inspired by a comment conversation from this post over at incredible juju.
#8-9 on the list.
before kindergarten, i knew what sex felt like. i knew i wasn't supposed to, but somehow--along with the trauma and the misplaced emotions and all the rest--i gleaned some things from it.
i've spoken about the details, but sparkle's blog got me thinking about the lessons i learned from one of my underworld initiations.
let me make this crystal clear at the commencement: i am in NO way suggesting that anyone should go through this. it is not a desirable situation by any means, in any way shape or form.
however, as part of my healing, and as with most things in my life, i had to come to understand it as something that had happened in order to shape me in some way. i had to learn from it.
it has shaped me, and i have learned. how i knew it as a pain-drunk 16/17 year old considering cutting herself just to get through the day and how it has evolved over the years through my study of self, womanhood, and woman-centered spirituality have been vastly different, but all part of who i am.
that said, i am now certain that it has informed and formed my attachment and attraction to men. there were instincts raised in me that, under normal circumstances, probably wouldn't have come into being until i was a teenager or woman in my 20s.
i had "strange" urges that i learned to fulfill alone, as a secret. there were none of the more innocent "if you show me yours, i'll show you mine..." moments. i felt like i knew way too much to get into anything like that, so i'm glad the opportunity never presented itself--at least not to my recollection.
none of it made much sense until i got into books like aphrodite's daughters and read stories of women who had not been molested, but also felt these things. women who had been sexual and sensual from a very early age, but (for the most part) blessedly spared the years of therapy and the other pain i endured.
although i must say, being an unapologetically sexual woman in a patriarchal socio-psychological context comes with its own struggles and pains--something the daughters of oshun, aphrodite, venus, het heru and all the other love goddesses know well. the womb-deep, watery knowledge never went away, and neither did the power of the pussy portal. only our circumstances have changed.
the first time my mother saw it in action--i, not even a pre-teen, flirted with the boyfriend of a college-aged cousin on a family vacation--she didn't explain what might have been happening so much as scare me out of it (the dangers of strange men, etc.). she was right to put some fear in me, but, in hindsight, i would have preferred a conversation about who i was becoming. i think that seeing me exude that energy with some measure of skill at that age scared her, and she acted out of fear.
but, for whatever reason, i liked him. of course i wouldn't have known what to do with him, and he was probably thinking "who is this kid?", but it felt good to make him pay attention to me. to wield that kind of power, even without a woman's obvious attributes.
fast forward a few years, and i learn that there's something about me that men like. i seem to repel guys my age, but the ones 5, 7, or a decade older are interested, sometimes overly so. and i liked them, too, long as they weren't old enough to be my dad.
i recall another incident: it was during a trip home from college, if memory serves. a friend of the family threw a pool party and i openly flirted with a 30-something year old man who, an hour or so into the conversation, almost didn't believe i was as young as i said i was. my mother was present then, too, but didn't fuss this time.
i've always attributed their interest to my figure, not my face. most days i describe myself as "moderately attractive", but i've assumed that what they're really attracted to is my figure: model height with amazonian curves, ample bra size, birthin' hips, shapely legs, and, for a black woman, some unique coloring.
during my healing, this attraction frightened and repulsed me. i didn't know what to do with it, whether or not i should say "no"--i wasn't in any danger, right?--etc.
no one taught me how to use my sensuality or that it was even there. i was told to be careful since i was a "big" (read: curvy) girl. between my mom and health class, i knew the ins and outs of safer sex & avoiding pregnancy & std's, but no one got personal about it.
the point of the story is this: male attention can be worked over and diffused. it doesn't have to scare you into a corner, or make you feel slimy, even if the guy is.
eventually, i learned how to flirt with a man and leave him smiling--without my phone number and sometimes without even a name.
saying "no" can be as sweet as birdsong or jarring as a rape whistle, and equally effective in either situation.
i can allow, disallow, engage, and repel all in the same moment, if i choose.
my side eye doubles as the evil eye in emergency situations.
i get the same respect & attention whether i'm in a sweatshirt and jeans or a cleavage-shattering blouse and tight trousers. it all depends on how my light's shining.
...but all that came with its price.
...what ppl don't tell you is the disclaimer: innocence doesn't really get lost, just violated. stolen from. afterwards, it hangs around the victim trying to remember what it was, and all its requisite pain must be given its due respect and expression.
~me, april 2007
~the temple of my familiar
~aphrodite's daughters (link in entry)
~sisters of the yam
~intercourse (for the other extreme...)
~the color purple
~our bodies, ourselves