I have conflicting feelings about the #metoo campaign. I feel excited and exhilarated; yet uncomfortable and disbelieving. And so, so cynical. It is much like the relationship I have had with feminism. If it was a relationship status on facebook it would probably be, “it’s complicated”. If I was a teacher writing a report card I would probably say, “has potential”.
I guess you could say that I am a text book study for a woman destined to pick the wrong males. A walking “daddy issues”. My father constantly rejected me; and when he wasn’t rejecting me, he was sexually assaulting me. My Mum had her own journey with men, and because of this made her own mistakes. Consequently exposing me to a variety of different men who proceeded to abuse me in different ways. Men appearing different on the outside; but ultimately being cut from the same cloth. Her own trauma history meant that she didn’t inherently hold a lot of protective behaviours.
Predictably I rebounded from one inappropriate relationship to the other. My trauma created poor boundaries and desensitization to danger meant I was oblivious to red flags. It also meant that I felt responsible for so many things that weren’t mine. Feeling responsible for: the doctor that felt my breasts, the physiotherapist that touched my vagina; the teenager that violently took my virginity; the school teacher that patted my arse; the friend that I found having sex with me when I woke up; the family friend that leered at me and made provocative comments; the taxi driver that shoved his tongue down my throat; the friend’s father that said I was a “sexy slut” at the age of 15 when I stayed over; my brother’s friend that grabbed my breast when I was pregnant; the Surfers Police officers who said I was a sexy slut as I was walking through Surfers; the teenage boys pressured me to play the frigid game; the family friend who grabbed my arse with two hands when we were on a boat; the man that grabbed my vagina when I was walking up the stairs to a nightclub; the work colleague that commented on the size of my breasts.
I found drugs and alcohol an awesome way to dull the pain. I didn’t feel off my face; I felt whole and complete. I felt beautiful. I felt sparkly and alive. People told me to stop. Friends distanced themselves from me. I knew, that if they could experience being in my body for one day, that they would understand that I HAD to use. I would neck myself if I couldn’t use. It wasn’t so I felt high; just so that I could exist. I had to use to exist and I was existing to use. For me, my life started to make sense WHEN I started to use.
Becoming a part of the using; only intensified all of my ideas about femininity. I found myself immersed in a very patriarchal world. It was a world that men ruled, through violent force and masculinity. I became a sex worker. This new career making me feel, ironically as though this was the first time I had some sort of autonomy, control and power. After all, people were going to fuck me anyway. At least I could get them to pay for it. I found myself marinating in sex, drugs and violence. I was a vessel. A vessel for toxins. For drugs, alcohol, bodily fluids and hateful words. Nothing nourished me; only sustained me. I was consumed with the focus of being what I thought others wanted me to be. I hated women. I hated feminism. I hated myself.
For me, femininity was not an inherent quality. It was only useful when used as a weapon. Femininity was a quality that was synonymous with vulnerability and weakness. When used as a weapon, it acted as a scorpion’s tail. Beguiling a victim and then striking from behind, I was able to take what I needed. Other women were not welcome in my world. They were competition for the prize of drugs. Drugs being both narcotics and attention. For me, masculinity was the summit, the pinnacle, the power. Being hard, calculating and aggressive seemed to protect me from attacks. Being impenetrable was the key. And if a woman was penetrated… it was their fault.
Going into drug and alcohol rehab was challenging, for so many reasons. I hated the women and was consequently put on a “male ban” to try and force me to connect with the women. This heightened the guilt and shame that I felt and only exacerbated the situation. Probably the turning point for me was twofold: tertiary study and female mentors. As I entered the workforce with a clear head, I met women in positions of power who role modelled empowerment. Tertiary studies encouraged me to critically analyse information. The ripple affect was that I started to engage in self reflection and critical analyse of information that I had been presented throughout my life. I started to reject direct and indirect messages that had been projected on me. I started to get angry. FUCK YOU!!!!!!!!!
At different times in my life, I would make peace with the world and let go of my rage. And then something would spark it again and the rage would reemerge. I felt like my abuse history, at the hands of men had robbed me of so much. It robbed me of how I thought my pregnancy should be. While others embraced the movements of their baby stretching in their womb; I felt violated. I hated the feeling of my baby moving in me. I hated that I hated the feeling of my baby moving in me. I couldn’t breastfeed; as the idea of a baby suckling at my nipple made me want to scratch my skin off. I hated that I couldn’t even get the pregnancy or the breastfeeding right. I felt so defective. I felt so robbed.
And yet, pregnancy introduced me to the wonder of a woman’s body. I marveled in the creation of a human being and the abilities of my body. And through it all, I was in wonderment over the life that I had created. Is this what this is for? Is this what this body part is meant to do? You mean my body isn’t just here to be a vessel for external forces and materials. My body has created and sustained life! A male life!
And now my baby is now an 11 year old young man. I feel blessed and in awe that I have created such a perfect little specimen of manhood. He is here to teach me about masculinity, boyhood, manhood, relationships and unconditional love. He is the ultimate blessing that has been more healing that any medication, counselling or positive affirmation. Age and love from my perfect blessing has brought me to a place where I am the happiest I have ever been.