You know at least one rapist. No matter who you are. No matter what you think you know. Unless you know fewer than twenty men, you probably know a rapist. How do you live with that? How do you account for that? Do you think you are safe? I never understand why other women have the hubris to feel safe. I hope that I am never raped again. I'm not going to put money on it. I understand that part of the human condition is the need to play power games and at some point I may have the misfortune to be in the room with someone more powerful than me. Or maybe I will be attacked while running some day. Who knows.
Short of staying in my house and never associating with anyone again, what choice do I have? I can do all of the little "avoid being raped" tricks that they pass around but in that last vital moment... really... there isn't all that much I can do. Some day I will have to depend on the kindness of a man to not rape me. Really I will have to depend on it over and over.
Recently I was spending time with a good friend/former lover. He suggested Watercourse Way, which is a hot tub place. From the minute he suggested going there till when we left there was a part of my brain and body that was on high alert. I was really afraid he was going to push physical boundaries. He didn't. He has proven to me before that when he's told to not touch me he is likely to stay 12' away from me so there is no muddy area. But I was taking a risk. A fairly big risk. He's a big man and if he wanted to over power me it wouldn't be hard. I've known him for twelve years. When I spend time with him I worry and I keep escape routes in my mind.
The guy who came over for dinner? I don't worry about that kind of thing as much. When someone is going to be with me and my kids I'm far less worried about what they will try to pull. Shanna's speech is prodigious. She speaks like a nine or ten year old. If someone came over and tried to do something sleazy with me and Shanna in the room I am very aware that we will be one anothers witnesses. It would be hard to over-power both of us at the same time and we could both speak to police later. Right there it becomes a less powerful situation for anyone. There is more than one person on my side. It's interesting to me that other women don't see their children as a resource in the same way.
Sexual assault primarily happens among people who know one another. Stranger assault is somewhat uncommon. Most of the reason for this, in my only-slightly-educated-opinion, is because rape is about power and it is very difficult to assess the power of a stranger. You pick victims you know because you know how to get past their boundaries. A guy I barely know isn't going to push his luck to hard because he will come up against my massive social hostility. I do not appear weak on first blush. You have to get to know me a little before you see the chinks in my armor. From what I hear, on first blush I am often terrifying. I'm really not concerned about shy gamer geeks coming over for dinner.
Noah feels a little weird about the fact that I am still thinking about why nonmonogamy is a bad idea for me. He thinks we have made the monogamy decision, ok those reasons are done--move on. I don't do that. Monogamy is going to be a behavioral choice for me. It's not really a relationship choice. I need to stop picking up sleazy men. Some of my former lovers may read this. I love you dearly. You scare the shit out of me. I am far more afraid of my former lovers than I am random men I don't know.
If someone I don't know touches me physically in an even barely intimate way, say stroking my arm, I am extremely likely to haul off and hit them. I'm rather reactionary with such things. If someone starts touching me in a way I don't like but I'm worried about preserving the relationship... I'm in trouble. Because there is a battle in my head between, "Do I mind this boundary incursion enough to risk fucking up my relationship?" Part of the problem with my anger issues is I don't have softball defenses. If you put a toe over my boundary line I can't drop a beanbag on the toe. I'm going to throw an anvil at your head. It's hard to survive being in my inner circle. People don't seem to make it much longer than a decade. I'm glad Jenny is in another country. Maybe she will manage to stay one of my intimate friends for life that way.
There are a lot of ways I am deeply broken. I don't ask for help well. And I don't defend minor boundary incursions well. I don't ask for help until I am in serious trouble and I should have had help an hour or a week ago. For someone to waffle or hesitate or decide slowly what part of it they want to help with... I can't stay and watch that. I laid bare my need to you and you didn't say, "Oh let me help" fine. Fuck you. I'll fucking figure it out by myself. That's not very useful. And minor boundary incursions are ignored until there are a bunch of them and then I explode. Because I decided along the way that the relationship was more important than pointing out all those nit-picky things... and then by the time I build a list the relationship isn't more important any more. I feel bad saying that. But it's true. Avoiding saying it doesn't make the situation better.
Near as I can tell a rather large percentage of "rape" is sex that is coerced and unwanted but the woman never says no or actively resists. We just shut up and take it. I wish that I had another word for sex I don't want but I never said no to. I often or usually said no or resisted during many of the times I was raped. How wishy-washy can I be. I know that right now I don't want to go through my list of rapes in my head but when I casually think, "Did I resist or say no?" I can think of multiple times I know I did. I'm only seeing a few though. And I'm tired and fuzzy headed and I don't want to try and examine if that is close to the full list. That hurts my heart.
I have a lot of shame around my sexuality. I have a lot of shame around the fact that I have used fantasies of my father to fuel most of my masturbatory life for most of my life. I don't do that any more. My orgasm response is nearly entirely gone. I can't help but feel that I put a graduate-degree level of work into learning my body only to decide that everything I knew was bad and I shouldn't have ever wanted it and I'm disgusting for having ever done any of it.
Learning to feel horrified by that part of me feels inextricably tied to being a parent. I am one of those loathsome people who shouldn't be allowed near children. Oh my god. The idea that someone would allow a person from a sex community to meet their children is horrifying and disgusting. What about when the parents are from that sex community? Why do I have any morally superior ground? Because I dropped some crotch fruit? Oh give me a break. I am the youngest child in an incestuous family. It went on for generations. I do not believe that being a parent means you are more likely to be safe.
Do you know what I like the best about the sex community? The gossip. Your reputation will make you or break you. Having deviant sex requires finding deviant people who are willing to trust you. Folks like to talk. If you step out of line in the community, often word gets around. It's not infallible. But it's fairly effective. I depend on that network for a lot of my baseline assumptions about people. Like: should I let them in my house or not. Past that I tend to rely on the fact that I am twitchy and aggressive to get rid of most people. Only people who are willing to deal with me loudly and aggressively dealing with them come multiple times. It's interesting to see how it shakes out.
But I'm not stupid. I am well aware that the danger isn't in the first few times someone comes over. Who might pick me as a target? Lots of people. But going forward I have the hard and fast line in my head. I'm monogamous. It's a behavior choice. It changes a lot of how I talk to people. When I am hunting people often mistake me wanting them. I'm a chick and breathing and willing to fuck anyone--that means them, right?
Lately I spend a lot of time examining my behavior choices. I don't want to send mixed signals. How do I physically hold myself when I am hunting versus when I when I am not looking for prey? That kind of "being nice" is bad for me system wide because it fucks up my boundary defenses everywhere. I'm having a very hard time with keeping my boundaries so active with everyone else and not with Noah. It feels all or nothing for me. Either I don't get to say no to sex, with anyone, or I'm just not interested. I think it is a lot more useful and productive for me to work through this than to try and deal with the issues around nonmonogamy.
I want to be with Noah for the rest of my life. Some day I will probably have to deal with him dying. I have some attachment issues. I'm worried about being flighty and scared and unable to commit. I'm worried about breaking us. Nonmonogamy brings a whole series of big rocks into our lives for us to throw ourselves against. Monogamy brings much smaller rocks.
The past few weeks since writing the book I have had some fairly frank conversations with myself about the level of trauma I went through. I understand more of why people say, "I don't understand how you survived." Because I did. Because I got back up every day and I kept moving. I don't know how many of those I have left in me.
There is a song out on country radio right now, by Martina McBride. It's about surviving cancer. I'm fairly terrified of the future. I'm well aware that life has no obligation to be kind. I need a partner. I know people tell me that I am strong enough to be alone if I need to. Yes, I suppose I could survive that. But I wouldn't really live through it. Noah has the biggest piece of me of any one on this planet. It's only going to grow by the year. I can't do this and keep my awareness up for big rocks. Things will happen that are unavoidable. Things we can't ignore. Things we have to deal with. They have to be things that I can completely and totally have the right to be surprised by. I can't keep my expectations of life low enough for nonmonogamy. I can't expect to be kicked that hard on a regular basis. I won't be able to keep surviving.
It feels like a melodramatic asshole thing to say. Other people do just fine with the fact that their partner wants to give part of themself to someone else. I'm not as fine with that. Noah is a bonder. I only kind of am. I'm just fine with the scorched earth policy in life. There are always people still standing. There are always people standing because there will always be people who are genuinely innocents in this life. They haven't done anything to me or anyone else. I try my hardest to be nice to them. They seem to be able to forgive me for a lot of temper.
My approach of scorching earth when someone has transgressed enough on a close relationship is problematic. A lot of the reason I blog the way I do is because I am releasing these words onto the open internet. I can't really come back later and deny doing it, now can I? I need to have that accountability. I need to have it so that I can't become a liar. I was pushed hard towards sociopathic behaviors. I don't come close to being a sociopath, but I certainly know how to manipulate. I certainly know how to lie. I don't want to. I want to tell the truth. I want to be consistent. If I make a record of my real and true beliefs I can't end up being a liar, right?
I don't know how to communicate about the small things in a useful way with most people. Luckily Noah seems to be able to handle the conversational equivalent of an anvil to the head. When I am upset with Noah I can write about it as much as I want and he doesn't feel slighted. With other people I worry about discretion. I don't know how to handle that. When I can't write abou things I feel like I shouldn't even be thinking them because they aren't nice. Then in order to feel justified in defending my original boundaries I have to over-defend them. Because not am I dealing with whatever the original boundary is, but it was hard for me to buck myself up enough to say, "Hey! I deserve better." Because I feel like someone treating me like shit is pretty normal and par for the course. It's hard to believe otherwise.
And that leads neatly into something I've been observing in my social circle lately. Has anyone else noticed how many of the geek boys who grew up being taunted and abused have gone on to be nasty bullies? Some of the girls too, but I see a lot of the worst nastiness from guys. I don't get out much so I don't pretend my experiences are the only ones. I think about it because I know that by the time I try to defend my boundaries I sound and look a lot like a bully. I'm trying to figure out how I want to deal with that.
Being a parent is teaching me who I want to be. Shanna's facial expressions lately are always angry. She's patterning off of me. I don't get to decide who she becomes. But I get to decide who she has to put up with today. I want my children to remember a stable, happy life. I want my kids to remember parents who were enthusiastic about life--not people who put their head down to sludge through the misery. I don't want to show my kids that I am strong enough to survive any misery dumped on me. I want to show my kids how to change your life so that you have fewer problems. That means making different choices. That means learning how to say that something isn't working for me without having to scorch earth.
Parenting is really complicated. I'm having a hard time being the person I think I should be. Given the people I know and how they parent I don't think anyone else has it easier. My mother did her best for me. It wasn't good enough. I am trying to figure out what my best would be for my kids. I don't have the assumption that I can muddle through and whatever I do will be good enough. I know that the economists tell me it is. But I can't. I have to have to actually change in order to be my best. Otherwise I don't know what will happen. I don't know how I will pass the cycles on. The children of Adult Children of Alcoholics act like they grew up with a drinker in the house. It's about behavior patterns. I don't want to recreate the family that I had.
Who do I want to be when I grow up? Well, I will be someone who invites people from sex communities over to my house for dinner. Because I know how to keep the conversation G rated. People who have sex are regular people too. I do a lot of gardening. It's getting to the point where I am starting the beginnings of plans that are going to take me twenty years to finish. I guess this is my forever house. It's a good thing it will be paid off in ten or so years. Some day it will have more light.
Who do I want to be when I grow up? I think that deserves ten minutes of writing on its own. I want to be the gentled version of me. I want to be someone who feels safe. I want to be someone who experiences joy in my body. I want to feel like I am a decent person to know, even if you met me at a sex party. I want to feel like I am not a dirty little secret. I want to be someone who is allowed to be complicated because there is far more good than bad. I want to be someone who has a company-ready house every day. I like making last minute plans with people and I have a lot of shame issues around house cleaning stuff. I keep my house neat-enough. Lots of people see it covered in toys and I barely shrug. But I did mop and vacuum that day so it was perfectly neat at some point. I clean a lot. I think that is going to be part of who I am as a grown up. I like things to be shiny and I need to just put that into my morning routine as something I do for me.
Oh that's pathetic. Who do I want to be when I grow up? I know I would like to talk about sex stuff again. I don't know in what capacity. SFSI already turned me down. I'm not very good at round table discussions.
I will always be a person who likes to teach and who likes working with groups of people who are learning. I don't know what shape that will take when I grow up. When I grow up I will feel a lot more comfortable with living in the town I live in. I will have been here longer than anywhere else. I am training for a marathon here. I am learning these streets intimately. I am meeting my neighbors. I will be a person who knows a lot of people here. I'm going to be that crazy lady down the street with the weird yard. The one who used to dye her hair funny colors but then she shaved it. They do recognize me and take double takes. It's pretty funny.
When I grow up I won't seem weird. I'll just seem like Krissy. I will be comfortable in my skin and I will make people near me feel comfortable in their skin. Because it's just as ok for them to be them as for me to be me. Yeah, I'm not much like other people. But that's not actually weird. Once you know me it makes sense that I am how I am. It works really well for me.
That's who I will be when I grow up. I will have fucked up over and over and changed as a result. I will learn how to actually live instead of just surviving. That is who I want to be when I grow up. I want to be someone who travels and meets people and has stories to tell. I don't want to be overwhelmed by how hard it is just to do the basics to survive. I want to thrive. I want to know that I have extra energy lying around for random people phoning and telling me they have to drive past my house, can they stop for dinner.
I want to be someone who lives. I want to be someone who loves. I want to be someone who is safe and knows it. I want to know that if some day I am raped again in a chance encounter it will be something that does not make me want to jump off a bridge. I want to be someone who is actually attached to the people standing near me and they can actually give me support. That is going to be a big change. I don't think I can be alone with such things any more.
I think that's the line. I'm strong enough to just survive and put my head down and get through everything that happens to me, no matter what. I am a dumb animal and I have a strong will to live. But I can't do that and really live. I will be so bitter. So angry. The hurting has to stop in order for this to change. I know that happiness is a state of mind and not a circumstance. I know. I know I could just change it. But I don't know that I can by myself. It's too hard. I need to stop hitting rocks for a while. I can't change my response pattern if I am constantly in flux. It's too hard for me. I'm sorry.