I’ve been told that I tend to live my life in extremes; everything is very black or white, with little or no gray to speak of. Even my astrological signs are at extremes. With a grounding, analytical, practical sun in Virgo and a dreamy, passionate, emotional moon in Pisces, it doesn’t get more opposite than that. However, I’ve also been told that I’d probably get bored in the gray areas, so I continue to bounce from one extreme to another, attempting to find a little more balance here and there, but who really knows.
My extremes encompass every avenue of life, but of course the more interesting ones tend to fall in the arena of men, naturally. Perhaps I really am addicted to the drama and get bored with the mundane. According to a therapist, now on the list of “the fired,” I have intimacy issues (mostly with myself). If I had to guess, I’d say losing my virginity, to a semi-stranger, on a drunken night in Mexico at age 14, was most likely where the issues started. In my mind, I was doing a very grown-up thing, all to impress a 19 year-old-family friend who had been acting inappropriately around me for several years. He had tried to seduce me the previous summer, when I was just finishing the 8th grade, touching me in a way that I was ill-prepared for. He had this amazing gift of making me feel desirable, but also belittled, because I wasn’t experienced enough or didn’t understand what was going on. He then proceeded to profess his undying love for me, leaving me in a confused state of shame, arousal and bewilderment. Of course it took many years of self-hating, poor choices in men, and a few therapists to realize that he being 18, and me 13 definitely landed the situation on the sexual abuse spectrum.
In any case, I figured if I returned the next summer “experienced,” he would have no choice but to be impressed and less verbally abusive. The sad boo-hoo part comes now, as when I returned recently deflowered by a 22 year-old (who probably didn’t know my age); the bastard had a girlfriend and completely ignored me. Of course this left me crushed, devastated and sent on a path of choosing emotionally unavailable men, who never would really love me the way I wanted them to, or at least how I thought I deserved to be loved.
It is said we are comfortable with what we know, and I guess that is what I knew. It’s a sad and common story for a great deal of teen-aged girls. We comprehend it all too well, and sometimes feel it to a degree in adulthood; the idea that we have to “put out” to a certain extent, in order to please a man, otherwise he will leave and find someone else who will. The infuriating part is that it has taken me years to reconcile with losing my virginity at such a young age, and in such a loveless way. No matter how much I try to pretend that it wasn’t a big deal or that I should be “over it” by now, being a good 20+ years ago, it still exudes a certain amount of sadness that I was somehow robbed. I was in denial for years that it should even be considered abuse, because it wasn’t like I was forced against my will, but sometimes the subtleness of manipulation is harder to recognize.
I have spent too much time blaming myself, feeling like I should have known better or somehow that I deserved it. But when I look at my almost eleven year-old daughter, who is only two years away from when this happened to me, I see so much innocence and trust and sweetness, that I know it was he who should have known better, and that it was I who was taken advantage of. And I swear to god that I will castrate, or worse, the man who even looks at either of my daughters funny.
But, I digress… Now all of this scaring rears its ugly head as a lack of trust around men or a cement wall that even I cannot infiltrate. I am trying to shine a light on it all, and to this day I am continuing to work through it without judgment on how long this whole process should really take. And with each relationship, I learn a little more, still make the occasional poor choice, but am learning to listen to and love myself a tiny bit more with each passing day. Of course, it is the poor choices that sometimes make the funniest stories…