Fastest car

Three weeks zoomed by far too quickly.

He was even calmer, happier, more present with me than before. He’s enjoying getting fit at the gym, he has been helping me build muscle too. Three weeks had me believing that one day, I could shove away my own monster and throw him down into the pit where he belongs.

The younger versions of me in my head have been quite curious. Shy at first, then bold. We all unite into a common goal- get close to him. Show him what you feel.

As always, I’m never rushed. I tease him by standing there naked, but he’s always the gentleman. I think he can tell when fourteen or fifteen year old me peeks through, and he can tell when I need comfort. I feel more whole and less fragmented when I’m with him. He must have cut himself a couple of times, putting the mirror of me back together, but he’s never complained.

Never again am I doing another year apart from him. I reach for who I was when I’m lying next to him. He helps me reach.

Really difficult stuff to talk about.

TRIGGER WARNING- I’ve managed in this post to talk frankly and openly about sex and how screwed up I am over it. Please stay safe, everyone. Some of this is quite graphic, although not all of it is the usual sad stuff I post. Be careful.

So, I have been recently discussing some really difficult shit with Dr K, and of course, it’s haunting me a little. I feel like the fragmented parts of me (the nineteen-year-old in particular) are really freaked out about sex and not sure what is normal any more. In fact, I know that at nineteen, I had been actually having proper sex with my ex for nearly a year and I was confused as hell about why it didn’t feel like all the films said it should.

I was confused by how it used to happen, too. I thought it was attractive to the guy you were with if you crawled into his lap asking for sex. I thought that it was a good indication that you were really interested in him and you thought he was sexy. Apparently, to my ex, it just meant you were a whore. I cannot count the amount of times I was pushed away by him, only for him to re-initiate at least twenty minutes later, once my drive was well and truly off. Then, he would expect a show and I would perform like some sort of whore. At least, that’s what I thought it was like to be a whore. Surely sex was like this for everyone, then, and all the films and movies were lying?

Talking to Dr K about this has thrown up my poor fractured sense of ‘normal/healthy’ again. I told her all of this, and she said it wasn’t right that every time I wanted sex it was thrown back in my face. This reminded me of something that happened between J and I, something that’s hopefully re-wiring how I see approaching J for sex.

So we were pretty tired for about a week whilst I was staying with him, mostly because of the sweaty, baking weather. I was, inexplicably, about as turned on as you can get and had not a clue about how to ask J to help me out with it. Of course, you’re not meant to ask the person you’re with for sex, so I had to just hint and hope. When that didn’t work, I resorted to just pushing all those feelings away, resulting in a horrible depression for at least three days.

J saw there was something wrong and asked me every day, but I couldn’t tell him. I must be warped to want sex this much, it must be programming from my ex to perform, so I just told him I was feeling bad but not why. Eventually though, he decided that it was bad enough to keep pushing me about it. When I did tell him, there was a huge sense of relief.

J did not push me away, reject me, or call me a whore. He was amused that I was that horny and actually very flattered, and told me outright that asking him for sex was really attractive and a huge turn-on for him. I felt suddenly very appreciated, and very relieved. He let me know that of course I wasn’t warped (and so did Dr K as I related this story to her) and that being young and with someone I care about that much will of course make me tick over like a well-oiled engine!

All of this is flies directly in the face of what my ex forced on me. I used to feel so dirty a lot of the time with him, and I’m trying to shake that feeling and re-work my head to accept that what J is telling me is what most people think.

I haven’t mentioned this to Dr K yet, but one of the other things I really struggle with is – gah, I can’t type it without feeling like a fucking whore – masturbation.

Ugh, I remember feeling guilty and wrong and sick over it ever since being really small. I hate guilt. It kills whatever drive I have and gets rid of it faster than a blink. I know logically that it’s not wrong, but I feel horrible for even thinking about it sometimes. In my more manic moments, I literally don’t care, but I am not manic right now and it actually scares and angers me in equal measure that I just can’t process it properly.

J’s helped me a lot. He’s told me so many times it’s good for me, and that I’ll feel less stressed and anxious- after all, after a good orgasm, it’s almost impossible to feel horrible. What I struggle with it that the Church is so condemnatory of any and all sexual feelings and behaviour that I am still conditioned to believe I’m a proper Jezebel, a total whore, for feeling like J is the hottest man on the planet and remembering all the lovely times we’ve spent together in bed. I wish that I’d never been brought up in the Church. It’s responsible for so much of the damage to my psyche.

I’ve also read on various sexual healing sites (like Aphrodite Wounded) that masturbation is actually good for survivors of sexual violence and that it can help you feel less dissociative, and more in touch with your body. I didn’t realise it, but I actually spend a lot of time out of my body, not feeling its aches, pains or pleasures. I’m always fully present when I’m with J, out of necessity, because I don’t want a flashback ruining my mojo! I also don’t want to be trapped in the ether forever, and feeling that safe with J is a great help.

I just wish I was less conflicted about all of this. It’s really hard to actually relax about all of this, what with my ex’s abusive ways and the Church’s abusive sayings floating around in my head. The nineteen-year-old part of me that I talked about before is horribly conflicted. Her view on things pretty much sums it up- want it, shouldn’t want it. Dirty whore.

J would never call me a whore. He thinks my every move is brave, and has been gentle and patient with me since day one. This also brings me to something else that has been conflicting my poor head, something that I know is slowly feeling less weird but is also still a little anxiety-provoking.

I was with J for the first time since Florida last year, in January and February. I remember feeling excited and nervous and a bit frightened of sleeping with him, even though I desperately wanted to. I didn’t want to have a flashback or see my ex where J should be. As you’ve read, I managed to, and I actually enjoyed it, and cried in happiness when it was over. J was lovely with me, held me tight, kissing me and then making me laugh.

What happened a couple of days after was really strange.

My ex used to lash me with a belt, metal side to skin. He would tie me to the bed with handcuffs and leave me there for a while. He would force his hands round my throat and choke me whilst having sex with me, and I’d just lie there and take it all. He called it BDSM. Dr K calls it abuse, and she’s right, it is. Real BDSM can have all those components, but both parties involved agree it’s what fries their chips and gets them off, and they usually sign a contract and also have a safe word AND aftercare when the scene is done. I had none of that.

I was writing something on J’s kitchen table, bent over, and he came up behind me.

“What are you writing, babe?”

“Just a shopping list so we don’t forget anything when we go out.”

“Ok,” he said, and lightly slapped me on the ass.

I froze. That did not feel anything like the awful spankings I would endure under my ex. That… that felt good.

He saw my eyes widen and the pen fall from my hand. “Are you ok?” he asked, and spanked me again lightly.

I shivered. “Y-yes,” I said, and he grinned and spanked me again.

Through clothes, the sensation was incredible. I didn’t get why I was enjoying it, but a few well-placed slaps later and my elbows and knees buckled. J grinned, and helped me upright. I was shaking with pleasure and I’m pretty sure I had a grin plastered on my face.

“That… what was that!?” I asked him. He laughed and kissed me on the forehead.

“So you liked that, did you? More of that later. We have to get to the grocery store now. Can you walk? Are you ok?”

I smiled back and said I could, but he might have to hold onto my until my legs felt less jelly-like. He laughed and stayed there til I trusted my knees enough to walk again.

Since then we’ve explored more with spanking. I told Dr K that I felt really weird about it- on one hand loving it and actually feeling good when we did it, and one the other terrified that my ex’s violent ways had warped me and twisted me, forcing me to re-live my abuse in a different way. She explained to me that this is not the case, that many people enjoy it and it’s not even at the scary end of the scale. All of this made the nineteen-year-old inside me feel a little less freaked out.

Dr K also explained that I am not re-living my abuse because I am actually enjoying myself about it. It’s true- I never thought it was possible to enjoy it, but I am boneless when he’s finished and usually ask him not to stop. J always respects my wishes, and the whole thing is done safely- something that Dr K has pointed out to me. I do feel a little better now writing about it, and I feel a lot more like I am moving on with some aspects of feeling weird and fucked-up and guilty.

What I really want out of my stupid roiling mass of feelings over sex is some true clarity, and not to feel so triggered or have so many intrusive thoughts when I’m alone and thinking about sex. Has anyone out there got any advice over this? I would really love a bit of extra help. I feel like even posting this will take a huge amount of courage, because it was so hard to write this, but I would like a bit of advice about how to heal from what my ex has done to me and to be able to express myself better (sexually that is) to J. Dr K is helping as much as she can, but I only see her once a week.

If there’s one thing I’m learning about sex, it’s that it is not what I thought it was- it’s much more exciting than I thought, and that what I had before was just pain.

Home again, emotional flashbacks, and holiday withdrawal.

Oh GOD I miss J. Seriously, like a hole inside. If not for my puppy I’d be a lot worse than I am right now- I’d be a crying wreck! He’s so calm and logical- after my last post, I went outside to the pool where J and my mum were. J was already in the pool, cooling off, and mum was enjoying a nice beer.

I had a panic attack trying to get in through the door where my dad had installed a very loud alarm- my brain entered that flight state and I started shaking and crying immediately. All that rage and terror came out in tears, but mum and J were there being awesome immediately. Mum came over took me away from the doors and hugged me til I felt better. J was there, shocked, but calm enough to tell me everything was ok, baby, and to put on my bikini and come in the pool with him to relax. Mum agreed, so I did. It worked. Tears faded, shaking stopped, and within FIFTEEN MINUTES (gotta be a new record there!) I was completely fine again, calm, and making jokes with the family and cuddling J in the cool water.

J can spot my mania immediately, and it’s impressive. Bradley has given me a great tip to manage it now I’m home again (boo, being home is not as nice as being out there with J and my family) and I’m going to start it tomorrow. I’ll set alarms on my phone that will remind me to check in with myself, and to stay calm.

So far, I’ve had a tough ride already. I’m aware that I drank too much whilst I was on holiday, so alcohol consumption has gone down a lot. Tonight, I had a cup of tea (fruit tea, orange smoothie tea!) and a glass of water as my beverages of choice. I’m doing this because when I’m manic, as I suspect I’m heading that way now, I do have poor impulse control and drink is usually the first sign of it. I’ve already had some very depressed moments, but that’s not the bipolar speaking.

That’s something else.

I’m in the midst of a bastard of an emotional flashback right now. For the past few days, I’ve felt unreal and dissociated, and horribly depressed, but the depression waned in the evening. Today it got so bad that I began acting unlike myself- snappy, withdrawn, moody, and exhausted. I even yelled at the puppy- at this point, I’m glad she’s deaf! A long sleep this afternoon fixed a lot of that, and I emerged with a better take on the world. I still didn’t understand why I was feeling like shit, but I was ready to give my day another try.

Dancing was fun and went well, and when I got home, I went upstairs to get changed. Pulling my favourite pyjama/lounge type pants on, something in my head suddenly shifted into place and I got it.

I understood that when I was with my ex, I was used as a fix. Because he was jealous of my family spending an unadulterated two weeks with me, I was often subject to derision and scorn when I got home. He’d cold shoulder me, blank me, and finally fix up a meeting with him sometime or place that was impossible for me. I’d inevitably cancel, he’d throw a fit, and then break up with me. I’d be alone, blaming myself and hating myself for nearly two months, and then he’d need his fix again. He’d pretend to relent, he’d tell me he ‘forgave me’ (er, bullshit sir, I believe you finished with me for no good reason) and we’d be back in the honeymoon phase again. Lovely.

So naturally my poor beleaguered brain still think I’m in for some horrible punishment for having fun. I’m reacting like a beaten puppy and I’m shaking in anticipation of a blow that will never fall.

J’s already been on Skype, commending me for my smarts in realising this. I’m pretty chuffed too… BUT GOD I miss him!!! He knows that, of course.

Another remarkable milestone I’ve achieved whilst away is that I’m better able to do real couple things now. I hold hands with J a lot, I’ll go for a cuddle when I fancy one, and, best of all- I was so tired one night I felt drunk, and slipping off into sleep I told J twice that I loved him. He said it back, and I heard the tenderness in his voice alongside the amused chuckle at how sleepy I was. When I asked him about it the next morning, he said I had indeed said I loved him twice and he hoped I remembered that he said it back to me.

Of course I had.

Stuff will be hard now I’m home. I’m trying to take more responsibilities this year, and I’m hoping I don’t overload myself- apparently, therapy this week with Dr K will be the start of lots of tough things for me. I am very aware there are still big issues I need to face. For instance, whilst I was in America, I had night after night of nightmares and J had to hold me to calm me down one night after I told him I was frightened to sleep. Hopefully, I will get these discussed with Dr K and she will help me become less afraid.

There are bonuses, though. I’m taking on more work so I can fund myself to get to America to see J quicker (I hope), I’m finally meeting a good friend I’ve talked to for a long while, I have a snoring puppy next to me and I’m planning dance numbers for a show. There are definite goals to achieve.

Fingers crossed that this year is the year that I get stuff solved, and not another year where I wrestle incessantly with the contents of my own head.

Surprised by life.

Last night, I was invited out by a friend I grew up with, RB. She used to live directly down the street from me, and we shared a lot of fun times as we grew.

Recently, as some of you know, I lost a friend over insesnitive rape joke comments, which is detailed in another of my blog posts further back. I got a message from my childhood friend, RB, saying thank you for posting that status about how rape jokes are not funny, it means a lot to me.

When I asked why, she said she had been raped too and it was amazing for someone to stand up for her, even if indirectly.

That hurt. Now both me AND my friend are part of the one in four. It hurt because she didn’t feel like anyone stood up for her. It hurt because I remember her as a happy-go-lucky six year old. It hurt because she is my friend.

I went out last night and all she wanted to talk about was what had happened to her. She led me away from the people we had come with and we spent ages talking about it.

I hurt for her so much. It seems RB has tried to tell others, but they called her out on it. They told her it was “just bad sex,” or that she was lying. She has even been told to “grow a pair and get over it,” despite the fact that when it happened she was screaming and crying, and it has left it’s sorry mark. She called herself pathetic because of how she still reacts- you know, the hypervigilance, nightmares, flashbacks… She was choked up at one point trying to describe the reactions of others to what she tried to tell them: the truth.

I felt like suddenly, the old world of securities was crumbling like old plaster around us. I realised even more that writing this blog is important, because there are more rape victims out there who feel ‘pathetic’ because of what they had to endure. I realised that so many misdiagnoses of Borderline Personality Disorder are out there because not enough psychiatrists actually understand that PTSD/RTS are caused by being exposed to the horror of rape. It was a weirdly empowering thing to realise that my voice here is doing some good, no matter how smalll.

What RB said next nearly made me cry.

She told me I had been her rock whilst she was at her worst about the rape, without me even knowing. She said that I had been there for her in a way nobody else had, despite the fact that we didn’t talk much. She also said that having somebody to talk to like this was just so good- it made her feel less isolated.

I had an honest-to-god lump in my throat, and tears pricking the corners of my eyes.

Even at my lowest, my most worthless, I was helping someone and I didn’t even know it. I was of value when I felt like dying would solve everyone’s problems over me. There had been value in my life when the dark passenger was threatening to send me down the void forever.

I am still shaken by it. I wish that I had recorded what she said, so I could play it back to myself whenever I feel like I can’t go on.

Sometimes, life actually surprises me still.

Going home.

I wrote this in floods of tears on the plane, on the way back to England, on the 6th of February.

 

 

I’m on my way back to England.

I ache.

I want J so much it hurts me inside.

Throat tight, chest aching, eyes burning with tears I don’t want to shed but have to.

Here, on an aeroplane, in front of probably about twenty strangers, I’m suddenly not afraid to cry and let them see. I don’t care. I miss J so much I feel like the rest of the world should know too.

I have spent three of the best weeks of my life since being depressed here. I feel like I have made huge strides forwards in my healing by letting J as close to me as man and woman can get. He asks me to be in control, he asks me to say if it hurts or feels good.

It always feels good, because a man who treats you like a princess out of the bedroom is going to treat you just the same once you are in bed with him.

He opens doors for me. He laughs at the same stuff that cracks me up. He always tells me to “go relax, baby” and that he “will take care of it”, whether ‘it’ is washing dishes or making a cup of tea for me.

I keep crying. I want him with me, to hold me the next time I have a flashback whilst dreaming. J held me to him, stroking my hair and my arm and shoulder until finally I felt a bit more grounded. He sat me on the sofa, got me a cup of earl grey, and he manfully let me soak his shirt with tears until I finally knew where I was, which house I was in, what year it was and that I was safe.

J has been human. Real, warm and human. I love his little quirks, his routines, and the fact that he is going to quit smoking because he “hates smelling of smoke breath” whilst I am around. Actually, I’ve said to him that on him, it actually smells kind of sexy, but he still wants to quit. Good on him. He is planning to get another job, as well as his music, to support his efforts to come to England to see me.

What am I going to do until I see him next?

I know I will work really hard to get a dance job, sign back up at the bar I used to work at, and try to get modelling work on the side. I plan to make this year a real try-hard year, a year where I can finally dance and then… Who knows?

J will be behind me whatever I do. He watched me dance and told me I was “amazing”, and bought me a drink afterwards so we could chill out. I felt proud of myself, and happy that he finally saw me dance. It’s pretty boring, I think, watching class, but he sat there and watched every last exercise, every step. I want him to see me perform. I want him to see me as I was pre-injury.

I’m crying again.

I miss his smile. Gods, I miss that. It’s only been an hour and I miss it so much already. His smile is so warm and loving, and it lights me up from the inside so I have to smile back.

I told him that I couldn’t wait to see him again. Time is a bastard- I can’t wait, I need him here now. If you’re reading this, J, don’t panic- I should be a little better by tomorrow!!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve fallen head over heels for J and all he represents to me, all over again: justice, creativity, peace, happiness, liberty, and love.

I have regained them all in these past three weeks whilst living with him.

Between sheets.

My last posts were angry and powerless and upset. I felt betrayed, alone, weak.

I feel different, so different now.

I have broken a pattern. I have done something so brave I want to tell everyone about it. I feel like I’m changing again- another layer of the chrysalis peeling away.

I am in America with J.

I flew to meet him, an eight hour rough-and-tumble through cotton clouds to the place he calls home. His face lit up when he saw me, his smile the anchor I have been waiting so desperately for. I ran to him, dropped my case, threw hungry arms round him and sighed in relief.

He treats me like a princess. He calls me doll, and hon, and baby. I’m not used to these Americanisms, but in his smooth drawl they rock my world. He strokes my hair, holds me if I’m frightened.

He makes me laugh so hard. He took me to meet his friends and my usual terror vanished, and I slotted right in there with them. I felt happy and peaceful, and I feel like my old self.

That girl I love who is not shattered into a million fragments of the past.

I burn when he touches me. I’ve felt that since Florida, but memories of the painful past and images of trauma used to flood my mind and prevent my natural boldness from surfacing. He understands that. Even better, I lead, I command, I control. He asks me to, he tells me I have to say if I am upset or frightened.

The first time we lay between sheets together, I cried in happiness when it was over. My body thrilled, my mind rejoiced with it. I am free of the vicious chains of abuse, and it feels like I am healing some of the deepest hurts I have suffered. He asked me if I was sure. He held me as I cried, and told me I didn’t need to apologise for crying. He knew I needed the comfort and he gave it to me.

I am safe here.

 

He is my knight in shining armour, this brave man. Despite his own demons, he helps me tackle mine.