My Grandmother’s Sweater

I’ve lost my sweaters
They held me close as I wept
Buried my face in their depths
When my grandmother passed
They held her too
Shielded her from the bitterness that winter can bring
Wrapped her in their fabrics and heated her
Warmed her creativity
Arms swaddled, her hand moved, penned words,
Poems, prose
I wrote in you too,
Took comfort from you
I’ll miss you
But will always have the echo of you in my mind
Warm fabrics, weathered wool
You held me, you held mine
Now, I’ll let you go

Time Heals

It is said that time heals all wounds.  A trite statement, to say the least, yet as time wears on, I find more and more truth hidden within its depths.  To say that time heals, is perhaps an oversimplification, let us say instead, time allows.  Time allows for things to move, for us to learn, grow, evaluate and evolve.

Today, I did a thing which I expected to rip me open, expected to tear the flesh from my breast and expose my beating, battered, heart.  I re-read an email I had received from a woman I used to love.  Or to be more precise, a woman onto whom I had projected ideals, and having done so, fell in love with who I perceived her to be.

We had a falling out.  To be more specific, I professed my bleeding, broken, baby queer love and was slapped down, like an upstart kid.  Rightfully so.  But fuck, did it hurt.  Like salt in a wound I throbbed.  My entire being throbbed with the pain of rejection, of confusion, of denial.

I raged against the idea that I could have possibly misunderstood the aspects of our relationship.  I raged against the thought that my perceptions, the lens through which I viewed my life and the people I let into it, could possibly have been clouded by the circumstances of my past, rather than the perceived reality of the present.

Thus, a period of discovery was entered.

I wrote and wrote, poem after poem, rant after rant, pages and pages and pages and pages of text. Of hurt, of pain, of longing, of lust.  I recounted, I recanted, I remembered, I misremembered, I raged. Months and months and months passed.  Years passed.

I do this thing, which my friend thinks is crazy; she thinks it is just begging to sink me into the deep, dark, depressions which are so often my truest lovers, my dearest friends:  I re-read my journals. Often. My pages and pages and pages of text.  I rip myself open again and again to see.  To see what can be seen.

And that is what I did.  I read and re-read and skipped some sections and went back and read those sections and became so infuriated with myself.  So sad about myself, because I had been – was still so lost and deluded and sad.

I had projected so much onto this person, this woman.  She was never who I thought she was.  Nor was I ever who she thought I was.  We were merely sets of ideas and experiences and thoughts and emotions coming together and drifting apart and coming together and drifting apart until the drifting was all that was left.

She told me this thing, which has stuck with me, to this day…so many days later, she said “I am not who you think I am.”  I didn’t understand what she meant.  It took me years of writing and reading and knowing myself to understand, a bit, of what she was saying.  I didn’t see her. I couldn’t see her.  I was looking through glasses which were so thick and hazy that I couldn’t even see myself.

Until I ripped myself open.  Until I let the wound bleed.  Let it fester and sore and puss and run and dry and crack and heal.  I looked into myself.  I sat in silence and knew myself.

Parts of me were hard to know.

Parts of me screamed in pain and anger and pain and anger and rage and pain and anger and rage and hurt and betrayal. But I began to see myself.  I read and re-read my writing and I ripped myself open and I discovered something.  Something beautiful and surprising.  I saw the distance.  Saw where I began, and how hazy and clouded and dripping with pain and trauma my perception was.  I saw how I had been conditioned, opened up, made ready to be broken.  And I was broken.

But I learned about myself, and learned how to begin to love myself and learned how to love others well and true.  Or begin to.

I retraced my steps.  Listened to music I loved when I was younger, watched television shows, read books, read essays.  Delved deep down into the psyche of my past self and wandered through the corridors of my mind.  Walked and walked and walked until I arrived at that moment.  When my beating, bruised heart was broken and went further.  I walked until I met myself.

And I did the thing.  I did what I thought would break me, what I had been so averted to for so long, I re-read the e-mail she sent me.  The e-mail that deluded me.  That I clung to with some distant, tenuous thread in the farthest reaches of my subconscious.

I was not averted.

My vision was clear.  The haze which had clouded my view for so long had lifted and I thought to be angry.  Thought to rage at myself for clinging so long to someone and something that was never meant to be mine.  Then I realized that had I not, I would not have the perspective that I have today.  Would not have been ripped open and so would not have written and written and read and re-read and arrived here.  I would be elsewhere.  Still battered, and bleeding and broken.

Shattered.

Because I did, I am mending, healing.  Learning and evolving and no, time may not, perhaps can not heal all wounds, but it certainly allows. That is a lesson worth ripping myself open for again and again and again. It is a lesson I will never tire of learning.

The Reality of the Situation

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Epiphones are radical.  They are the culmination of a series of thoughts which you have undoubtedly had before, but occur in a moment when your mind is completely open to accepting those thoughts as truths, instead of dismissing them, or rationalizing them away as is generally the case.

I had an epiphone today.  It was a long time coming, and had tried desperately to rear it’s ugly head before, but I was in no mind to acknowledge, let alone deal with it.

A survivor of sexual abuse (particularly childhood sexual abuse) does not realize how utterly and completely sex rules their life. Today, I came to the realization that my sexual abuse has touched so many aspects of my daily existence. It has soured countless relationships/potential relationships with one thing, that I took as complete and total, unquestionable truth: when push came to shove, the only thing people wanted from me, was sex.

Now, I had examined myself, gone to therapy, medicated, talked, screamed, cried, and fancied myself mostly past the side effects of my abuse.  That is not to say that I did not realize that there were things here and there which would pop up, but I would deal with those issues as they arose and continue to move forward.

What I did not realize, was that my own perception of myself and of the world was skewed.  I was looking through a dirtied lense and taking all that I saw for truth.  Priding myself on my ability to read people, circumstances, and employ logic and reason to determine the reality of the situation.  I never considered that the eyes with which i was seeing, as well as the mind with which I was deducing, were lying to me, processing an incorrect picture.  When reason is based in falsehood, it is not reason at all.

I had a friend who set me on the path to realizing this truth.  Only six months after setting out on this path to discovery, have I finally reached the entry way.  I am finally seeing what I have known for so long, what my friend was desperately trying to tell me:  sexual abuse alters perception.  Sexual abuse poisons the mind.  Sexual abuse harms us in ways we can never fully imagine.

Only with deep reflection and extreme mindfulness are we able to uncover and amass the infected areas, and successfully root out the poison.

It is a revolutionary concept to me, that relationships can be entirely nonsexual.  The notion that two people can come together and share thoughts, hours, experiences and not want to sleep with eachother,  not have one person motivated by the primary goal of using the other for their own sexual gain, is utterly revolutionary.

How many relationships, friendships, might I still have, had I realized this one beautiful truth?  Countless.  Yet there is no point in looking back in regret, only in reflection to learn, accept, and move forward.

I think of this friend, and of the times that we had together and I think of how much time I wasted viewing our relationship through my dirtied lense. I think how skewed thinking and perception poisoned our relationship and ultimately brought it to an end:

Why is this person spending time with me? Talking to me?  Sharing with me?  Teaching me?  Taking time out of their personal schedule and life to be with me?  They must want something.  They must.

NO.  No, not everyone has some selfish, sexual desire urging them forward.  No, sometimes people just want to spend time with a like mind.  Sometimes people just want a friend to talk to, bounce ideas off of and to learn from.

Not everyone is going to hurt you.

That is a tough pill to swallow; that not everyone is going to completely destroy your soul.  There are bad people, yes.  But there are good people too.  Beautiful people.  Wonderful people. People who are here to teach you and to add richness and greatness to your life – and you to theirs.

Only with a true understanding of your self worth; an understanding that yes, there are sexual relationships.  Yes, you were exposed to that truth in a premature and viscious way, at a time when you were still learning the ways of life, and of the world.  But life is not always viscious.  People are not always selfish.  Relationships are not always sexual.

Trust is hard. Trust is a thing we hold tightly to our breast; I trusted those who betrayed it so devastatingly, when I was so young, so innocent. Trust is a thing which must be earned.  But I am more mindful now,  I am aware of my dirtied lenses and I am making an effort to clean them on a regular basis.

Perhaps with cleaner vision, and a clearer mind, we can learn to let people in.  We can learn how to see the reality of the situation.  Not everything is about sex.  Sometimes, it is just about love.