Recently, I attended a work-related training event, and I think I saw someone with whom I shared physical intimacy in eighth grade. Gah, anxiety! because I felt unsure about whether to say hello. Two of my workmates sat on either side of me, and one of them sat near this man, this reminder of eighth grade and my intense awkward in it. I didn't mention my thoughts or possible association to my coworkers. Eighth-grade-reminder and I shared a couple of extremely brief glances, and even then I couldn't figure out whether it was he. I tried to not stare. I don't know if I was successful, and I want to think that everything seemed totally normal. I've been tapping on memories associated with eighth-grade-person. You see, he was friends with another guy, one with whom I also shared intimacy. They were really good friends. I have this picture of myself as this totally crazy eighth grade lust machine, running around sharing sexual acts with people my age and a few years older. Ugh -- that frames my experiences in shame! What happened was that my life situation drastically shifted as my teenage years began; I didn't have consistent emotional support; and I sought comfort in the exhilaration of sexual hormone excitement. In other words, I acted normal.
For a long time, I've viewed my sexual experiences with a huge amount of scrutiny. I put my sexual self on the table, utilized my tools of analysis, told myself I looked down on me just like my "best" friend told me she did right after eighth grade, just before ninth grade. I'd told her that I put a guy's penis in my mouth. I think I wrote it in a letter. When I saw her in-person later that year, I asked if she looked down on me after she read my letter. I think, at first, she may have paused or said no. At some point, she said she'd thought about it, and yes, she did look down on me. It was kind of an f'd environment in which to hear the news because I happened to be visiting her in her home, sleeping on the floor next to her bed. So, picture someone saying, "I've decided that I do look down on you for your sexual identity," and she's actually in a bed up higher than you, literally. looking down. on you. (Fun fact: Later that same trip she taught me how to shoplift. I got great at it! Then someone in a store caught me, and I got walked out in the mall (in handcuffs?) and put in a police van. We drove downtown. The police put me in what appeared to me to be a storeroom. More on that in other posts.) So yeah, my sexual identity and middle school and high school and shame. Lots of shame... for so long. So unnecessary, this shame. We're sexual creatures. We adventure. We learn. I read Blackout by Sarah Hepola last year, and her words really helped me see myself differently and release a lot of shame.
People, we're sexual. We look at each other. It's going to happen. Let's figure out how to talk with each other about our emotions, our discomfort, our boundaries. Let's make sure we learn when to not talk with others, how to protect ourselves, and why to do so. We're worth this effort. Sometimes really f'd things happen in life. Others may make choices that are selfish, careless, inconsiderate. Evil is real and it can hurt you. So the f what! Face the pain, face that evil. Once you feel it, face it, know how to interact with it and/or leave it behind, it's a mirage. Our appreciation of our sexual selves, our awkwardness, our weird. It's all steps of truth.
Well hello there.