struggle with trying to find a safe place, a safe time, when I belonged to me.
My father's favourite part of my body was my neck. He said it was long, like a swan's. Actually, I have tiny shoulders (I have to alter vest tops etc). My grandmother loves my hands and forbids me from doing washing up, especially if I try with no gloves. My mum has loved my wasp-waist forever, though even when I was markedly underweight, she would tell me my bottom was too big. My aunt, she loves my rack, as she's also blessed in the large cup area, and everyone loves my crazy long legs...
... This is what I heard through my teens. All of me neatly objectified and marked by my nearest and dearest, a constant soundtrack that I can't remember starting, it was always so prevalent.
I got my period when I was 10. You can imagine how physically 'visible' I was, how early on.
I remarked to my mother a couple of years ago when staying with her, alone, how strange it was that she got dressed in the bathroom, as she and my father always used to streak across the bathroom.
'But we did that to try and relax you about your body.'
So I was skittish. Noticeably so (though making the upstairs landing an 'unsafe' place for your teenage daughter seems an odd way to deal, to me). I do remember in my teens her and my aunt pulling my towel away to check on my physique. I was prudish; I craved both quiet and physical privacy in a family that went the other way.
And this is why I am concerned that I may have judged sexual encounters as more threatening than they were intended. I once, when I was eight, had a full on row with a nurse who suggested I go for a wash - there was no way I was getting undressed somewhere strange in front of strangers...
And so now, I want a bit of time feeling like I belong to me. But my nearest, well-meaning relations always deemed this attitude wrong, and it's now playing havoc with my desire for children, for sex. And this is where I am stuck. I don't know fundamentally whether the way I want to be treated and perceived is right or not.
Holy crap. How can I not know if feeling threatened when eyed is right or not? It's not, it's hyper vigilance, it's a symptom of malady.... But it's also a pretty natural place for me to reside. It's how I've always been. Shy, retiring, private.
My mother never used to understand why at big family gatherings after two or three days I'd need a few hours alone with a book. It was always presented to me as a massive character flaw, which mercifully my father would allow and run interference for. Being allowed to change in private was on a par for me, though clearly not as well received.
I'm in a mighty muddle over this one. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.