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Soulmate, Checkmate.

The person I so lovingly referred to as my “soul mate” turned out not to be. Maybe assigning such heavily meaningful labels to people isn’t the best idea; the term “soul mate” implies certain unrealistic expectations.

The scariest and most uncertain part of my childhood was spent without anyone who I could relate to or find comfort in, so when I finally did receive what I had so often prayed for growing up, someone who I could call “sister”, I think I unconsciously clung on like a child would, even into adulthood.

All the fond memories I had have become twisted and mangled. All I see now is the ugliness that was always there that I chose not to look at before. I tend to expend a lot of energy and focus on analyzing things, people, and relationships. I didn’t do that with her, without realizing it I actually did the opposite of what was always typical for me. I spent more energy and focus trying to ignore red flags and preserve this idealistic picture of us, because I guess I needed that. I fiercely protected the image I had of her, as my sister, who would always be there, who I was most comfortable and happiest with, more so than anyone else in my life. As a result, I’m in uncharted territory now. I’m usually not surprised by things like this because I tend to feel like I sort of saw it coming, or at least had vague feelings of tension rising, but I didn’t with her. All of what I’m noticing now feels so much like new information being revealed to me, as if I wasn’t present for it. My own mind is offering to show me things I had been hiding from myself. It’s really fucking weird and unsettling, so much that it’s been difficult to sleep at night.

In clarified retrospect, I don’t think she was ever actually truly listening to me. I was listening, but judging everything. Every shockingly childish or blatantly superficial desire or feeling she expressed to me was met with scolding or instruction for how to be better, rather than the compassionate and understanding ear she probably needed. Instead of verbalizing her contempt for me, I think it was easier for her to just tune me out.

How did I not see that dark cloud of resentment that was hovering right above her head for so much of our lives? It was right there the whole time. When she would get drunk it would step into the light in the form of her lashing out at me as hard as she could. When something I said made her angry and she called me a cunt out of nowhere. When she told me I was just like my mom. Stuff like that. I didn’t understand why she would get so angry at me over such little things but instead of trying to figure it out, I always wrote it off as meaningless because she had been drinking. It’s easy to see now that all of it obviously came from a real place, I just didn’t want to accept that that was how she really felt about me. Then, when she discovered that her boyfriend had been sexually harassing me, she chose to stay with him and cut me out of her life. She blames me for it. Now I’m realizing that I shouldn’t be surprised by that; it was a long time coming and it would’ve happened one way or another.

So now I’m trying to figure out how to resolve the combination of rage and sadness I experience every time I think of her, which lately is so often that it’s hard to concentrate on anything else. I haven’t reacted, and it seems like if I do react, by confronting her, I’ll lose the “power” I’ve achieved by staying stoic and silent. All I can do is accept things as they are, but I don’t want to. I want her to know that I think she’s a cunt too, or that I’m sorry, or that she should be sorry, or all of the above. I’m stuck. Checkmate.

 

Am I Turning You On?

When I was fourteen, I decided I didn’t want to be a virgin anymore.

With little parental guidance and boundaries, I had already perceived myself to be a small, financially dependent adult, and I just thought it was a good idea. Why not? Virginity never really meant anything to me, I don’t know why.

I have a thirteen-year old sister now, so looking at her and reminiscing about my experiences around her age genuinely freaks me out. She has a lot more structure in her life than I did though, and more people are around to watch over her, so I try not to worry too much.

My sexual attitudes at the time were obviously pretty loose and casual. Granted, I didn’t want to have sex with just anyone, it had to be with someone I had feelings for, but as far as losing my virginity or having sex with someone new for the first time, it was never something that I agonized or stressed over. If I wanted to do it, I did it.

What I find interesting though, is that even though it wasn’t ever directly vocalized, it was ingrained in me that sex is for men. I did it when I wanted to, without much of a thought, but I wasn’t doing it because I was receiving any kind of sexual pleasure from it. I would do it because if I liked someone and we had feelings for each other in the context of some type of dating relationship (whether it was official or not), I thought that it was my obligation to satisfy them. Look at me, since I’m all grown up and I think I love you, I guess I’ll get you off.

I’m not saying that I never enjoyed it. Sometimes I just liked the feeling of physical closeness (usually during the infatuation or “honeymoon” phase). I remember the first time my high school boyfriend went down on me. I didn’t come, but I thought “okay, this feels nice.” But most of the time it was pretty cut and dry. He’s going to finger me, stick it in, come, and that’s it. Maybe I’ll have to suck his dick. Not my favorite, but oh well, gotta do what you gotta do.

That started to change when I had my first orgasm. I was seventeen or eighteen, and my boyfriend at the time was eating me out and stayed down there in the right place long enough for something to happen. Bless him. It was that kind of cliché “oh my god what is happening this is weird do I have to pee what is going on” experience that you’ve probably had yourself, or at least heard of dozens of times before. After that, it started happening more and more, and sex started to transform for me. I was suddenly having fantasies I had never had before about the different ways he could do it to me, and for the first time, my motivation to have sex was beginning to center around my own gratification.

I felt that I couldn’t expect anyone after that to go down on me all the time, but they did have to at least be able to make me come once in a while. I still grappled with notions of needing to do it, even if I didn’t feel like it, because it’s what I was supposed to do, and that lingers in me to this day. It’s been perpetuated by men’s attitudes too. Most guys I’ve been with felt that they were at least somewhat entitled to it.

As much as I tried to maintain the image that I always wanted it, and was always enjoying it, I never faked an orgasm, and I’m actually proud of that.

I also have a hard time not laughing at dirty talk. I would try to play along, but sometimes it was just too much. I’ve only had a handful of guys who did that, but some of the things they said were downright hilarious. One guy would baby-talk, mostly to my boobs, during sex, which was kind of funny but mostly gross. Mommy issues, much? The most recent one had obviously used porn as an educational resource, and felt compelled to ask me how much I wanted his dick all the time. One time, around the holidays, I couldn’t stop myself from bursting out laughing in the middle of it when he compared his dick to a Christmas tree.

Sex can be beautiful though. I’ve had that glorious, euphoric, life-changing sex. I’ve also had a lot of boring sex, “please just get it over with” sex, and sex that made me feel straight up used. The sex that made me feel used was probably the worst. When you have sex like that, you feel more like a receptacle for semen than an actual human being.

I feel like as an adult I’m a pretty good sexual communicator. I compromised with my last boyfriend, and said to him: “Okay, if you’re not going to get me off and you’re going to jump right in with minimal foreplay, I’m not going to stay wet and you’re going to have to make it quick.” Did he listen? No, but he’d complain that I was dry, and then as much as I’d try to fight it, I’d end up feeling a little insecure, like I failed somehow.

I’ve also had a lot of performance sex, which actually isn’t always bad and can be kind of fun. Wine helps with this, and energy. I may not have gotten off sexually, but it was a nice little ego boost when I’d think “Wow, look at me, I look awesome right now and I’m making him crazy.”

I know I’m rambling here. There’s a lot to cover.

The most important thing I want to get to is foreplay. Foreplay, foreplay, foreplay. Like I said before, for most of my teenage years being sexually active, foreplay meant just sticking his fingers in. To be fair, we were teenagers, it’s not their fault. As an adult though, I can’t believe it still happens like that so much of the time.

When I was sixteen, I was briefly seeing this guy who was a little bit older. We didn’t actually end up doing it, but it didn’t matter. It was the first time I remember thinking that sex could be different. I was in his room, and all I we had done so far is kiss (he was an exceptional kisser and had a tongue ring, it was awesome), and I knew that we were going to move things along. I remember being so embarrassed and nervous to admit that I was on my period. When I did, in my blushing and awkward way, he said: “I don’t care about that,” in a tone that was so sincere that I was blown away. Guys don’t always care about that? What? Okay, then.

I was watching him, not sure what to do, when he picked up a cup with only ice left in it and put a cube in his mouth. With his lips slightly open, he kissed me from the neck down. The warmth from his mouth combined with the shocking coldness of the ice was one of the best feelings I had ever experienced. He ate me out for a little while, and I obviously didn’t come because I didn’t have my first orgasm until a couple years later. Holy shit though. I had no idea it could be so sensual and centered around me.

Remember how I said that blow jobs aren’t my favorite thing to do? It was my favorite thing to do to him in that moment after he did that.

Not to speak for all other women, but I do think most of them feel the same way I do in that foreplay is a central and crucial part of the sexual experience. It makes or breaks it, orgasm or not. I came across a twitter thread from a guy who explains this in his own way [see below], and I was so relieved reading it to know that there are at least some men out there who get it.

I’ve always felt like I had to provide a service, and look perfect while doing it. Meanwhile, a lot of men are simply sticking their dicks in people and feeling good about themselves for it.

I made a decision that sex should be about me now. It’s my turn.

 

Accountability

My parents both struggled with PTSD, alcoholism, and drug addiction for the majority of their lives. My dad passed away a few years ago of cirrhosis and cancer. My mom is in an assisted living facility somewhere in San Diego, at least that’s what she tells me.

My dad was in and out of my life throughout my childhood, and my mom spent her entire adult life blaming everyone else, including me, for just about everything that was wrong with her.

The thing is, I was a planned child. That still gets under my skin every time I think about it. Their relationship was awful, and according to her, abusive. I never really saw that side of my dad and it’s hard to take her word for it because she claimed everyone was abusive in one way or another. Who knows. They were both fucked up people, they were fucked up together, and they took that as a signal to reproduce. I am the outcome.

I am aware that my writing style tends to come off a bit overdramatic, like I’m laying it on thick. That bothers me because it reminds me of her. She used to take up conversations with strangers, like the checkout person at the grocery store, or really just about anyone who might give her the time of day, so she had the opportunity to share her misfortunes in life. What was so interesting to me is that she always described these sad situations in a way that sounded like bragging. Like “Look at me, look at all I’m going through! I’m winning at being miserable, it’s everyone else’s fault, and your problems don’t even compare.”

She never took responsibility for her choices. It was as if she felt that she had no control over herself or her environment. She felt victimized and as a result, entitled. Entitled to resources, money, and most of all, pity. If she thought she wasn’t getting “enough” out of the people around her, she wanted to get back at them for it, like by not receiving what she felt she was owed, she had the right to hit back.

Unfortunately, as of late, I understand her feelings more than I ever did. I always promised myself I would never be like her. I pushed back against everything about me that was similar to her, but it didn’t matter.

I’ve spent most of my life suppressing anger to make others feel more comfortable. What, you can’t do that forever? Haha.

So, when I found myself screaming at, pushing, and hitting my significant other, and subsequently being picked up and thrown on a tile floor, picked up again and literally thrown out the door over some stairs and onto cement, I had to decide. Am I a victim now, or is it my fault?

Both of those options are wrong for me in this specific situation. Now, this is when things might get a little controversial for some. If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is NEVER your fault. I am an advocate for women’s rights and consider myself a feminist. I understand that based on my status in society and the way I was socialized, I am not recognized as equal to my male counterparts. I’m also smaller physically and thus was able to be overpowered with ease by a 6 foot, 200-pound man. In that sense, yes, I am a victim, and none of that is my fault.

However, when I attacked him, I knew what I was doing. I don’t feel like a victim. As a person with autonomy in my choices, I do feel equal to him. I made the fight physical – I hit first.

He was wrong too, though. There were alternative actions he could have taken to defend himself. If I had been a man, relatively equivalent in size and stature, he wouldn’t have been able to pick me up and throw me around like that.

There was a part of me that did indeed feel victimized, but there was also a part of me that felt like I was a fucking warrior who lost a fight. I’m sure all of this sounds so fucked up, but I’m just being honest here.

So, during my time of contemplative introspection, I’ve decided my answer is both. I take responsibility for what I did. I’m not this sad little person who wants to run and tell everybody “Look what he did to me! Feel sorry for me! He’s a monster!” I’m a monster too. I’m not sad, I’m not even angry. I also acknowledge that, at the same time, what he did was not my fault. He chose to react in a way that would be labeled physically abusive and disturbing. I don’t have to take responsibility for that.

Like everyone always says, things aren’t usually black and white. Almost everything is a grey area. One might think that I’m misguided for coming to the conclusion that I’ve come to, and that’s okay. No one should ever assault you. I shouldn’t have assaulted him, and he shouldn’t have reciprocated that violence with increased severity. I am writing this to express all aspects of an unhealthy situation so that maybe, if you know someone who’s been where I have, you can recognize the complexity and have greater empathy and understanding for them.

I am accountable for my actions, but not for anyone’s reactions.

 

I hope if anyone reads this, it helps them through some bullshit like that.

Drink Up.

It feels really good to be sober.

Lately I’ve been navigating through an ocean of hurt feelings and resentment, and drinking has made it impossible to manage it or see it clearly.

The emotions have all been real, but being drunk amplifies them and at the same time doesn’t expose the truth of them. They’re loud, but unintelligible.

I guess when the captain of the ship is wasted, you just sail around in circles.

This year, I lost someone who I considered both my best friend and my sister. She’s not dead, she’s just not here. I wanted to not care, or hate her even, but I can’t. That’s all I’m going to say about her right now. It’s a melancholy tale for another time.

Some background so that this story makes a little more sense – I’ve just quit my job, so I’m in between jobs for the second time this year. Unemployed, no hobbies that really consume me enough to distract me, a very sparse social life due to the typical mid-20’s phenomenon called “growing apart” (AKA having kids, lol jk, but not really), and an irrational fear of befriending new people. Obviously, I’m a catch, and doing awesome in life.

I’ve been in one of those annoying on-and-off relationships for about two years. He’d lie or piss me off somehow, I’d dump him, he’d get tired of the responsibilities of attachment, he’d dump me. It was hard then, but at least for me, it wasn’t the end of the world, in part because we’d always get back together. I also had friends and school and just in general other things to think about that were more important.

Suddenly, the on and off again became brutally, unbearably hard. Every time the off switch was flipped, I lost my mind and felt completely crushed. I drank like a fish, I did crazy things to get his attention, I broke and smashed things, I even threatened suicide. I’ve been in a really bad place. Every time I would act like that, I felt worse afterward. It was a never-ending shit show, and I’ve never been so exhausted and ashamed for such an extended period of time in my entire life.

It took me until now, after yet another who-knows-how-many-times-it’s-been break up, but this time, enduring it sober, to realize what I had done. I replaced her with him. It became so much harder because he isn’t just my boyfriend anymore, he’s been my closest friend and I’ve relied on him in the same way I used to rely on her. Unlike my relationship with her though, my relationship with him has been riddled with trust issues and miscommunication for a long time, and on top of that, he wasn’t relying on me for friendship in the same way. I changed my expectations, but the relationship was still the same as it had always been, I just added a little more pressure. Talk about a recipe for disaster.

What’s weird is, when it happened, I cried, and felt just as devastated as usual (although with more inhibition), and then I looked up at the sky, in a way I rarely do, and asked for “God.” I put the word God in quotes because I’ve never been sure if there is a God, so it’s not meant to be disrespectful. I still capitalized it.

Anyway, there’s this raw vulnerability and intense desperation when someone who doesn’t consider themselves religious in any way whatsoever says “God, please help me,” and means it.

After I said that, instead of the lately-typical lashing out, threatening him, or trying to make him feel guilty for abandoning me, I explained to him that I wasn’t angry. I explained how I was just sad to keep losing my best friend, over and over again. The words were just coming out in the clearest and most sincere way I’ve ever texted (lol), but seriously. I felt honest and vulnerable, but there was this profound strength in it. I didn’t care if it made me seem like the “weaker” person to admit that I’m sad to lose him, because he’s someone I’ve considered a friend, and he’s been the closest friend to me for a while now, and it fucking hurts. There was something powerful about choosing not to be hateful, and just accepting how I felt without turning into a drunk mess over it.

I’m still sad, and that’s okay. Even if I’m crying, it felt so good to speak my truth, and finally say what I had been trying to say all along. There’s something about what I did, even if it seems insignificant, that changed and clarified my perspective in the best possible way. Depending on your philosophy of choice, I had help from above, or I found the inner strength to connect to my higher self. Whether talking to “God” is really communicating to a higher being, or if it’s just asking the “God” within yourself to find comfort and solace amidst all the messes and miseries of life, it doesn’t really matter.

I refuse to boil all of this down to some watered down “it works if you work it” bullshit, so I’ll just say… let go and let “God.”