Archive for the Me stuff Category

The time I got raped

Posted in Me stuff with tags , , on March 20, 2015 by idnami

Trigger warning: I’m about to talk about rape. Further warning: If you know me, you’re about to know a lot more.

Let me first of all say that I want no one to tell me how sorry they are that this happened to me. I do not tell this for sympathy and I find that phrase unhelpful and patronizing even when it’s sincere.

Also do not tell me how brave I am. Despite how really scary it is to tell this story, it isn’t bravery that has prompted me to do it.

I’ve talked more than once about how I feel that women should be raised and trained to take no shit from anyone. I’ve also mentioned how I’ve occasionally felt stalked and violated.

But I never have, possibly from embarrassment, or maybe thinking I ought to spare my readers the horror of the whole story, talked about the time I got raped.

See, it’s a source of real shame for me. It may be shocking to some, but I’m not actually superhuman. I’m not even extraordinary as it turns out, to the disappointment of me most of all some people.

Well, I figure, shame is a thing women get to live with a lot of, so read on if you can stand it. It’s not so bad.

It was so bad, actually. So bad my hands curl into fists when I think of it. Especially when I think of anyone else going through it. I’m tough and I could handle it. So what must they have gone through, those other women who got really raped? I moved on better than many women do, so it’s ok in my case right? No lasting physical harm came to me. Yet there is was. Rape.

He was a man I was very attracted to, had consensually fucked. Even earlier that same day. I knew he was dealing with things, bad things, in his head. See how I try even now to excuse it? We were in my apartment drinking coffee when he expressed his disagreement with some of my choices. He became agitated, then angry, then aggressive. I suddenly had to defend actions I hadn’t taken, face accusations with no basis in reality. He stood over me and I stood to meet him, indignant that he dared pull any such shit. Then he had my wrists in his hands and I couldn’t get away.  He threw me down and reached into his pants. I screamed no and struggled to get away.

He twisted my arms till I knew something would pop and I stopped fighting, because I saw in his face that he would break my arms and do it anyway. And he slammed into me, yelling slut and whore and bitch and I forget what else.

Afterwards, I threw him out of my apartment and never saw him again. His last words to me were, “Don’t you dare say this was rape. You wanted it the whole time.” I said, “Not this time.” and shut the door in his face.

Or at least that’s how I’ve told the story to the very few people who know. But the truth is even worse than that. I didn’t just get up and kick his ass out. I made lunch first. That’s the shameful bit that I’ve never confessed to a soul. I got up, cleaned myself up, heated soup and made toast. We sat eating at my kitchen table as if the awful thing hadn’t happened. I was in shock, I think. I was trying to restore a sense of normalcy, fit the experience into the boundaries of  sane interactions. It’s like I thought I could fix it with homemade chicken soup, like it was a cold.

The anger eventually seeped through the shock and then I did demand he leave and I never have seen him since. I couldn’t report it, of course. Who would believe me?

This is the shit that makes us question ourselves, that makes us feel sometimes that our stories aren’t legitimate. It is a scar upon myself and my self worth to this day, though it was years ago.

Sounds pretty weak right? But then I had the weeks of fearing that maybe I was pregnant or worse, and hiding that fear. My roommate came home and I acted normal, I saw friends later that day and acted normal. I said not a word to anyone and just got on with life. I got my period, had a reassuring STI test, and everything was ok. I didn’t come to hate men, or to fear sex or anything like that. But I will never forget the hatred in his face, and my own rage still burns.

This is why I say don’t tell me how brave I am. This isn’t brave. I started writing this in the wake of the Elliot Rodgers Isla Vista killings last year. I’ve been sitting on it ever since, opening it now and then to tweak and edit, stare at it and dare myself to hit the publish button. Rodgers and everyone like him, the stories I read on the #yesallwomen hashtag at that time, the reality I can’t look away from and can’t stop thinking about almost forced this story from me, but I never could quite work up the nerve to post it once it was written. I became terrified at my own audacity. I told myself it wasn’t kind to my friends and followers to share this story, that this was too much vulnerability to make public knowledge. I read over it again and worried that the legitimacy of the story was somehow diminished by the fact that I had previously had consensual sex with the guy. And the lunch thing. Good god.

I used to think feminism was almost there, that we were in the home stretch of building true equality between men and women. What a goddamn laugh. We have so far to go. And then we have idiot MRA’s and PUA’s, we have The Red Pill, religious oppression, online harassment, slut shaming and on and on and on. We have society, the media, our parents telling us to smile, be nice, be pretty, be ladies, and where is that getting us?

So I guess if I post this it’s pretty brave after all, and that makes me angry more than anything, because the shame of this should not be mine.

I hate having to post this story. But I can’t go around preaching feminism, encouraging women to tell their own stories while I hide my own. This post has been a huge stumbling block, staring at me every time I think of writing here, keeping me from moving forward even in my writing. And you know, fuck that. I was made a victim. I won’t continue making myself one.

We can’t shield and protect our abusers and hope to ever heal. We can’t judge each other’s choices when these stories come to light.

Now that that’s out of the way, if you’ve made it this far you should also know that I didn’t get into a car accident last year. My face looked like that because my partner at the time beat the hell out of me, and that is why he is gone. And I was sucker enough to lie to my friends to protect him. Fuck that too. Ironically, my records show that the last time I opened this post to edit and flirt with publishing it, was the day before that happened. Seems like a sign.

Thanks for reading.

Enforced gender roles, and why they need to die

Posted in Goddamn feminism again, Me stuff, Rants with tags , , , on January 31, 2014 by idnami

When I was a kid I wasn’t allowed to have toy cars, GI Joes, short hair or a room that wasn’t pink, because I was a girl. I had to wear pretty things and play with dolls and act like a little lady. This despite the fact that my mother had served in the military, refused to wear a dress and was all in all a terrible role model for traditional femininity. The pressure to be girly abated somewhat as I grew older. This was possibly due to her dawning realization that years of encouraging my Barbie fetish was placing her in real danger of having a little fashionista to support. I think she was secretly relieved when I embraced heavy metal, ripped jeans and band t-shirts in junior high. She didn’t express her gratitude very well however, and went around drawing crosses through all my pentagrams.

I also wasn’t allowed to phone boys, despite one of my best friends being one. I was supposed to wait demurely for him to call, even if I had an important question to ask about an assignment we were working on together. I eventually won that battle when I pointed out that my bad grades would be all her fault, and get with the times already, Mom!

If these things seemed really stupid back then, they seem straight up absurd to me now. Why was she telling me that I had to like pink and ruffles and shit “because you’re a girl” when she clearly didn’t? Why couldn’t I have toy soldiers “because they’re boy toys” when she used to wear combat boots? Why in fuck’s name was a boy supposed to read my mind and call me when I wanted to talk? Why was she equipping me for a future she herself had rejected?

Because she made some assumptions about my potential based on my gender, assumptions instilled in her as a little girl being forced to wear pink ribbons, and for a long time retained them even in the face of contrary evidence. And we all do it, all the time, and we need to be aware of this. Some of us have worked hard to root out our assumptions, but I think it isn’t possible for most of us to entirely escape the habit. When you are daily barraged by deeply ingrained social thinking habits, it’s really hard not to take them on. And when you don’t happen to fit the mold, it’s really hard not to get pissed about it. And guys? Very few of us fit the mold.

In case you’re thinking this is me going off on a feminist rant, I’m about to go to bat for the dudes too. My aforementioned boy-bestie stopped playing with me for a week one time because of the merciless teasing of the other boys after they caught us playing with my dolls. The fact that we were drowning the dolls in a puddle in the schoolyard while pretending to be badass evil giants didn’t change this a bit, and he got humiliated for it. So we switched to pet rocks that we drew faces on, and he built an entire house for them out of cardboard which he delighted in decorating. And it didn’t stop there. By puberty he had developed a great love for Madonna and made a series of videos called MaJohnna: The John Ambition Tour, in really bad drag. And now he’s a gay rights activist who successfully sued the pants off a preacher for gay-bashing in the church newsletter. Which I suppose goes to show that if rotten little third-grade bullies call you gay, they might be right. And that’s fine. So why do they have to be jerks about it?

More than once I’ve been told that sexism and gender-based privilege/disadvantage is mostly in my head. Oh yeah? Tell that to the trans folks of Reddit. It occurred to me that the only people who would have a really clear understanding of the way gender is perceived in society are people who’ve lived both sides of the question, so I asked. And yes I used Reddit. Don’t judge me.

The answers I got were a pretty insightful look at the specific issues each gender faces. The men said that they had an easier time finding work in engineering and mechanical fields than they had previously, as well as better service in places like auto parts stores. One guy said he had a gender neutral first name and as soon as he started referring to himself as Mr. Kelly Smith (as opposed to just Kelly Smith) on his resume he got a lot more callbacks regardless of the type of job he applied for. However they also found that people were less friendly to them in general and that they felt under a lot more pressure at work. One guy who worked in call centers both pre and post transition said that angry customers held back on him a lot less as a man.

The women who answered said they felt validated and frustrated at the same time. Validated because the guys holding doors open for them and helping carry their stuff was proof that the world now regarded them as female. Frustrated because they were treated like children, taken less seriously, talked over in conversations and objectified in a way they’d never imagined.

So yeah, this is a problem. A big, ugly, widespread, universal problem that gets reinforced every time someone says, “Man up, pussy.” Take a look at that phrase and see it as the insidious and telling statement that it is. Man UP, because you are acting like a clearly inferior person of the sort that has a vagina. Elevate yourself above that weak and emotional vagina having-like state and be a man, which is clearly a better, stronger, smarter thing to be. Bro.

Truth. Also truth? Betty White never said this.

The more trans people come out, the more I realize that gender isn’t a binary, it’s a spectrum, and it really has fuck all to do with what’s in your pants. Much like intelligence, competence, strength and aptitude has fuck all to do with what’s in your pants. So get your mind out of my goddamn pants! When the same person with the same qualities, same intelligence, same skill, same mind and same soul gets suddenly treated as inferior because she grew a pair of tits, we as a society have a very long way to go.

So let’s go there. Don’t shame men for “feminine” traits like feelings. Don’t call assertive women bossy. Don’t make your son feel weird if he happens to like playing with dolls, and if you don’t want your daughter to grow up with a deep suspicion of things mechanical and a crippling phobia of driving that persists into adulthood, maybe just let her play with the damn toy car. Maybe we can evolve into a society of well-adjusted persons who aren’t limited by our genitalia.

Yeah, that’d be nice.

Life with a lazy eye

Posted in Me stuff with tags , on January 7, 2014 by idnami

eyes

It’s not just my ass that’s lazy.

As a toddler, I constantly had so many bruises my mom thought I was a hemophiliac or something. She finally got scared people thought she was beating me and took me to the doctor. Turns out I walked into things all the time because I couldn’t see properly. There’s a reason my family nickname is Grace.

I wore glasses from the age of two but the lazy eye wasn’t discovered til I was six, and I spent most of first grade with a patch over my other eye in an attempt to correct it. It didn’t work, and now I’m kind of weird looking. This does not stop me from getting all the dudes.

mememeBecause I’m hot.

A lazy eye, or Amblyopia, means that the brain doesn’t fully process visual signals coming from one eye, forcing the other one to work harder. This causes the “lazy” one to gradually develop a massive inferiority complex (see how YOU feel if people call you lazy all the time) and eventually just despair at the sheer futility of it all and stop trying, or, in my case, to become a terrifying secret weapon. More on that later.

So I have two eyes that will never look in the same direction no matter what. My right eye always drifts a little bit up and to the right. If I make the conscious effort of focusing with my right, the left one wanders off to the left and the world becomes a dull, blurry mess because now neither of them are doing their job. My favourite explanation for this is as follows:

Small child: Why are your eyes funny?

Me: They got in a fight a long time ago and haven’t spoken to each other since. When one wants to look at something, the other one takes off in a huff.

Small child: What? That’s stupid! How can your eyes fight?

Me: Look kid, I don’t know what was said and it’s none of my business anyway. Talk to your shoelaces next time they untie each other and see if you get any answers.

Small child: …

Usually only little kids will ask the question so directly. Most adults I interact with will eventually ask, but in an apologetic, self-conscious manner. Usually the question is, “Um… look. I don’t mean to be rude, or embarrass you but… um… which eye should I be looking in?”

I think this question is amazingly polite and brave as they are concerned enough about making eye contact to risk bringing back memories of childhood trauma and humiliating mockery by cruel kids in my school. Eye contact is very important to me, so kudos to them. Nonetheless I’m sometimes tempted to pretend I don’t know what they’re talking about and fake a bewildered panic attack when they insist I look in a mirror.

The answer of course is, “The one that’s looking at you, dumbass.” Because if the other one is looking at you, bad things are probably about to happen. More on that later.

Only twice ever has anyone, including the mean kids at school, said anything rude about it. One was a coworker’s meathead boxing instructor. He didn’t say it to my face but my coworker (a douche) gleefully quoted him as having said, “Oh, she’s got one of them googly eyes. Tell her to let me know if she ever needs it punched straight.”

Well I never.

I calmly responded, “Let him know that next time I see him I’ll slap some respect into his fucking ugly head.”

More recently, a random dude at a bus stop at 8 am walked up and said, “Hey! Whatsamatter with your eye?” He then spent the next 10 minutes stammering apologies, because I expressed my low opinion of his manners and looked at him with it. Poor guy. I’m really not a morning person.

I generally don’t feel self conscious about it, though it does get annoying when I get tired, as it tends to drift further and people begin glancing over their shoulders to see who I’m talking to. It’s an odd beauty mark of sorts and I’ve discovered thanks to a Photoshop experiment that my face doesn’t work at all without it. If you think I look weird with one eye staring off somewhere to the right, both eyes straight is downright creepy. I’ve noticed a tendency to accentuate and draw attention to it. I part my hair on the right and my makeup always turns out just a little more perfect on that side.

As a psychic, witchy type person it’s a very appropriate feature to have. Back in the good old days it was considered a “witch mark.” Though arguably anything was considered a witch mark back then if they wanted your property bad enough. However it does lend visibly to my mystique. And strikes terror into the hearts of all who would oppose me.

That’s the fun little bonus feature to my so-called “disability.” People find it disconcerting as fuck when I look at them with it. I don’t know why, since it really limits my ability to see, but occasionally when I need a status boost in a situation I’ll instinctively switch cameras and stare a person down with my dead, expressionless, vision-impared right eye and they will lose their nerve completely. I’ve made large, threatening men back away slowly simply by looking at them. I once won a sparring match the same way. I saw his facial expression change, his shoulders drop and his confidence drain in a split second. It’s incredibly satisfying when this happens. Sure taught that guy at the bus stop not to make rude personal comments to strange women.

The only person not affected this way is my boyfriend who loves it and gives it kisses and will occasionally cover my good eye and talk to it, which is strange but very endearing.

Not only that, but I have excellent right-side peripheral vision and I can, no shit, see around corners. I use them independently in a way that would give a normally-sighted person a screaming headache. This makes me fucking awesome.

Of course, my depth perception is for shit and I still walk into things all the time, but everything comes with a price.