I need you to know some things. Things that I've kept inside for a long time. Things that happened in my life, that impacted me in a very negative way. I need to get it off my chest. You were part of that process. And yes, I'm a sorta normal, functioning adult. But I was not spared from hurts, disappointments, or hang-ups.
When my sister and I were playing one day, she said something about no sex. All I knew was that sex produced children. I popped off at the mouth, "Then you don't have kids!" It started an argument. You were painting in the dining room, took a break, and we sat in the floor as you told me a very, very basic, "A woman has three holes, the middle is the baby maker. A guy has a...their bodies are different. His body goes into the middle hole and that's how babies are made." I was about 8 years old. And we wouldn't have another talk about sex or feeling or anything for several years.
I discovered how boys were different from me when my brother was born and I started changing his diapers. I was 9 1/2. Oh. So *that* is why guys pee standing up. *That* is what makes them different. You insisted that my sister and I call my brother's equipment a "little boy thing". I honestly cannot remember when I found out a man's junk is called a penis. I do know for a fact, you never told me that bit of information.
Around the same age, you gave me a book about periods that had very basic pencil drawings in it. I learned what a period was. The anatomy charts were very simplistic. You told me when I got my period, you'd get me pads. I asked about the tampons mentioned in the book. You got a funny look on your face and said, "Ewww, you don't want to use tampons. You're a virgin. You don't want to damage your body in anyway. You need to save yourself for you future husband." I took what you said as gospel. But seriously, how many women have you personally met that lost their virginity to a tampon?
When I was 13, I was at the library one day. I saw a book laying on the table with a pictures of a beautiful woman in the arms of an Adonis. The title, which I can't remember now, caught my attention. I started skimming thru the book. I turned a page close to the middle, and bam. A sex scene. I remember slamming the book shut and looking around in shame. Seeing I was in the clear and that no one was around me, I opened the book back. The curiosity was killing me. What was the hype? What was the big deal? And that is where I learned how sex happens. And that is also where I learned there were parts of my anatomy that worked in what seemed to be beautiful ways. There were creative names the book used. Somehow, even though it was foreign to me, it didn't seem "too" evil. What I was reading is what two people who love each other do, right?
I remember going home, waiting till bedtime, and when I was positive the entire house was dark and asleep, practicing on myself under the covers, what I had read in the book. Did it many nights. I still couldn't fully understand all of what I was doing. After all, it was a romance book. Not a science book. All I know is, it felt good, and I slept very well afterwards.
It was also around this time when I went hiking with friends and found a page from a "dirty magazine". That was my first images of "real" men and women's bodies. It wasn't in an anatomy book in the safety of my home, with a mother who explained sexual differences. It was a smutty page in a magazine in the mountains. The women were beautiful. And I knew in that moment that I would never, ever be as beautiful as them.
All this happened around the same time I got my period. My body was awakening. I was feeling things I never dreamed possible. My body felt out of control. Hormones were raging, my face was broken out, my hair was greasy, I developed curves, my world was falling apart and coming together, all at once. This is when Dad started acting all weird on me. He wouldn't touch me like he used to anymore. Seemed almost angry or resentful.
Dad started pushing me so much harder. Expecting more out of me. He got me a job in the big city. I worked 40 hours a week at 15-16 years old. Coming home so tired at night, trying to finish my schoolwork. It was at this job that I discovered more. My coworkers were wild. My manager was having an affair with a man she met online in a chat room. One day I logged into a chat room to see what it was all about. Being a 16 year old, I chose an obviously girly name. I wasn't there 10 seconds and I had people coming at me. A man sent a private message. We started talking. I was young and naive. And honest. I'm 16. He started asking very personal questions. What my body looked like, how many boys I'd been with. I shouldn't have answered him. But I craved attention, affection, something. And that is how I learned what cyber sex was. And how I learned way more colorful names of my (and his) anatomy. I know today that if the man was really the 33 years old he stated, I was jail bait and he could have gotten in a crapton of trouble. A 33 year old man, saying what he did to a 16 year old girl. It makes me sick today. I wish I could hug the 16 year old, confused me.
One day at work, an hour from home, I started my period unexpectedly. A coworker handed me...a tampon. She said, "It's all I got. Use your imagination." I spent 30 minutes in the bathroom, looking at the tampon, in turmoil, not knowing how exactly how to use it, scared it would take my virginity away, but knowing if I didn't do something, I would bleed out on my clothing. I ended up burying the tampon in the bottom of the trash bin and rolling up paper towels as a makeshift pad. I then spent the rest of the day going to the bathroom every 15 minutes because I was scared I would bleed thru.
I knew juuuust enough about sex, but not all of it. I didn't know pregnancy prevention methods other than the pill, which I was put on because my period were weird and abnormal. I did not know exactly how a woman's cycle worked and that there were windows of time where pregnancy occurred. I did not know what a condom was, where to get it, how to put it on. I did not know about diaphragms, spermicides, the rhythm method, or anything else.
When I got engaged, I thought for sure you would give me more info. I waited for months. Not a word. I made the trip to the bookstore alone and bought a book about sex. Read it cover to cover. And it all made sense to me. Certain acts, positions, methods of birth control, you name it. It was in there. You finally approached me a month before my wedding and said you were going to get me something to explain all the ins and outs of sex. I'll never forget the expression on your face when I announced, "Too late. I already got a book and know everything I need to know." You asked to see it. I showed it to you. You said you felt it was a very informative book but that there were some things in there "we just don't do." and handed it back. You didn't explain what "we don't do".
You tried in your own way to protect me. But it backfired in an incredibly bad way. Because of your own life experiences and shame, you wouldn't share information with me. You sidestepped hard conversations because of your own discomfort. I learned what a man looks like, what a woman looks like, about kissing, hand jobs, blow jobs, dicks, cocks, pussies, and c*nts from other people. I learned my experiences from the internet, from fantasy books, from my own experiences. All the while, feeling shameful. Because sex is dirty. Touching ourselves is dirty. We just don't talk about those things. You taught me shame, discomfort, and even self-consciousness of my own body.
I didn't enjoy sex to the fullest, completely guilt free, till recently. I learned after almost losing my marriage, just how physical and emotional intimacy really work. I learned it how I learned everything else important in my life. By myself. By doing the work alone. I have a relationship with a wonderful man that I never dreamed possible. He knows everything about me. I know everything about him. We have an emotional connection that quite frankly, still takes my breath away. My physical relationship? Completely different. It first started out after Dday in a panic. I would do anything and everything to show my husband how sorry I was for my actions. I was desperate to save our marriage. But then something wonderful and unexpected happened. I realized that I was really allowed to do these things with my husband. And I was allowed to enjoy it. I can be a whore in the bed with him, and it's totally ok.
And since you're all religious, I can say this. It's even scriptural! There are verses everywhere, even a whole book (Song of Solomon) that supports this. You came to my house one day and was shocked to see a canvas of a Bible verse on my bedroom wall. "Be thou ravished always in my love". It's part of Proverbs 5:19 KJV. Have you ever read the whole verse Mother? Or the verse before it?
Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
I can assure you, the breast reference is not targeted to a child. It's to a man. And his lover. My husband was reading his Bible one day shortly after Dday. Those verses got him thru some dark days. And they were key in my awakening that I was "allowed" to enjoy sex with my husband. And that is why that portion of scripture is on my bedroom wall. Because it means a great deal to my husband and I. It is a daily reminder for both of us of where we've come from, and how far we we have walked.
Thank you Mother. Thank you for showing me how not to address body issues and sex with my children. As incredibly hurtful as my life has been, I know what I will not do with my children. I will not hide. I will not be ashamed. My children will be informed. And they will know, before the world can influence them, how things work. And they will not be ashamed. My children will be proud of their bodies. I will not tell them, "I don't know where you go those curves. I sure don't look like that." I will not vaguely tell them, "We don't do certain things." or "You will loose your virginity by using tampons". I will give them current, informative, researched facts on their bodies and sex. Because as a human being, they have the right to know. I will not allow my comfort or discomfort inhibit my ability to have the hard and difficult talks. They will be empowered. They will be healthy. Just like their mother.
"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne
"Look, as sentient meat, however illusory our identities are, we craft those identities by making value judgments. Everybody judges, all the time. Now, you got a problem with that, you’re living wrong."
This is powerful, gut wrenching and so familiar to me. I am so proud to call you my friend.
And I wrote a similar letter but gave it to my mom. It was not well received at the time but we have been able to mend a lot of our broken places.
I feel angry. Disappointed, heart broken, abandoned, and worthless.
You had a horrible childhood. Worse than I could ever imagine. And you escaped that life. But you didn't deal with the demons. And they rule your life today. You have stayed in an abused victim's mindset. And you and your children, and your grand children suffer because of it. What a legacy Mother. Are you proud?
You know, I remember a time when you and Dad were partners. I remember when he treated you well. He would take you out on dates, you would shop at whatever store you wanted to. You would buy things for yourself and us kids without shame or hesitation. You were equals in the relationship. I was very, very young. But I remember happier times.
But somewhere along the way, the power shifted. And you allowed Dad to walk over you. After all, that is habit due to your FOO right? His needs, wants, and desires are paramount. He has the best of everything, whatever strikes his fancy. And you will bend over backwards to give it to him. Why Mother? Hasn't he hurt us enough? When are you going to stand up for yourself?
Whenever he gets a bright idea, there is absolutely no stopping him. And you know what? You don't even try. His power grows. Your own wants and desires fall further and further down the ladder. You wonder why you're where you're at Mother? Talk a walk down memory lane.
When he said he got me a full time job, you halfheartedly tried to stop him. As a 15-16 year old child, of COURSE I wanted the job. You didn't put up much of a fight. How did Dad and his buddy get past the child labor laws Mother? Do you not see how terribly messed up it was, no matter the angle?
If my child's father announces that they're working full time, and hour from home at the tender age of 15, you better believe I'm going to throw the biggest stinkin' tantrum ever. Everyone on this side of planet Earth will know. And no. I will not allow them out the back door of the house. Let them think I'm a mean mother. I don't care. I'm looking out for them. Because that's what parents do. You failed your position. Your own abuse and hang ups caused that. I'm "supposed" to find forgiveness for you. It's the key and peaceful and all that. Well I'm not there yet.
Little Sister read my letter to you Mother. Anger cannot touch the emotion she is feeling. What little you told me of womanhood and intimacy? You didn't tell her half what you told me. You didn't speak up when her 15 year old, 200+ lb. boyfriend almost raped her. Why? Church politics. Way to go Mother. Way to show us where your children rate on your scale of importance.
What are we to you Mother? Do you not see us as human beings with feelings? I see your brokenness but I simply cannot map this out to make any logical sense. I'm drowning in this storm. A storm that's been raging in my soul for way too long.
Everyone keeps telling me to write. Get it all out. And I start. And I think I'm finished. But then more comes surging out of me. I cannot fathom finding peace with this. I struggle with finding simple acceptance. When do I know when I'm done? That all my memories are out? Because every time I think I'm there, something else comes to light. I can't sleep at night. My husband holds me while I cry. I've been doing this for almost a year. And there's no sign of stopping. I'm tired. Scared.
You can't answer my questions. You can't tell me how to fix this. Cause you can't deal with your own stuff. So here I am Mother. Figuring this out on my own. I am terrified. But I know that being alone is better off than being in the poisonous atmosphere you call "family".
I have found more peace than I have ever known by putting distance between you and I. That's sad Mother. Terribly sad. You live a block away and I can't call, text, or visit you. Because you don't have my best interest at heart. You don't have my children's best interest at heart. You are too busy bowing down to and protecting the monster that you call husband.
Something broke in my soul two weeks ago Mother when you treated my Little Sister the way you did with her dead baby. I don't know if I will ever have a relationship with you again. And you know the really sad thing? I. Don't. Even. Care. I really don't. I see you at church. I feel nothing. Pass you in traffic. Nothing. You've made your choice. I just have to learn to accept it completely. The vast space of nothing I feel when I think of my AP? You're starting to fit in that same category.
Farewell. My life goes on.
This is powerful, gut wrenching and so familiar to me.
So let me just say I've come to appreciate the care and wisdom you put forth on this site for others, and myself. And that I hope you will feel some relief and progress toward closure on what is obviously a very intense part of your life.
I hope you will find some relief.
I too have written page upon page to both my parent's, spewing the rage, anger, hurt, disgust. I wrote of the greatest sins an adult can inflict upon an innocent child.
I have written as a grown woman, and as small child. I remember writing as a third grader... ( God, please let me die..... I wrote it 100x's) like punishment writing on a chalk board.
I was taught to pray at a very early age......
Honey, you write until you simply can not put another word to paper.. Until you feel as though there just anything left to write... It is no longer helpful. Then you just stop!
You will reach indiffence Aubrie!!! just as your statement regarding your AP.
At some point ( towards the end) you need to write what it is you"wish" could have, should have been your childrenhood memoreis. What you needed !!! Because as you and I have talked before...
"Since we will never will be the only voice in our child's ear, we need to make absolutely certain we are the best voice in their ear." Dr. P, not SoCo..
I am sorry you are hurting Aubrie, very,very sorry. But I am so proud of you for facing down the demons.
Such powerful writing, and I hope it helps you to heal. I know it will help others here.
You never were alone, Aubrie, you just didn't know it. I was there too. Wondering why my mother never told me about periods, or even how to shave my legs. Wondering why my mother let my father beat my brothers. Wondering where my mother was when my brother was raping me.
So much pain. That she now claims never happened, or she doesn't "remember it that way".
I have made my peace within myself. For now anyways.
Thank you for writing this. For sharing it. I'm so sorry that you've suffered such pain.
Aubrie you are NOT alone! You only "feel" alone. Do you understand the difference?
I have written as a grown woman, and as small child. I remember writing as a third grader...
At some point ( towards the end) you need to write what it is you"wish" could have, should have been your childrenhood memoreis. What you needed !
Have you read, "Will I Ever Be Enough?"
I held on to the anger and the bitterness for a long time.
That she now claims never happened, or she doesn't "remember it that way".
Since October, I've been feeling for myself. Thinking for myself. Doing for myself. And guess what!? I'm not dead yet. Looks like I *can* make good choices. Looks like I *can* live life without them. And I know deep down, I *can* heal from this crap.
Thanks to ya'll for responding either here or via PM. Much appreciated.
I don't like to blame age or being stuck in the past, but this was the same woman whom I had to explain that we don't use "belts" for pads anymore because there is a magical thing called adhesive. Your mom unfortunately was ignorant on the matter too.
Just thought I'd let you know you aren't alone!
"A lesson is learned. Life is. Simply. There is no Death. There is no Before. There is no After. All is in Flux. Simply."
[This message edited by MissesJai at 12:48 PM, January 17th (Friday)]