choices
The truth is, what he did to me is nearly exactly what you did to me just a few years prior. He incessanttly fed me alcohol and hung around until the moment was right. He’d done this before. He’d strategized, probably without even realizing it. And so did you. The difference, though, is that you strategized first. You took something from me, and so did he. And then you chastised and berated me for behaving in the exact same way that I did when you took from me for the very first time. For behaving in the exact same way that I did when you took from me that other time, and I know you know what I’m talking about. It has taken me too long to admit that I did not want this. You trained me to be okay with not wanting this. I had foolishly rationalized that it was “okay” long before you deiced to ask. I remember being in Hobby Lobby with my mom the evening after. You texted: “are you okay with what happened last night?” What happened. It’d been nearly 24 hours. I’d responded something along the lines of, “I think so. You’re my best friend.” You were my “best friend.” This had to be okay. What did it mean if it wasn’t okay? What other choice did I have other than to make it okay? This is what I was taught. This is what I had been trained to do—to submit. To submit, and forget, and drink to forget more, and to let men--no, boys--to let boy use and abuse me because I did not know how else to feel good, to feel present in my body, to not feel shame and disgust toward everything that I naturally am (spoiler: this appraoch did not help). We broke up because I, too, was a cheater in the end. I, too, began to give into those empty but oh-so-alluring impsulses of ego, lust, adrelnaline, and the hollow self-assurance mid-adolesence so often calls for. In the bleary-eyed wisdom of my thirtieth year, I am now realizing just how hollow so many of my sexual encounters have been. Even with you. Starting with you. How hollow they have always been. From the get go, I was not seen or protected. I was used. I was a receptacle. The sex was good, sometimes, and so that made it bearable. And I was never supposed to feel strongly, to have any objection to the way that these boys treated me sexually, because it was my choice. It was my choice to have ooccasionally good sex. It was my choice to seek these encounters that might make me feel better about myself. Sometimes. It was my choice. Right? Yes, I made choices. But so did they. So did you. And collectively, those choices have shredded me apart emotionally for an entire decade. Those choices, my choices PLUS YOUR CHOICES, have hung around me like ghosts, revealing themselves and scaring the shit out of me only when I finally let myself forget the fact that those ghosts are always going to be here. How is it that you get to live happily ever after so quickly, and so easily? Over the years you’d shown me the sexual- predator side of your charactor more times than I can count. How do you just get to shed that skin, and move on? Why don’t I get to shed this dichotomous virgin-whore skin that I have had no choice but to live in my entire life? Why do I still continue to wade these waters of guilt and self-pity--possibly even the same waters that my seventeen-year old self never grew out of? The shame and guilt that I have reignited time, and time, and time again? How do you get to walk away, as if it is a choice to leave it all behind? How has our past become my past, and why can’t I swallow that pain? Where have all my choices gone? I did not until recently realize how much power you are still wielding over me, and how much that stemmed from our very first time together. I was so naïve, and heartbroken, and fragile, and drunk, and god dammit you knew all of those things better than anyone. That’s why it had to be okay. And that is the persona that I return to when I think about you, and I think about us, and it makes me so very sick. That is why I cannot swallow the pain—because I revert to my young, dumb, drunk former self, who cowers at the very thought of you. We make better choices when we are apart, clearly. And I am finally fine with that. Still though, it frustrates me that when it comes to answering the ghosts of my choices, of our choices, the ones that whisper: “Was that rape? Was I raped?” it seems I have no choice at all.
Choices photpolymer resin, PLA, polymer clay, steel wire 2021
choices
The truth is, what he did to me is nearly exactly what you did to me just a few years prior. He incessanttly fed me alcohol and hung around until the moment was right. He’d done this before. He’d strategized, probably without even realizing it. And so did you. The difference, though, is that you strategized first. You took something from me, and so did he. And then you chastised and berated me for behaving in the exact same way that I did when you took from me for the very first time. For behaving in the exact same way that I did when you took from me that other time, and I know you know what I’m talking about. It has taken me too long to admit that I did not want this. You trained me to be okay with not wanting this. I had foolishly rationalized that it was “okay” long before you deiced to ask. I remember being in Hobby Lobby with my mom the evening after. You texted: “are you okay with what happened last night?” What happened. It’d been nearly 24 hours. I’d responded something along the lines of, “I think so. You’re my best friend.” You were my “best friend.” This had to be okay. What did it mean if it wasn’t okay? What other choice did I have other than to make it okay? This is what I was taught. This is what I had been trained to do—to submit. To submit, and forget, and drink to forget more, and to let men--no, boys--to let boy use and abuse me because I did not know how else to feel good, to feel present in my body, to not feel shame and disgust toward everything that I naturally am (spoiler: this appraoch did not help). We broke up because I, too, was a cheater in the end. I, too, began to give into those empty but oh-so- alluring impsulses of ego, lust, adrelnaline, and the hollow self-assurance mid-adolesence so often calls for. In the bleary-eyed wisdom of my thirtieth year, I am now realizing just how hollow so many of my sexual encounters have been. Even with you. Starting with you. How hollow they have always been. From the get go, I was not seen or protected. I was used. I was a receptacle. The sex was good, sometimes, and so that made it bearable. And I was never supposed to feel strongly, to have any objection to the way that these boys treated me sexually, because it was my choice. It was my choice to have ooccasionally good sex. It was my choice to seek these encounters that might make me feel better about myself. Sometimes. It was my choice. Right? Yes, I made choices. But so did they. So did you. And collectively, those choices have shredded me apart emotionally for an entire decade. Those choices, my choices PLUS YOUR CHOICES, have hung around me like ghosts, revealing themselves and scaring the shit out of me only when I finally let myself forget the fact that those ghosts are always going to be here. How is it that you get to live happily ever after so quickly, and so easily? Over the years you’d shown me the sexual-predator side of your charactor more times than I can count. How do you just get to shed that skin, and move on? Why don’t I get to shed this dichotomous virgin-whore skin that I have had no choice but to live in my entire life? Why do I still continue to wade these waters of guilt and self-pity-- possibly even the same waters that my seventeen- year old self never grew out of? The shame and guilt that I have reignited time, and time, and time again? How do you get to walk away, as if it is a choice to leave it all behind? How has our past become my past, and why can’t I swallow that pain? Where have all my choices gone? I did not until recently realize how much power you are still wielding over me, and how much that stemmed from our very first time together. I was so naïve, and heartbroken, and fragile, and drunk, and god dammit you knew all of those things better than anyone. That’s why it had to be okay. And that is the persona that I return to when I think about you, and I think about us, and it makes me so very sick. That is why I cannot swallow the pain—because I revert to my young, dumb, drunk former self, who cowers at the very thought of you. We make better choices when we are apart, clearly. And I am finally fine with that. Still though, it frustrates me that when it comes to answering the ghosts of my choices, of our choices, the ones that whisper: “Was that rape? Was I raped?” it seems I have no choice at all.
Choices photpolymer resin, PLA, polymer clay, steel wire 2021