Sexual awakening—shame, guilt, and rediscovery part 1.

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*Trigger warning

The girl’s sexual identity had been created at far too young an age. She first learned of sex when she was around the age of 4 or 5, and not in a healthy way. She walked in on her father watching porn in their living room. She couldn’t tell you if she sat down on her own or was told to. All she knows is that she did and she watched with him. This started her awakening.

What followed was years of unhealthy obsession. Now this was the girl’s most shameful secret. In elementary school, she had an addiction to porn. She got caught many times by her mother and other children’s parents. Her mother asked her why the girl had pictures of naked women hidden in her room. Her mother supplied the perfect excuse—the girl was curious about what she might look like when she grew up.

The girl shared these images with her friends. Of course, the other children told their parents. Soon parents were banning their children from talking to the girl. She was a bad influence. Now, the mind of a child is a strange thing. These children, when told they couldn’t be the girl’s friend, took this to mean they must be her enemy. The bullying started and she was ostracized. She had no one, no friends, no happy family to go home to. She was a child alone in the world.

Meanwhile her father continued to progress in his sexual abuse. It’s important to note here, the girl doesn’t remember how far it went. She became adept at disassociation. She built towering walls around her mind, some of which would crumble in time, others she hoped to never see behind. Nonetheless, she knew what was happening was wrong.

Her father paid her to give him massages, and paid her extra for “front massages.” He touched her when she was asleep and she pretended to stay asleep when this woke her up. He exposed himself in front of her repeatedly. All of this and more led her to a fear of men. She never said anything. Never told a soul. She just ate more and more, perhaps, she thinks, to make herself less attractive to him.

The bullying at school got worse. She had violent outbursts and frequently cried in class. During the third grade, her teacher offered her a prize if she could go one week without crying in class. She went the extra mile and didn’t cry for a month. That was the lesson, wasn’t it? Crying was weakness. Her teacher, upon hearing this, told the girl that wasn’t the case. But the girl learned her lesson. Never show weakness.

The girl got into so much trouble, her principle created a “library club,” of which she was the only member. This was to keep the girl away from the other children. She spent every recess and lunch period there. She felt special. She had something none of the other kids had. She organized the books, read, was given special treatment from the librarian who would give her the pictures of cats from her page-a-day calendar. The other kids became jealous and soon joined her club as well. She wasn’t special anymore. The very same kids that had turned on her were now taking away her special place.

All of this, you see, lends to the isolation that the girl felt. She’d go home from school and be alone again. Her brother was always off with friends, and even when he was home, he wanted nothing to do with her. She spent her time looking up porn on dial-up internet. It made her happy—it also made her ashamed. While other kids were doing what normal children did, she was sucked into the darkness, alone.

She quit watching porn around middle school. She can’t remember what changed, perhaps the shame finally got to her. Perhaps she finally started making friends and realized that she couldn’t make friends by doing things that made kids parents ban them from speaking to her. But she stopped.

She had an attraction to women from the very beginning. The first time she acted on it was with a girl, we’ll call her Mary. Mary was a year younger than the girl. It was the year that Katy Perry’s “I kissed a girl” came out. Mary played this song and sang it to the girl, hinting at what she wanted. This excited the girl. That night they kissed—and what a kiss it was. Sloppy, unrefined, no technique, but beautiful. They were 14 and 13, and this was the first time the girl touched another girl’s boobs. They were magical, and soft. She felt something new and exciting blooming. They touched each other and kissed for what felt like an eternity. And then it was over and they never talked about it again. They had one more rendezvous years later, but this was a last hurrah for Mary before she got married and had a child. The girl felt used.

For the next several years, she only dated men. It wasn’t exactly easy to find non-straight girls in a town with a population of 1,000. Most of her peers were homophobic, and the girl played that part as well, mercilessly bullying the couple of gay kids that were at her school. Somehow, the other kids still saw her as a lesbian. Even when she made out with guys in the halls, the other kids teased her about being gay. Sure, she wasn’t the most feminine, but how did they know she liked women too?

At the start of freshman year of high school, four girls transferred into her class from another town. They were troublemakers and scared the small-town teens. What the girl didn’t realize yet was that one of these transfer girls would play the leading role in the girl’s own acceptance of her sexuality. Irie was the most unique, in your face, outlandish, and unapologetically strange person the girl had ever met. She scared the ever-loving shit out of the girl. She talked openly about having girlfriends and wasn’t ashamed of her body, which included the largest pair boobs the girl had ever seen. How could someone be THAT confident in themselves and not care what other people think? Over time the girl and Irie became friends. Without Irie, who knows if the girl would have ever come out of her shell. More than 10 years later, she is still one of the girl’s idols. She would hold the girl’s hand, lick her face, and make jokes with the girl about sleeping together whenever people called the girl a lesbian. It felt oddly empowering to shove their homophobia in their faces. She went along with it. They did eventually end up kissing, and years later having sex, but it was always from a place of friendly love. Irie helped the girl come to accept who she was.

At the age of 16 or 17, the girl came out to her mom as bisexual. There wasn’t any fanfare, they were simply in the car and the girl decided to tell her mom. Her mom was accepting, but confused as the girl had a boyfriend at the time. It was hard to explain, but to the girl, she knew she’d always have feelings for both. Many years later, she’d realize she is pansexual. Love is love.

To be continued…

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