For the last few days I’ve been lying awake thinking about all the things I want to write about. Perhaps unsurprisingly a lot of them revolve around men. Whilst I have had relatively few relationships, they have all impacted me very deeply. But every time I’ve had a few moments to myself, I have done something else. I’m avoiding writing things that I know will help me.
I sat down to write and the first words that tumbled out come under the heading of Boy. He’s under the heading Boy because I don’t know if I remember his name. I say I don’t know – the experience is so traumatic that I get a complete block whenever I try and talk about it. I think I know his name but the effort required to process that experience is so great that even thinking of his name is going to take me down a deep dark pit and I don’t know if I can get out. I told my counsellor I would write about it, because I completely choked up when I tried to talk about it with her. I’ve never mentioned more than a few words about the experience to the last few men I’ve been with. I’ve only mentioned it at all because it’s a huge block to me sexually. Even two years ago the idea of oral sex terrified me because of it. I really enjoy going down on Cefyn, but he can’t ask me to do it because I can’t. Even thinking about being asked makes me sweat. There are tears at the corner of my eyes. It pricks at something so deeply ingrained in me that I don’t know how to write about it. I want to write down what happened but I don’t know if I can. I don’t know what would happen if I opened the box that memory lives inside. I feel that it would swallow me up completely and I don’t know how I’d recover.
I want to overcome this, but I need the right support around me to help to survive the experience. And right now, I don’t have it. Because I have to wait to be told that I can even phone Cefyn. I have my contact with him dictated to me like I’m a filthy secret. Which I am, quite frankly. Very little differentiates this situation from my first boyfriend (henceforth known as Tim, which is a pseudonym I gave him when I wrote about him back then), who would date me when he was on the rebound and would deny me to anyone that asked. I remember going out on a “double date” with him and my sometimes-best -friend of the time with her boyfriend. We were having a fairly awesome time hanging out and then we saw someone that we knew and he hid our clasped hands behind his back so they wouldn’t see. I felt like I was worth nothing. He treated me like I was worth nothing. I believed that I was worth nothing. I spent most of university trying to get over the crushing lack of confidence that he inspired in me.
But here I am, still someone’s secret, still living from day to day off the scraps of affection thrown to me when it’s convenient. I know that he considers me his sun, moon and stars. But every night he goes home to someone else, which puts a price on just how much his sun, moon and stars are worth. And honestly, in some ways this is worse than being with Tim, because at least Tim was honest about how little I meant to him.
Have I learned nothing?