A ridiculously high portion of my arguing with Noah happens because he is angry about the ways I am self-denigrating. I went to a friend’s house for a birthday party this weekend. They have a pool! And a diving board! I like diving. I love the feeling of impact on the water. I always have. Someone I have known for over a decade asked me if I used to competitively dive. I snorted and said no. I never lived in one place long enough to do anything competitively. When I brought this story home to Noah his comment was, “Naw my ex-girlfriends little brother competitively dove and you don’t do anything like that.” Roughly paraphrased. I lay in bed for a while and cried. When other people were doing things like competitive diving I was trying to find people to have sex with me. That was what I did with my time.
Noah has a big chip on his shoulder that all that time I spent in school learning about English literature has worth. I think he is quite ridiculous. I failed at the degree. If I go off into the world no one thinks that my skills have merit because when it mattered for my field I failed. I won’t ever be hired for a job where someone is supposed to have that skill set because I failed. Obviously I don’t have them. I could go back to teaching, if I was willing to go back to school and earn another credential. I’d kind of rather slit my wrists. I’m really tired of jumping through hoops to prove I am worthy only to be told I am not. I would be able to earn a credential again because no one ever actually measures you in the process. The credential is pathetic and a joke. Thus why I don’t want my kids going through an educational process spearheaded by a training program that doesn’t train people.
I’m at this weird point. I’m thirty. My youth is over. I’m not old yet, but I am a full on adult now. I will never be young again. I don’t feel like I am a person who has done much that is worthy of being proud of. I feel ashamed of myself. I don’t know how to be much of anything other than a dirty street kid. I feel like the world doesn’t have a lot of use for me so why should I bother to try? I’m not good enough. I’m not good enough to do anything worthy of doing.
It was interesting going to the birthday party. When I met this group most folks were in their thirties. Now they are in their fifties and I am in my thirties. I am the grown up I perceived them as being. It was interesting seeing how people change. Or don’t change. What is life anyway? What are people doing here? Everyone gets to decide for themselves. There isn’t an arbitrary yard-stick of important. It doesn’t matter if there is an arbitrary line or not I feel pretty worthless. I have worth in the sense that some human being has to be present with my very young children basically constantly in order to meet their needs because that is the deal for our species.
I feel proud of myself for having been a teacher. I felt really good about the number of people who told me they went their entire educational career (I had them for junior or senior year) feeling like a worthless piece of shit and I was the first teacher who ever made them feel good about themselves. I taught them to like themselves. Why can’t I like me? I feel dirty because of the sex I had. I feel like some how that tainted me. I feel like being as compulsive as I was makes me a disgusting person. This is certainly a common enough trope in our society.
Seriously think about how we judge loose, easy, slutty girls and women. Every bad thing you have ever heard or thought about a woman or girl for having too much sex or sex with too many people—I’ve probably had a lot more sex than the other person you were judging. When I hear people being nasty about slutty girls, the kind who have slept with five people in high school, about how disgusting they are… that’s me. I don’t personally know very many people who have had sex with more people than me. It’s a very short list of people. I have been somewhat horrified to find out that the “biggest sluts” in a few communities had body counts less than half of mine. What does that mean about me?
I don’t know how to talk to people in the sex communities about the fact that part of the reason I don’t want to be a big slut for the rest of my life is I’m kind of tired of the reaction. I’m tired of having to brace myself for the disdain and the sneering. I don’t even know where it all comes from.
It’s not that I feel bad about myself for not being a competitive diver. It’s not that I think that I know nothing about English literature. It’s that the only thing I have done in a way that no one can take away from me or say it “doesn’t count” is fuck people. The only thing that is really and truly mine is my body count. No one can uncount it. They can refuse to give me jobs based on my lack of a formal degree proving that I know things about English literature. No one can say I don’t know much about sex. Ha.
If I continued to sleep around I would eventually decide I wanted to hit four digits. I don’t really want to do that. I know I would. I know that in the marrow of my bones. If the only thing in this life I have to compete with is the number of people I have fucked god damn I have Wilt Chamberlain to catch up with I had better hurry.
I am a deeply competitive person. That’s why I don’t play games. That’s why I don’t like doing anything competitive. Because I can’t deal with losing and I will think very unhealthy things in the process. Because I have missed the boat in this lifetime to compete in things that might actually be healthy. All I can do is compete in a race to the bottom.
I feel vaguely ashamed of myself that I am going to go run a marathon and probably one of the last 100 people over the finish line. I’m going to barely survive this. I can tell. I can run far but I can’t run fast. If I’m lucky I will finish in less than seven hours. I’m praying I don’t have to keep walking the full seven and a half hours they leave the finish line open. I’m really really praying I don’t fail and have to continue the route on the side walk afterwards even though I don’t qualify as a race finisher. I will get through the miles. I feel pathetic in my stubborn determination. I know I won’t be good. I’m not even bothering to try. I’m good enough to be in last place. Damnit.
I feel pathetic because I am so sad that I will never be good at anything. Most people aren’t, right? I’m good at not dying. Aren’t people like me supposed to die? When I think about who and what I am I feel ashamed. First and foremost in my self-assessment needs to be survivor. I am vain enough to believe that I get that word. My father held a gun to my head and asked me if I deserved to live and I am here writing about it more than twenty years later and he is dead. I survived.
At the birthday party I sat down and talked with an old friend about being raped at a party he DJ’ed. I explained why I ran away from that community. I talked to him about why I didn’t bother saying anything at the time. No one believes worthless pieces of shit like me. I had deliberately ingested GHB and gone to a sex party. My right to say no evaporated at the door, right? Either play the game or get the fuck out. I got out.
Recently I heard someone talking about their ex as “a waste of skin”. The phrase sent shivers through me. Am I a waste of skin? Am I just a hole? Well, kind of. Depends on how you think about it. At this time I am a mom. That’s about that hole.
I like telling people that Calli’s labor took nine days and I almost bled to death in my house. It makes me feel like that hole has finally earned the respect it deserves. Yeah. My cunt is epic. Ok, so labor is only really about the vagina for the last couple of minutes, but it’s an important couple of minutes. And the uterus is so connected you can esteem the whole system at once.
One of my lovers went through gender reassignment surgery after we stopped dating. I sat down and talked with her about the experience years later. She bled out while she was alone in her apartment and almost died. She said that when women-born-women try to pull the, “But you don’t have to deal with your period so you don’t really know what it is like” she likes to say that she bled enough in that one night to make up for a whole lifetime. Because if you bleed enough you count, right?
Did I bleed enough during my labor? Did my transformation into a mother do enough to make up for being a dirty whore for so long? I don’t know. I know that I live in a world that actively tells me I am bad. I know that I live in a world that tells me on one hand I have worth and on the other hand pays me less, values all of my contributions less, and says I should keep my mouth shut about being raped. What else do I expect? I expect that it doesn’t matter if I am a 24 year old woman at a sex party getting raped or an 11 year old girl who has the 60-something year old neighbor push me for sex or a 15 year old girl fucking a 42 year old guy. It’s all my fault. It’s all just what I deserve. From what I can tell it isn’t what every single woman deserves, but it is for me. You get what you deserve in life, right?
Noah thinks that he can convince me that there is some merit somewhere in the world for the act of criticizing writing and I have earned it. I have gone out and learned how to do that skill and I should be proud of it. He thinks I should feel like I have actually done something. I just can’t be that self-delusional. Whatever merit there is in the world for that skill I failed to attain it. Time to move on. I’m really glad that I know I was a good teacher. It lets me believe I am not completely required to fail at educating my children. I have successfully educated people in the past. I even mostly avoided the topic of sex. When I talked about sex I told them to masturbate because people their age suck at sex.
If you can’t be a good example be a horrible warning. I’m fairly certain there is no hope this lifetime of me being “good”. Some days that is harder to live with than others.
Today I will bake and clean the bathroom. I will spend time with a friend. I will try to believe in the pit of my stomach that it doesn’t matter if I am “good” or if I “deserve” the life I have. I have it. I get to decide what to do with it. I think the girls and I should plant some seeds.