Where to begin? So much to say, and no words to say it with. This pandemic that has affected the world has left me largely untouched. A homebody already, I have found that my day to day has not differed much. The biggest difference for me, right now, is I should be shopping for back to school supplies for my children. This is largely unnecessary, as they are staying home. There is too much uncertainty for me to risk their health, and thus my family’s health, to send them when I am in a position where I can keep them home. This was a fairly easy decision for me to come to. There are parents who have no choice in the matter and must send their kids. Keeping mine home creates space for those who can’t. Mom only finished her chemo sessions last month, so she is still immunocomprised. I would be doing her no favours by sending my kids. They are okay with staying home. The biggest hurdle is neither of my kids have great attention spans. So it will fall to me to be encouraging them, without nagging, to pay attention and get their assignments done. I worry for my oldest. This is his last year in the french school system. He has chosen to go to an english speaking high school next year. This is a very important year both socially and academically. With an extra big adjustment next year. I hope I am not setting him up to fail.
As for me, I think I’m doing alright. I have had a lot of time to do some thinking, and some deep soul diving. Mostly about my sexuality. This is going through some deep revisions. I always considered myself bi, or, as a term my friend introduced me to, hetero-flexible. But the more I come to terms with my history and myself, I find this is not quite as fitting as it once was. I was talking to a guy, the first man I’ve talked to with the potential for dating, since the assault, and I found myself discomfited whenever the talk came around to us meeting. At first I thought it was just because trust with men is difficult. But the more we talked, the more I found myself finding excuses not to meet. Covid always was the go to response, but if I’m honest with myself, it goes much deeper than that. When my wonderful therapist asked if I felt ready to be someone’s sexual partner, I had a very physical reaction indicating the answer to that was no. I immediately zoned out, and started trembling. This confused me, as I have been sexual with women since the assault, and never had that reaction at all. So what was that reaction all about? A friend of mine is exploring her burgeoning feelings of attraction to women, and found an article on Compulsory Heterosexuality. She sent it to me, and wow, did it make a lot of sense. Did my early experience with M, the pedophile, shape me? After all, I did go home to be with his wife. And how did my even earlier experiences with my cousin affect me? Growing up in a very religious family, homosexuality was always taught as wrong. So i internalized my wrongness, and covered it up with a dual attraction to both men and women. Before I met my husband, and after our separation, I looked for validation, not from myself, but from men. Of course, I didn’t see it that way. I thought I had broken the chains that kept me bound, and was enjoying my freedom as a woman. But was I? I tried dating couples, thinking that would provide me what I thought I needed: a sexual experience with both genders, and no strong relational ties to bind me. I much preferred being with the woman, and was rather indifferent to the man.
Since then, I’ve been exclusively dating women. And I can honestly say that I don’t feel that I ever zoned out while being intimate. Not once that I recall. Yet I can’t remember, with any clarity, any of the times I’ve been with a man. All the memories are fuzzy and fade in and out with each other, faces and names long forgotten. I do remember always feeling surprised when we were done, as if I was someplace else, someone else, never feeling satisfied. And the last time I went on a date with a man, I went along with everything he wanted because I felt I couldn’t say no. From the moment I stepped into his apartment, every fibre of my being was telling me to leave. But I didn’t. And when he got violent, I accepted that as normal, and just shut down.
Talking to my friend, I posed the question, “How much of my lack of interest in men is due to my past experiences, my past traumas, and how much of that is me being legit into only woman at this stage of my life?” She responded with, “Does it matter?” I didn’t have an answer then, but I think I sort of do now. It matters to me, because I don’t want my life to be a knee-jerk reaction to my past, but something that truly comes from me. I don’t want to be a lesbian because all the men in my life have been abusive jerks. If I am a lesbian, I want to know it is because I am, not as a default, but because I truly love women. I joked with my former therapist that women were crazy, and men assholes, so it was better to stay single. She took a bit of offense to that. Maybe my crazy draws crazy. I can look at a man, and see him as attractive, but when I see a woman I find attractive, my body responds, not just my mind.
So that’s what keeps me up at night these days. Oh yeah, and by the way, when I had a kid free weekend and told the guy I was talking to that I was taking that weekend for some serious me time, and well, I haven’t heard from him since. Dodged a bullet, and now I can rest easy, knowing his true self.
I hope to start writing again with some regularity. Take care and be safe out there.