Sunday, June 19, 2016

Don't Hug Me I'm Scared

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.

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