I don’t know about you, but I am a social animal. I am so social that for many years I put myself in position after position to be abused because that was the only way I could understand social contact. I expected abuse. I would go so far as to say that I actively sought it out and tried to bring it into my life.
Abuse is… abuse is dramatic and exciting and volatile in a way I expected and needed from life. I went from periods of extreme isolation–the kind that is proven in prisons and mental hospitals and orphanages to cause extreme breaks in the mind–to periods of needing social contact so bad I would seek out the most extreme sorts I could find.
Is it my fault I was abused? Let us say that if abuse is a dance I was not always an unwilling partner.
Most of the men who raped me as an adult were people I wanted to have in my life. They were mostly people with whom I was eager to have sex. But I required a condom for my protection and theirs. I am one of the scariest vectors of potential disease in my community. The other trampiest people usually are around half my numbers. I default to safe choices because I love the people I sleep with and I need to consider their health.
I am thinking about this right now in context of how weird life is.
What does it mean to be treated like trash? It means that your life is not important. You are replaceable. You are just here to (be a hole/fill a role/do a piece of work) and when your usefulness is over you will be replaced.
I have dated more than one person who has shown me a series of photos from their past and all the women look the same and there are pictures of them doing the exact same thing… sometimes in the same clothing.
My family didn’t want me and made that clear. I’ve… been the fill in the blank woman.
I am hard because if I don’t maintain myself to a certain level so that I can find a different position somewhere else where I can be a differently effective tool…. Well this is the closest I have to a survival instinct. I still have work in me. Don’t throw me away yet. I know I’m not that shiny. I know I’m bent and deformed and prickly about how I am used… but I have value. Please need to have me around.
It has been fascinating over the last few weeks to have the din of self hatred in my head be gone. Worthless isn’t coursing through my neurons anymore. See, drugs aren’t all bad. I see much more clearly the various ways in which I am useful.
I did get to grow up and be Mary Poppins. Only they are my children. Children do think their parents are perfect. Mine can now joke about knowing that I mess up and knowing that I’m not perfect… but they still express shock every time they witness a demonstration because in their heart I am perfect.
I really like being a parent. I am grateful I get to be a parent with time and enough money and a secure place to live. We know a large majority of our neighborhood and they express happiness for our presence in the neighborhood.
I was given a tea plant for my birthday because I am nice to my neighbors. I feel like I have done something with the time I’ve had here.
I know that I was treated like I was disposable because now I have felt what it means to be treated like I have intense value. I know that my ability to have had the life I’ve had has largely been because of the color of my skin because I live in a racist system that will give a second chance to a piece of trash if it can pass into the main group without being visibly different.
I may be a bunch of weird things… but I don’t by and large look it. I look like I have been middle class or higher most of my life. I can code switch my language and sound knowledgable around a freakish variety of people.
I’m not treated like I’m disposable anymore. It is an odd experience.
It is odd knowing that I am raising children who have never had a single moment of feeling disposable. How can more people get to their level of safety? What about the kids who are growing up like me? How can they be seen more? I don’t know. But feeling a quietness inside my head makes me want to work a lot harder to find people who need help dealing with incest.
Once I grow up. Once I can actually have more of an idea what the stages of development feel like. I need to know what they mean for me so that I can hear what they mean for other people without interrupting. If I’m still trying to get to where they are… I will be self focused when I listen. It is part of my ability to be patient with children and not with adults who are older than me. I have a hard time being nice when I think someone “should” be better at something than me because they’ve had more time to practice. I am finally to the point where I am not a total asshole about t his because I’ve noticed that people are always asynchronous in their learning. Not knowing something is more normal than not. Just be glad they are trying to learn now.
But I’m impatient and an asshole so being nice is a challenge. When my friends are being kind they say I don’t suffer fools gladly.
I am feeling grateful for what I get to do with my house. I’m also feeling very narcissistic. Other people don’t demand turning their entire house into a lived art experience. But I am. I have had a kind of luck most people don’t get to have. I did figure out how to stop feeling like I deserved abuse and I have ended every relationship that was hurting me.
I may be impatient and chafe at boundaries in my life but by and large I have chosen them. I may have to figure out how to renegotiate some corners of the boundaries… I have really sucked at doing that this year. I have made a number of mistakes I need to make once.
What will the future look like? I don’t know. But I know it is from a perspective of not being even a little bit disposable. Really I am the linchpin. If I go the whole mechanism will break. Or really it will depend how I go.
I chose to bring children into the world knowing that I come from a whole many generations of intense abuse/mental health problems dna pool. I knew that the brain is malleable. I knew that as much as there are genetic predispositions but nurture matters too.
I’m not perfect. I’m not really supposed to be. I’m trying to show what it means to be good enough given the strictures of the world we live in. How do we go about changing this world? There are processes. Let’s talk about them.
What can we do to help other people know that they are not disposable either?
It’s a big hard topic. It’s going to take a lot of years to unpack. I need to think about it as I grow up. Growing up hurts. But if I want to be able to think about other people properly… I have to.