From an email I wrote to one of my parents today: “I have made a commitment to myself to acknowledge and come to acceptance of the story of my body and my sexuality.”
I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
For many years, I had experiences in sexual and intimate connections that baffled me. My body would react in ways I did not understand. Weird triggers suddenly made me pull away, deep inside. I had many bodily sensations that seemed out of context to the situation. Nightmares about hidden, dirty places haunted me my entire life. Disassociation became an art form. Projecting ‘perpetrator’ stories onto lovers was a strategy to avoid intimacy. I shut down my sexuality, in attempts to deny the truth of my body. I attempted to avoid healing, since it was so terrifying. My demons were familiar, and if not beloved, at least steadfast and reliable. Trust confounded me in relationship after relationship.
I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
And here’s the thing: healing is my great work. It’s my personal work, and it’s what I’m able to give to this world. Holding the idea that I was the most fucked up person in the world was comforting. And surrendering to knowing that’s not true has been really fucking scary. As long as my Shadow was enormous and unlovable, I didn’t have to engage with being worthy of receiving love. I didn’t actually have to trust anyone enough to let myself be loved, imperfectly.
You’ve been reading my thoughts about boundaries and intimacy. I believe we all live in a sexually traumatic culture, and probably most of us struggle with these. And personally as a survivor, boundaries and intimacy are particularly hard-won. In these posts, you’ve seen my will in action, as I go back and reclaim boundaries and intimacy as my birthrights. Action arises from will, and will from Desire. Desire comes, of course, from our bodies.
This personal reclamation of sexuality and Desire as a survivor is a political act of deep courage and resistance. I WILL be joyously and outrageously a sexual being, enjoying the full potential of my sensual and sexual nature. I WILL take back my body, and learn all the stories, secrets and teachings it holds. I WILL live radiantly, gloriously and pleasurably in this perfect body.
What I didn’t write in my email this morning was that not only am I coming to acceptance, I am coming to fucking gratitude for all that my body has endured. I am so grateful for all the healing I can allow myself to do, not just for me, but for you too. In spite of silencing shame and loneliness, the loss of loved ones who can’t show up for my process, and soul-numbing childhood abuse, I thrive. I FUCKING THRIVE! Resilience, simply said, but with a radical twist. Here it is: I’m so grateful I get to come home to my body. It’s all the sweeter for having been gone.
It’d be totally awesome if you’d take a second, and give me a high-five below in the comments or by liking. It’s pretty vulnerable to write this. I’d also love to hear if you THRIVE too.
- Adult Sexual Health and Childhood Sexual Abuse (stoningdemons.wordpress.com)