This is not a story about a victim and a perpetrator or an accuser and accused, this is messy and nuanced and human and real, this is life. And it only serves to heal to the degree that it can be seen and known and felt as it was, not as a story with clearly defined roles, but as a blurry manifestation of the confusions and wounds that exist in that complex organism that is the dynamic interactions of human beings.
I write this because I see that younger generations have a chance to start fresh with our help and guidance, but I think it takes some honest reflection on our parts first, where have we misstepped how can we perhaps guide them in better directions?
In the interest of all of this I personally have been doing some deep diving over the past few months to jostle free some truths that might make me a more honest, more informed guide (Perhaps aiming to give them something beyond “I don’t know, I’m still learning”—though I do find breaking down of the illusion that any of us has all the answers to be a helpful starting place).
This is just one small example of the confusion I have carried with me into adulthood, and my guess is that many have had similar experiences. I do worry that by sharing this it might solicit sympathy or attention, so know that is not what I wish for at all. I have perspective that this example is simply a drop in the bucket, and a small one at that, of not only my life stories, but of the collective pain and trauma we hold as a group. It’s only value exists in whatever lessons we can take away, in whether we can use it to grow and evolve.
Now all my fretting and postponing aside, here’s my “not a story”. When I was 15 one of my early negative sexual experiences went like this (again guessing many had similar incidents):
It was a house party with a bunch of teenagers ranging in age, we were all drinking, an older boy took me into a back room, it was exciting to be getting his attention, he pulled me onto a bed, we were making out, at his abundant physical and verbal coaxing I began going down on him, being that he was very inebriated he was having trouble climaxing however, so the situation got more and more forceful, he didn’t want me to stop and said it would leave him in pain if I did, it was rough, it was late, I wanted to leave, his friend came in and started watching and laughing and the more I said I wanted to leave the more they laughed and protested that I needed to stay. The friend took my top which was off at the time and hid it so I wouldn’t be able to leave. The situation continued for some time (to be clear I was not screaming, I was not banging on doors and attempting escape, I was somewhere caught between whimpering-nervously laughing- crying-playing cool-begging to go-wanting to be please-being silent) then a girl at the party busted in, not sure what sparked her kind gesture, I think perhaps she had experienced something similar with this guy, she asked me if I was ok and when I explained that I really wanted to leave she helped find my shirt. I was able to go home. The next time I saw this crowd (I think the next day) the group of guys gave me “an award” for “Most Persistent” announcing that I gave a blow job for more then an hour. Yes it was mortifying, but also I didn’t get angry or protest or say that what happened was wrong or not wanted…I was caught in-between feelings, in some haze of wanting the group to think that I was deserving of approval and praise, that I was indeed admirable, not timid or weak or upset. I wanted to be desirable, I wanted guys to like me. So I proudly accepted the praise, made my excuses went back to my apartment and proceeded to get sick and not leave the apartment for months to come. I felt gross and guilty, I had a loving boyfriend I had broken it off with because he was across country and now I refused his calls and his attempts at love and friendship. After months of missing school and not wanting to leave the house, I was put on antidepressants, but oddly didn’t have the emotional literacy to connect all of this and in my later years wrote it all off to being a moody dramatic teenager.
This is NOT a tale about how horrible those guys were, my guess is they were equally if not more confused then I, who knows what was going on in their lives that was at the root of the binge drinking which they were escaping into, who knows the insecurities and pain at the root of their sexual frustrations, my perception is that they honestly thought I was happy and proud of my “persistence”, and probably left with some hazy, drunken altered impression that I enjoyed myself. My point IS that it is on us to insure that future generations can be given better tools to navigate through the bizarre emotional and hormonal rollercoaster that is being a teenager.
Telling these stories, facing these truths is ridiculously hard (recounting it I find myself feeling such shame, self doubt, self loathing, etc. that I simply want to avoid the subject). But I do hope that by being open and reflecting on a scenario, the likes of which I believe many of us have experienced, I can add to the trend of healing that must take place for us as a collective.