skeren: (Blue Sea)
[personal profile] skeren
Today, when I came onto the internet, I did my normal kind of catch up for being away all day. Check my messages, my mail, log into my instant messaging programs so my friends could reach me. You know, the usual.

For some reason, today seemed to be a strong day for advocating people without voices. Men who were raped by women, femmes that aren't seen as 'real' lesbians in the lesbian community. All I needed to see was something about transphobia, but wait, I saw that earlier this week.

It's a good trend, I think, that I'm seeing a lot more of this kind of thing. I dislike anyone being told they're invalid in any way, and find it offensive. Then again, I'm also a person who believes that if you want to talk shit, fine, but don't be shocked if someone punches you in the head for being a dick. Because if you're talking shit, you're probably being a dick, let's be real.

I'm used to seeing people I know rail about injustices. I'm used to people wanting to spread messages and watching them run up against the eternal buffer of 'oh yeah? Well THIS happened'. I'm sorry, but seriously people, I don't care what THIS happens to have been.

People experience things their own way. Just because it might not be terrible to you doesn't mean it might not be terrible to them.

An example, if you will. A child skins their knee. They start crying, need a band aid, and for all you know have just suffered the biggest damage in their young life. They get sympathy, they get hugs and kisses. An adult falls, scrapes up their hands, and they get a perfunctory 'you alright?' and someone scolds them for tearing up because they're 'not a child'. How fair is that? Maybe for them, just as for the child, it's the worst hurt they've had in their life.

But people judge on what they don't know. Another example of this, to clarify the point: Someone loses their job due to being fired. People understand and have sympathy without reservation. Someone else loses their job due to quitting. Anyone who doesn't know why probably won't ask, and will instead come at them wondering why the person would throw away a perfectly good job. It's not fair, and for all you know the person quit because their boss was verbally abusive. Or maybe they were fired for being a complete jackass and deserved it. You don't know.

Assumptions are terrible things.

They are, I think, the worst part of people and how they interact with one another. People assume that how something is to go is the only way it should go. People assume that if someone has it 'worse' that it's not worth talking about their own experiences.

That is stupid, untrue, and something I myself have fallen victim to.

Just because it's not as bad as someone else's experience doesn't mean it wasn't a bad experience.

I will use myself as an example. I, many years ago, had a boyfriend who I loved very much at the time. I was a teenager, and at the time, got very attached to people very quickly. I to honest, I miss being able to do that when I'm face to face with people. He is part of why I find it hard to do now.

You see, I moved around the country a lot in my mid-teens, and he came with me through three state changes and two parental custody changes. I thought he was a keeper.

To be honest, he wasn't healthy enough to be a keeper, and I made excuses for him because I knew how terrible of a place his mind was due to his history. It wasn't the right way to handle it. I was in no way mature enough to handle someone as damaged as he was, and I see that now.

That doesn't mean I should have just let him do what he did.

He was a sweet person, unfortunately like a puppy much of the time, and was insecure and clingy. These were all things I could handle, to an extent. And I was fine until we hit the final state of moving around the country. Then he just... went a little far. For a long time, I think I convinced myself that I'd just lost interest in sex. I went from highly sexually active to not having sexual intercourse for eight years, then barely scraping the bottom of frequency in the three years since then. That's more than ten years of my life, and only in the last year and a half have I started to accept that just because I wasn't hurt didn't mean it wasn't bad, and that it didn't damage me.

It did. I never rebuked him for waking me in the dead of the night to have sex with me. I never said anything when he got touchy feely and I just wanted to be left alone, instead just closing myself off and ignoring him while letting him do as he pleased.

I never said anything. I tried to own it, to play it off in my own mind as something fine.

It even started a bit before him, if I'm honest. His friend, someone a lot older, took an innocent anime watching session turned makeout session and just abruptly slipped me a penis. No. Seriously, barely a how do you do, straight from flirting and a little kissing to a dick up the crotch. I was shocked, but not physically hurt, so I just let him do what he wanted. I convinced myself rather quickly it was fine because really, what else was I going to do? My family desperately needed a place to stay, so why not, it's not like I was dating anyone at the time.

And all of this, all of it, somehow translated in my mind as 'it wasn't as bad as those people jumped in the street, and I had fun in the end, didn't I?' so I convinced myself to not talk about it, that it was something I didn't need to bring up to anyone.

That was stupid. It was unhealthy. Just because my situation 'wasn't as bad as it could be' doesn't mean it wasn't BAD. I had sex with someone I didn't even have the slightest inkling of feelings for, but thoroughly convinced my dad I did, so he wouldn't worry, would think that all was well, for months just so that we'd have a place to stay after the people we'd been staying with kicked us out. From there I picked up a severely damaged boyfriend who liked to wake me from a dead sleep by having sex with me.

I never told my dad. I probably never will tell my dad, and it's not even because I blame him, for not seeing what I was doing, but because he would blame himself for not seeing it and he wouldn't recover from that kind of failing I think. He's a gentle man, and he only ever wanted the best for me, so can't do that to him. Sound familiar to anyone else out there?

That doesn't mean I shouldn't have talked to someone sooner. Hell, the first time I talked to someone it started as an offhand comment. The other person didn't catch it, and I played it off almost like a joke. I didn't try again for years, not seriously, dropping comments here and there about surprise sex or the uncomfortable sensation of someone abruptly putting their hands on you when you're trying to sleep.

And I didn't even mean the sleep sex on those occasions, but another instance, and person, entirely. Let's just say she had an opportunity and ran with it, shall we?

In any case... looking back, it makes sense that I just took a sharp right away from sex and never looked back. I think I was, on some level, terrified of having to tell someone about it.

My spouses... I can't remember ever telling either of them about this stuff, not really. The wife maybe more than the husband. I think I told her once about the time someone tried to sell me when I was 16. I might be misremembering and she's totally in the dark. I know it's hard for me to share a bed with anyone, and sometimes the idea of someone pressing down on me in my sleep, even for a cuddle, freaks me out. In some ways, it makes that the waterbed that the spouses share makes my back hurt a blessing. No hurt feelings or elbows and knees when people try to cuddle me, because I've moved mostly to the other room since we got the guest bed.

But this was supposed to be an example.

It's mostly turned into me wanting to shake my younger self and go 'don't delude yourself' because as I get older, I remember more things and see them as something different than what they were to me at the time, because I just wanted them to be nice, so I pretended they were.

Because I assumed, then, that because it wasn't as bad as someone else, that it wasn't as important, that it wasn't worth mentioning because if it wasn't as bad, that meant it wasn't a violation.

That's not true.

Anything that makes you feel invalidated, devalued, dirty, invisible, anything like that, anything even remotely like that, is worth someone listening to you talk about it.

I was so relieved when I could make a friend feel better by telling her she wasn't alone in thoughts like I had, but it broke my heart that she was in a position to feel that way.

Why do people feel the need to make other people feel wretched?

If doesn't even have to be physical.

People attack each other for beliefs, I know I've been. I once got stoned briefly as a child for being a witch. I shit you not. I was cornered on a playground at about fifth grade or so by a band of kids and they started throwing decent sized rocks at me. The only reason I escaped without injury is because the ringleader's mother worked as a playground aide and literally dragged him away by the ear. Who is going to continue on in the wake of THAT?

People isolate when they don't understand. I grew up in a bubble of solitude as a child the other children were terrified to break. They'd be nice to me alone, almost to the man, but if two or more were together they'd publicly scorn me. Kids only sat with me, before puberty hit the boys in seventh grade at least, if teachers made them. Otherwise, if I sat at a lunch table? Every child would get up and go elsewhere, leaving me alone. Things like that hurt, and not everyone is strong enough to weather them. Just because I am doesn't mean I expect anyone else to be, and would willingly lend them my hands.

It can be over sexuality. I've had people get in my face about how there's no way I could be open to any gender. And by any I mean any. I have been with male, female, pre-op Male to Female, and have gotten a very good look at a pre-op Female to Male. I see nothing wrong in being with any of these people. I do not care if someone is of the decision their gender is smurf. If I love them, or find them beautiful, I will still love them and find them beautiful and nothing will change my mind, even the people who don't believe that it's a thing that people REALLY feel.

It can be over relationships. I've always been poly. In high school I briefly had two boyfriends and a girlfriend once. People presumed I was a slut. At the time, I hadn't had sex with any of them, and only one of them ever ended up getting any at all. Go figure.

It can be over something as simple as what people wear. I, for instance, don't like to wear pants. I wear dresses, skirts, heels, all manner of girly things. I am forever bewildered when I run up against people who laugh at me for it, who mock me for deviating from the norm and wanting to look pretty. It hurts, when my effort to look nice is ridiculed, especially when I know I DO look good.

Of course, gender. My uncle, now deceased, lived with me and my dad a while when I was 17, not too long after the first mentioned boyfriend up there moved away. He had this friend, and the man was obnoxious. He was convinced that because I was a pretty girl that I didn't have two thoughts to rub together. My dad, aware of my growing impatience with the man, nudged me to talk to him so that he'd get out and stop spending so much time at our house. I may not have been a nice person that day, and picked apart his beliefs, but it scared him off, and while I'm glad about that, on reflection, I kind of wish I'd used something less cruel to do it. Yes he was a chauvinist pig, but using his religion against him might have been a bit low.

And lastly... remember how I mentioned up there about needing a place to stay? Me and my family moved around a lot because we were pretty much homeless for years. My mom sold the house without really giving dad a chance to protest so we were adrift. During that time, I had an English teacher, and all I remember about her is the day she made me furious. She asked the class, for the daily topic, to write a page about why homeless people should be kept out of public schools. I could have screamed. It's probably good I didn't, but I wanted to. So much.

In any case, as the above shows... people will find things to assume about. They think they know you, so they treat you a certain way. And on the flipside, sometimes you'll assume things about yourself without trying to see if they're really true too.

Being self aware is hard. It hurts. It takes time and patience and care.

Being able to offer that awareness to others and not shy away from their pain? It's even harder. But sometimes, many times even, it's worth it. I promise.

I just hope people learn to stop assuming, and start accepting, be the people on the other side men, women, or something else. Victims are victims, and a bad day will stay a bad day to that person, even if it sounds like a wonderful dream to you.

Don't devalue the pain of another just because yours doesn't match up.

The world doesn't need more of that. It never did.

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skeren: (Default)
Skeren Dreamera

February 2016

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