I’m sitting at my desk at work shaking because I feel out of control. My legs are tapping so fast that I my upper bodys shaking. I just listened to a This American Life podcast about pedophiles. This wasn’t my intention, the podcast is called Tarred and Feathered and the first half was not about pedophiles. When the pedophile part came on and I thought I could make it through and didn’t pause it. I wanted to face it I wanted to be okay with hearing about it. And I am in comparison to months ago when much less triggered me to hide in the basement (pictured below). I got through almost the whole podcast before taking a break to cry in the bathroom, I’m still here, I’m still working (sorta), I’m relatively all right.
It’s hard to look at something so triggering to me, something that is actively haunting me today. I hurt there, I still haven’t accepted how being molested has affected me. I’m realizing how much it makes me struggle with control and feeling powerless, I’m realizing how being molested stole from me my ability to feel like I control myself.
That’s why two weeks ago I cut myself. It’s the first time I really did it after a decade of thinking about it. Over the past couple of months I had run dull objects over my inner to help me concentrate, specifically when making art, I tried a experimental cut with a sharp blade and didn’t like it. So when I needed to feel in control I knew what I was going to try, cutting myself. After calming my paranoid controlling self down I needed to find a security blanket to protect me, I needed to cut myself before seeing my friends.
I grabbed my nail cutters and ran the nail cleaner over my inner forearm numerous times until it started to bleed a little bit. Why? Because I had marked myself like a cattle with a piece of ownership, I cut myself because I was my own property not anyone else’s.
Immediately I feel overwhelmed with shame and guilt about doing this. I don’t want anyone to see this, I don’t want people know what has driven me to this point. I don’t want people to be concerned about me. That is of course what cutting yourself accomplishes most, garnering attention. I showed Spaced, and Jamie found out, we talked about it and now I don’t feel as uncomfortable about it. Instead I feel defiant pride, the kind of pride that says, “Yes I cut myself, do you have a problem?” The kind of pride where I explain the cut as a reflection of the my inner chaos finally being reflected upon my flesh.
But that’s not why I did it. That’s not why I don’t know if I will stop cutting. I don’t want people to worry about my cutting, I can’t go too deep (because the object is too dull) and cutting is just a symptom. I want people to be worried about the problem, I want people to know why I cut. When saying this to my therapist she pressed me on what problem I wanted them to know. I hesitated and realized that I cut for control. Not just control over my body and situations but that is my problem, control. I need people to know how much being molested fucked with me and disabled me from having control over my life.
I don’t have control in my life, I often just go with the flow and have difficulty expressing my opinions. The worst comes in sexual relationships. I can’t say no. I can’t even figure out if I want to say no. It’s a scary feeling. In these relationships I often just trust the other person on how far or how fast they want to go and mirror their actions. Especially with new people I’m unable to discern what level of intimacy I want. Of course afterwards I know if I went to fast and I end up feeling awful and have numerous times.
It’s scary to watch it being played out with a friend, Spaced. We make sexual jokes back and fourth but at a certain point I can’t discern if she is joking or not. And I’m scared that something will happen and I feel like I won’t be able to stop it. It’s like suddenly the ground is gone from below me and I’m are floating down river with nothing to hold onto, only my trust in the other person. I trust her and don’t think anything is going to happen but still felt the need to make sure she asked for consent before doing anything, explaining that I can’t just say no or stop. And since telling her this she has said she’s going to stop the jokes until “I feel like I have more control.”
While this isn’t technically and edit since It is coming out in the original post I find it important to separate this from the post because this conversation came after the post was nearly finished.
I talked to Chem (who until yesterday had been distant while she dealt with some of her own boy issues) and told her about my cuts and she really pressed me to come up with a game plan when I feel the desire again. I struggled to come up with effective strategies and then finally said what I’d been wanting to ask from people for a while, to expect a call when I feel this way. The only problem was I didn’t feel right putting that burden on another person and felt I should deal with it myself.
Chem gave me a good insight into another couple thing I have going on. She talked about community as a fabric and as with any fabric when someone isolates they affect those around them, which turned my action that I thought of as not burdening people to something that very much affects people. She also helped me better grasp something that Charlie’s teacher in the Perks of Being a Wallflower says, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” I understood the part that says we accept the love we think we deserve, but I also have come to realize we only accept the love we think we deserve. I accept bad love from people and I don’t accept good love from people. I’m a great supportive friend and will do anything for a close friend and need to remember to expect and accept more from people.