When I was in my early 20's I worked as a salesperson. I did in home demos for a product, and one of my customers was my father's co-worker (and older male). After finishing my sales pitch, I began to leave, and he took it upon himself to give me an awkward side hug; his hand casually brushing my breast. I told my dad about it, and he just brushed it of as his co-worker just being a friendly guy.
Throughout my early to mid 20's I was a sex worker. This is a fact I have always been open about. I was desperate for money, so I posted ads on craigslist offering oral sex or nude photo shoots for money (I had sex once or twice as well). While everything was consensual, after all I was the one seeking out the clientele, I was not doing it because I enjoyed it; I was doing it to survive. Most of the people I "serviced" were older men, in their 40's, 50's, and 60's. I hated performing on them, I'd try to get it done as quickly as possibly. I hated the way the moaned, hated the way they leered at me, the things they said about me. I hated that I was reduced to a body. At the same time it made me feel like I was worth something. Plus, as I said I desperately needed the money.
When I was sexually abused in 2013 (or was it 2014?) it was by an older male.
I've had older men (such as roommates, and if you've read my Facebook as of late you-know-who) sexualize me and make lewd comments towards me.
I'm very sensitive to touch when I am angry, overwhelmed, disassociated, or dysregulated. I will sometimes have very knee jerk reactions if I am touched without warning, and there are only certain people who are able to when I am in these frames of mind. This sensitivity to touch, I have realized, is even more prominent when it comes to (you guessed it) older men; and not just in moments of anxiety and dysregulation. I am hesitant to hug older men, especially ones I am meeting for the first time, and become uneasy when I receive a harmless pat on the shoulder.
I was at a family gathering and I had on a tank top. I was sitting next to my Dad, chatting. At one point he placed his hand on my shoulder, a standard Italian Dad move. I felt uncomfortable, I wanted to recoil. I thought about the times I've hugged him lately; half hugs, arms by my side hugs. While my Dad did emotionally neglect me, he's never abused me in any way.
When I was in NYC the other week I was feeling overwhelmed, dysregulated, and exhausted from all the walking. As my friend (and older male) and I raced to catch my bus home, I began running up the escalator. Suddenly I couldn't, I felt like my legs were going to give out; I felt physically and emotionally drained. So I stopped; I leaned against the rail, put my head on my arm, and allowed the escalator to carry me up. Suddenly I felt hands on my shoulders. I knew in the back of my head that it was my friend, but I still freaked out. "Don't touch me! Keep your hands off me!" I cried. An image of the man who sexually abused me flashed in my head, not any of the events, just the person.
They've ruled out PTSD for me (which is surprising since BPD and PTSD tend to go hand in hand). I'm not even writing this to ask, "do I have another diagnosis." I'm sharing because it's something I've never realized about myself until recently, and I'm not really sure what to think of it.
I tried talking to a friend about it, but didn't get much of a reaction. Of course, he was high at the time, so that could have been why.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
I have always said, "nature is my church." I do not feel comfortable worshiping inside of a building because what I worship cannot be found withing the confinement of four walls. I feel most spiritual when I am in the woods, walking along a shoreline, in the middle of a lake, or even walking through the Boston Common. I have a lot of anxieties regarding death, and when I walk among nature I find comfort in the unknown; I find security in my beliefs, and if something were to happen to me at that very moment I would be at peace (though, at 33 I certainly hope it doesn't).
The one feature of worshiping in a building that I didn't know I was lacking was community. When I lived in western MA I felt that I had a community. I have not felt that way since moving from there. Sure, I have friends and people I hang out with and talk to; but I don't feel a sense of real belonging anywhere. More so, I don't feel it in regards to my emotional well being. As a Pandeist Pagan, I have never been interested in Covens. I find most of them to include belief in anthropomorphic deities, and use of paraphernalia. I would not feel comfortable in that sort of setting. I am more than sure there are groups of nature based Pagans out there, but the thing is my time in nature is sacred. It's my alone time, my time to connect spiritually. I do it my way and on my terms.
As I mentioned, I didn't know I was lacking a spiritual community. I didn't know this until I went and visited the First United Parish in Quincy, MA. This is the church where John Adams and John Quincy Adams are buried, and I went there for their historical tour. During the tour I learned the the church was a Unitarian Universalist church. I had heard the term before, and knew it as "the churches with the LGBT flag", but never knew what it was really about; so I asked questions. I learned that while UU churches are rooted in liberal Christianity, what they look like today are more of a community rather than a religion.
From the UU Wiki page; "Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion characterized by a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning". The Unitarian Universalist Church does not have a creed.
Instead UUs are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth. As such, UU congregations include many agnostics, theists, and atheists among their membership. Unitarian Universalists state that from these traditions comes a deep regard for intellectual freedom and inclusive love, so that congregations and members seek inspiration and derive insight from all major world religions. The beliefs of individual Unitarian Universalists range widely, including, atheism, agnosticism, pantheism, deism, Jusaism, Islam, Christianity, neopaganism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Humanism, and many more.”
The UU Church is also a very liberal community. They are inclusive of all LGBTIAPQ people, people with disabilities (including invisible illness), and people of color. I decided to attend a service, to see what it was like. Here are some bullet points from my experience.
- One of the readings was a letter from Jesus. What I liked about the reading was it presented Jesus as a human, and not a divine being. I have always believed Jesus to be a great Rabbi, Philosopher, story teller, but not as the son of God. This was the only "Christian" feel to the service, and I didn't feel uncomfortable.
- When ending prayer the words "blessed be" were spoken along with "amen." As a Pagan this made me feel incredibly included.
- There was a moment of meditation were the Reverend reflected on several people and events including; the people of Orlando, those living with physical and mental illness, the LGBT community in Boston who just celebrated pride. We reflected in our own way, and the words were inclusive of all schools of spirituality and thought.
- A reading was done called, The Summer Day. The last line asks, "tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life." After the reading they has a, "Call Across the Ages." This was a multi generational sharing of the answering of the aforementioned questions. The people who spoke were a young mother (through the Reverend via email since she could not attend), a middle aged man, and an elderly woman of almost 90. Their stories and experiences were great to listen to, and I felt I could resonate (especially the young mother who talked of making the world a better place, servicing others, and seeing the best in people). There was no heavy religious undertones. In the Catholic Church a Priest could give a great sermon, but then it always comes back to the Christian God, and I lose the connection; I can't resonant. Here, I was able to.
- There was a point where people were encouraged to share a sorrow or a joy, and candles were lit. Again, a way for everyone to feel included. I shared a sorrow and had several people come up to me after and thank me; tell me I was brave.
After there was a potluck and I got to meet and talk to people. Their last service is next Sunday and they start Chalice Circles (discussion and deep listening groups). I am definitely going back, and hope to be part of the community soon.
Nature is still my church, but once a week coming together with other spiritual, liberal, inclusive people is something I need.
Saturday, June 4, 2016
I had my first LSD experience, and like any good writer, I decided to record (with some help) the journey. LSD isn't like alcohol in that you forget what happen that next day, I just have a fucked up memory to begin with. Having Ginger with me as a “chaperon” (and he was relatively sober) helped, and I would not have done it on my own. On top of that he is someone I am comfortable and feel safe with. The stuff I had was pure LSD, made by the people who used to travel around with the Grateful Dead. Ginger told me it wasn't very strong based on his experience (he had taken a lot more than me before and it didn't really have an effect on him). I apparently had a different one. This isn't going to be linear, but here's what I experienced my first time on LSD.
Amount-It was on paper, and I had 3 pieces. One regular size strip, a half strip, and a tiny piece. I was told the amount I had was only about $3 worth. So, in retrospect, it wasn't a whole lot.
- The hairs on my arm seemed to be standing straight up, almost coming off my arm.
-The wall on the bathroom was coming out at me in 3D. There was even a hair hanging that was 3D. The toilet paper came out in 3D as well. I decided to call this “the magical bathroom.” The second time I visited the magical bathroom I was leaning against the wall and in became very orange (different shades). On the wall were these circles with white embroidered dots and white embroidered faeries in between and they were rotating around (Note the actual design on the wall were flowers).
- Outside poured some seltzer on the ground and it started moving. Everything seemed to be popping out at me, and these designs started to “move” around.
- Looking out the window the sky was falling down like dark blue sand (like you see in the sand art things), with a tiny bit of sparkle. It was like Lisa Frank and Luna from My Little Pony made a night sky.
- I kept staring at the ground and suddenly maggots started to appear. Lots and lots of maggots, all around my feet on the ground. I said, “there's maggots.” So we went inside.
- I thought there was another door when we walked into the green house and then again when we went back inside
- The sheets were like 3D “magic eye” sheets.
- There were bugs all over the bed. I was very calm about this.
- There were woodland creatures hiding in the pillows
- The room started melting
- I heard fireworks in the bedroom
- Belly button had teeth
- Mole jumped from one spot to another
- Pores on legs grew bigger then smaller
- Mole “short circuited” revealing insides to be like a computer chip
- Neck lit up like Glow worm toy
- It looked like I was looking at a bug on a screen door on the tip of my finger.
Sex (yes I fully consented before anyone freaks out)
- Completely left my body. It was like I was on an entire other level.
- I'd start hyperventilating. Felt like I was having a panic attack and orgasm at the same time
- I forgot who I was having sex with for a second.
- Words on pages I wrote started jumping around
- When I wrote the letters would come off the page with my pen
- My brain kept pulling the word “purple canopy”, telling me to write a feminism poem with the words in it.
- I was having trouble with speech. I tried to say, “speech impediment” and it came out “speech impebebem”
- When Ginger went to use the bathroom and came back up, it looked like his shadow was coming right at me. Then suddenly he was right in front of me, as if he teleported (ala Nightcrawler). He kept doing this teleporting thing, but from really short distances, like a corner of the room to next to me on the bed.
- Time was moving on different levels. Ginger said he was going out to have a smoke. On one level it seemed like we had been there for hours, he had come and gone on many cigarette breaks. In reality though, he hadn't even left and we were only talking for 5 mins. Just sitting in the room, sometimes it would feel like hours. How long has the conversation been? Hours or 5 minutes? It was like I was existing on two different planes of time.
- While I was in the bathroom staring at the wall it felt like hours, but it was really 3 mins.
- It was like I was living in two dimensions. I'd be far off, forgetting about my body, forgetting that I had to go the bathroom. Feeling like I was on a different plane. Then BAM! Suddenly I'd be back here on the plane (what I described as “reality”)
- Ginger took some selfies of us. As I looked at them he looked like he had aviator goggles on. His whole face morphed into this Disney prince, aviator, wavy ginger haired, aviator. I was this ugly, deformed girl with a square face. I kept looking at his face and it looked very ginger and pale (like Snow White pale, not sickly), bright, and handsome.
- I started to come up with this fairy tale in my head of the aviator prince and the troll girl and as I kept looking at him, I got less ugly. I wasn't even upset that I looked ugly, because I was looking at the photos as if I was looking at photos out of a fairy tale take book.
- One of the photos at one point looked like it was a sketch rather than a photo.
- I wrote his name on a piece of paper. Then I wrote love, over and over. Then love, pain, heart, burst, love, explode. Just words over and over. Page after page. I felt like I was in a trance. I felt like love had completely overtaken my body, it was overwhelming, powerful. It felt like it was going to burst out of me. It was all I was feeling, but I was feeling emotions about that emotion. I kept writing over and over, then I was crying. Bawling, it felt like all my emotions were pouring out.
- Ginger and I laid in bed, he rubbed my back and we had a deep conversation about religion and how we see “god”.
- I couldn't sleep so I laid on the couch and got lost in the RENT soundtrack.
It was a really good experience. Very therapeutic. I felt like all my barriers were down, free, clear, creative, beautiful. Relieved my stress and I felt much better after, fresh, which I really needed after the week I had. Not something I'd do by myself or on a regular basis, or even with someone who wasn't Ginger; but I'd do it again with him.