#beenrapedneverreported

This post may not be public long.

This year the anniversary of my rape went by relatively smoothly compared to the last few years, which often saw me spiral into a dark place. The further I get from what happened the better I’m *usually* able to handle the fallout. Don’t mistake “handling it” with forgetting or being ok. I’ll never really be ok with what happened to me but I’m trying. Everyday I’m trying to make myself a little more whole.

And then the world exploded with triggering posts, articles, etc…all about JG (I refused to write out his name lest this get picked up in a search for him, BDSM and people’s opinions). Also this is about my visceral reaction to the overwhelming discussion around this situation, which is beyond triggering for me and so many others. And all of this has made me reflect on what happened to me in a way I’ve never really articulated to myself before.

When I was raped, I lost a lot. One thing I never spoke about was losing my ability to participate in BDSM.

In my short time exploring and playing I’d experienced a few different dominants and not once did I experience abuse. Not once did I ever fear for my bodily safety. Not once was I ever worried I would be damaged by these men, my play partners, lovers, friends.

One partner would slap my face and immediately choke me – causing an orgasm. Another put me over his knee and spanked me so hard and long that sitting was uncomfortable for a week. Daddy used a heavy flogger and thudded on me until I was so blissed out, I couldn’t speak. Bruises, teeth-marks, and pink skin were pleasant reminders after my playmates left. Those were things I loved. Things that brought me peace, excitement, and pleasure.

My rapist knew about some of my experiences. We’d met years ago on Lavalife in the “intimate encounters” section. We chatted, cybered if you will, off and on for years. Timing was never right and something about him (his lack of ability to spell and distance if I’m honest) made me reluctant to want to take it further. In one of my more desperate times, I caved when he asked me to go out. I didn’t intend to sleep with him the first night..but he was cute and I wanted to. I figured that would be it but he called again and texted and wanted to see me. I was flattered. We went on a real date. He came back to my place again but this time – I wasn’t in the mood. He kept asking about things I’d done sexually, with whom, he wanted to see the toys I owned. I didn’t want any part of this but he was taller than I was and pure muscle. I kept talking, hinting I had an early day the next day…it didn’t matter.

When he spanked me it felt horrible. It hurt. It scared me. When he pinned me down by my wrists I struggled until my shoulders screamed in pain. I was terrified. These are actions and experiences I’d had numerous times before and they aroused me but not this time. This was happening against my will. In the morning he woke and restrained me to my bed and I literally feared for my life. This is abuse. Violation. Rape.

In all my encounters in BDSM, I was never scared like that. I knew that it would never be out of control. I knew that I was safe but I enjoyed being hurt. I enjoyed letting my partner consensually hurt me for their pleasure as well. Sure there was always the fear that came before trying something new – I liken it to the adrenaline rush you feel before a rollercoster drops. You kinda want to scare yourself but you agreed to getting on the ride.

People who conflate BDSM and abuse have no idea what they are talking about. You may not like it. You may not view it as empowering – it was for me. I got to explore my sexuality and my desires in a way I’d never been able to do previously. There is freedom in surrendering to someone mentally and physically.

As I write these words I feel the longing…

I was raped and I lost my ability to trust completely.

Days after it happened Daddy and I took a trip to Niagara Falls together. I was physically a mess. Barely able to eat. Constantly in the washroom. And worst of all, this man I loved could not hold me. I was almost repulsed by his embrace because my body was broken. My spirit was broken. My trust was broken.

We never played again – I couldn’t, and our relationship changed.

I’ve tried to engage other partners but I can’t bring myself to go beyond hair pulling, the occasional nibble or a light spanking. I’ve lost a whole part of my sexuality and I don’t know if I will ever get it back.

So yes, I belong to the large group of those who have #beenrapedneverreported because who would believe that I didn’t want to be raped after hearing the types of play I’d indulged in? The “he said, she said” would never have gone my way.

This post is just one more piece of therapy I go through in the hopes that one day, I might get my life back.

How I Cope

I realise that “self-care” is bandied about quite often but I think so few of us really practice it in a way that is healthy.

I’m the first to admit that I don’t think the way I do self-care is ideal. Let me explain.

We all have issues – things that upset us, that makes us mad, that trigger us (I separated those things because I believe that people forget they are not the same. That is a completely separate post I have brewing.)

These last few months, maybe even longer, I’ve noticed myself pulling back further and further from things that I find distressing or harmful to my mental health. This means less news, less twitter, less tumblr, less getting engaged in any and all social media, I even find myself refusing to engage in person on things that are too sensitive for me.

After everything I’ve dealt with, am dealing with still, over the last few years – my health, rape, work, etc. – I don’t have room in my head or my heart to take on the extra stress. To fight the good fight as it were. I see people on social media who run headlong into the muck and mire day after day and I don’t know how they don’t burnout or break under the weight of the crap that comes their way.

In order to keep going, to keep putting one foot in front of the other I need to look at puppies and shut out a lot of the ugliness in the world. I am not unaware of it by any means but I find my life is a lot more headlines than in-depth stories. I don’t want the graphic details. I realise there’s a lot of privilege in this approach. I can bury my head in the sand and pretend the horrific details don’t exist.

I won’t always be this way – but right now – caring for me, making sure I’m functioning as well as I can is how I cope.

Two years gone…

*Trigger warning – rape*

And if I close my eyes I remember every single detail.

I remember every no I said, screamed, whispered, begged and pleaded.

I remember being held face down on my bed.

I remember lying beside him, sleepless in my bed all night.

I remember the relief of him waking and wanting to leave immediately.

I remember the nausea.

I remember being unable to keep food in for two weeks after.

All I wish I could do is forget.

But my body and my mind do not forget.

News or tv or movies or horrifically triggering jokes are everywhere. Some days I can avoid them. Some days I am fortified against them but others leave me feeling vulnerable and terrified. I wish this wasn’t so but it is.

Two years on and the echoes of what my rapist did can derail me.

Confused and Confounded

I am making one of the biggest changes of my adult-grown-out-of-school life. A new job. It’s a celebration. It’s awesome! It’s incredible! I am bouncing off the walls excited for Monday morning.

Everyone who ever sent a “hang in there” message as I struggled with my old job; who congratulated me on getting my new job; and who rejoiced with me on my last horrible day, you are all amazing and wonderful and I love you.

When I’ve crawled into bed these last few days, I’ve just felt like even thought things are going so well and moving in the right direction for the first time in ages, something’s missing.

Someone.

I really want someone to share this with me.

My friends and family have been incredibly proud and happy for me and we’ve celebrated but what I need now is still missing.

It funny because of the last year I’ve wished for some one by my side many times, mostly to help shoulder the immensity of my illness. Someone to hold my hand when I get bad news or take care of me when I’m sick but this is the first time I can think of that I want someone by my side to share in this overwhelming happiness.

So right now, I’m so happy I’m sad. Truthfully, I’m just lonely. It’s the big things that remind you, you’re by yourself.

How Not to Emotionally Manipulate Me

I won’t pretend I’m not guilty of some of the following actions but here are some tips/thoughts I have about manipulating people’s emotions in a relationship.

Note: the more I think about these items on the list the more I wonder if my perspective has been warped by a series of relationships that either lacked emotional security or were unsafe. Something for me to ponder.

Don’t:

- Say things you don’t mean (example: I really like you).

- Discuss and/or agree to future plans (example: Let’s go to ____ next month. Ok that sounds awesome! I should be free. We can make a weekend of it and I will meet your best friend in the whole entire world).

- Say “I love you” if you are going to take it back.

- Joke about having your baby, being your wife or living with you.

- Kiss their forehead (if you have ever been kissed on the forehead, you know the feelings this can provoke).

- Buy super considerate “gift” (example an ice pack for my neck when I spend the night).

- Offer to cook dinner (I’ve “dated” someone occasionally for over a year – he’s never cooked for me. Clear boundaries.)

- Stand under a giant umbrella wrapped around a person like your life depended on it and whisper all the things you want to do together (I swear that one was a cliché moment – and then he broke out into Singing in the Rain. Not. Kidding.)

- Initiate constant contact – first thing in the morning to last thing at night.

- Record little messages for me about how much you miss me and can’t wait to be together.

Do:

- Be honest. If you just want sex or casual dating or dating other people, you have to say it, out loud, so I can decide if that’s what I want too.

- Make a plan when we agree to go out – it doesn’t have to be weeks in advance, or days of your time – just make the space you are ready to give me.

- Be realistic about what you need from me.

- Be honest about what you can give me.

State of my Union

Before I jump into the heavy topics I want to give a little life update for you:

Almost three months at the new job and I am still loving every minute. It is an incredible place and I feel like I’ve been there forever. I’m a part of a team there. My opinion and experience count for something and are validated. It is where I need to be and the best career decision I’ve made since I quit grad school. (oh and playing with puppies as needed to relieve stress helps.)

I finally have a car again after almost 5 years without one. FREEDOM!

Healthwise…I continue to struggle a little but the decrease in work stress has minimized my pain levels and Rheum activity but it’s still difficult. I’ve only had 1.5 sick days since I started which is an incredible improvement.My annual bout of SAD is back. Using my UV light, trying to “exercise” a bit, and all the vitamin D can’t save me, so I’m adding another anti-depressant.

Dating is the usual.

I’m trying to be more social and getting out there which is helping.

All in all I can’t really complain, life is good

Dating is a Whirlwind

Sartre was wrong, helI is dating.

Finding someone you want to see more than once. Someone you don’t want to club with a mallet. Someone who does not offend you and your sensibilities. Someone you enjoy, in every way. It seems like a Sisiphyian task.

And yet I persist.

I’m often left wondering why one would (why I would) bother to try to date anymore. It’s because under my sarcastic, cynical exterior, I am a hopeless romantic. Please don’t tell anyone. If this gets out it will ruin my reputation.

The hopeless romantic in me thinks, no matter how much it hurts, after I lick my wounds, band-aid my heart, that I want to find someone to love and who loves me back. It also wouldn’t hurt to have intelligent conversation and hot sex but I try not to be greedy.

I think I was spoiled with boyfriends in my past. Romantic gestures abounded in my younger years: mix tapes (I would kill to have someone make me a “mixed tape” today), candles, personalised poems (written by an engineer no less), paper hearts floating over my dorm room bed, dancing on the island at Queen & University, etc…Most of the things I loved the most didn’t cost much but had meaning and thought behind them.

Today when you date, you probably met online. Scrutinized all the information the other person put out there and tried to evaluate if that person was worth getting dressed up for. I don’t date a lot, if you knew what was out there you’d understand so when you see someone who doesn’t immediately take themselves out of the running by having something revolting/bro-like/douchey in their profile, you seize the opportunity.

That’s what I did a few weeks ago when I messaged DJ. According to the OKCupid robot we were/are a 98% match. I’d never seen that with anyone so I felt compelled to say so. Messages were exchanged and not long after I gave him my phone number and jokingly said, “Don’t make me regret this” (ok so there was some truth in that statement too). The texting was fast a furious, then talking, and then wanting to meet. If you follow me on twitter, you’ll know that the day of I was sort of ambivalent about meeting – just pre-date blahs. I went and had an incredible time. It felt comfortable. We chatted, shared tapas, laughed, drank; it seemed so easy for once. I felt relief. During our post dinner stroll he reached out and grabbed my hand. I don’t remember the last time on a first date that someone held my hand but I went with it. We stopped on the corner to decide which of the pubs around we were going to next and he used my hand to pull me closer and he kissed me. Not unwelcome but certainly unexpected in the best way. So we spent a few more hours on a patio with an epic storm, literally, raging around that area of downtown – clouds and thunder and lightning – it was unbelievable.

In dating, I tend to follow the lead of the person I’m with when it comes to displaying affection and voicing interest – in part because I’ve been burned and in part because it’s a good indication of where the other person’s head is at. Don’t confuse that with me withholding from the other person, I am very heart on my sleeve much to my detriment. DJ seemed to be interested, into me, affectionate, snuggly, etc. so I responded in kind. For me, I think it’s easier for me to open up if the person I’m with is open to me. It seems like a safe bet, right?

You know when you first start seeing someone you like and you want to talk to them constantly, and see them, and be close to them, and smoosh yourself into them? Yeah, it was all of that quite quickly. We made lists of things we wanted to do together, places we wanted to go. We talked about our past relationships, hurts, our present, and tentatively, the foreseeable future (a week at a time – not forever).

It was fun. It was light. I didn’t think we were being overly serious. No, I wasn’t seeing anyone else, neither was he but I also wasn’t demanding a life time commitment after a month.

Then bam!

Tuesday night “I need to talk to you”. I felt the knot in my stomach instantly and I knew it was over. He went on to explain how there was “no spark” he kept thinking someone better was out there, etc… (Who words it that way? When I followed up the next day I told him that was a shitty way to end things – lie a little, word it different, I don’t know what).

I am not heartbroken. A little disappointed. A little hurt but I wasn’t in love, I was smitten. The hopeless romantic in me was taken by the simple gestures of affection and caring he’d shown me. So now I wonder if these gestures had real meaning or was he going through the motions to get what he wanted? (Post break-up analysis is horrible).

So I want to lay out some tips I have for not manipulating people’s (my) emotions in dating. Stay tuned.

I Am Not Trayvon Martin

…but my family is.

I have passing privilege. I look “exotic”. When people guess what my background is I get everything…Japanese, Native, Indian, Chinese, Italian, etc. the last thing people guess is the correct thing – Black. Trinidadian to be precise and English and Scottish on my mother’s side. So I could, if I chose to, walk through life pretty much as a white woman. I know I’ve shocked more than a few people when I say I identify as Black.

My paternal side of the family is unmistakably Black and they have faced discrimination that I will never know. I have seen the aftermath, the fear, the caution, the anger that comes with the profiling and judgement.

I’ll share a few examples:

People cross the road as D my 6’5″ tall, basketball-playing, university student male cousin walks down the sidewalk. He is one of the sweetest, gentlest young men I know.

Every one of my male cousins have been pulled over while driving for no reason. DWB (driving while Black). G had bought himself a used BMW for his birthday. He wasn’t speeding, no broken taillight, etc. nothing. The police officer demanded to see the registration and proceeded to interrogate him about where he got the money for the car, how could he afford it, where did he work, etc.

Coming back on a late-night flight from Jamaica to attend our cousin’s wedding, M was pulled in for secondary inspection. I don’t need to tell you what they thought she was trafficking, do I? Well at the time M was working for Citizenship & Immigration Canada so she played it out as the inspectors got progressively more aggressive with her saying they were going to run her name, she threw back what system they were using. Startled the inspectors asked how she knew and finally she pulled out her work ID. Instant attitude change. She was no longer a suspected drug mule. They let her go and said in the future she should just say where she worked.

And last but not least M and D driving down the QEW were pulled over at gunpoint because they resembled people of interest who had robbed a Subway. M was made to get out of her car with a gun pointed at her. Can you imagine that?!?!?

It’s incredibly sad that we are forced to rally around the unjust death of a young black man to bring about the changes needed to end the systemic and overt racism that our society is built upon. As Canadians we think something like Trayvon’s death could never happen here, please do not kid yourself. Canadians are very good at systemic and subtle racism. If you haven’t experienced it, you’re privileged liked me.

YAYAYAYAY!

SINCE LAST NIGHT’S SAD “I HATE MY JOB POST” I’VE BEEN CONTACTED BY NOT ONE BUT TWO RECRUITERS!!

Ok I’ll stop screaming now.

I have a phone interview on Friday and a meet and greet on Monday morning before potentially moving on to the employer.

Today at work, wasn’t great, wasn’t not great, it just was. Blah. My boss makes me physically tense up when she’s near me trying to repress the anger but I digress…

I needed this boost.

I really needed it today to help keep the momentum of this weekend with me. I got to relax and have fun and see a lot of people (well a lot by my standards – mmm #wafflebacon) and having some kind of hope that I may not be stuck in this crappy job much longer is going a long way to ensure that.

***

Unrelated to work things. I walked pretty much all around the Toronto Zoo yesterday (except for the Canadian Domain) and I’m only mildly achy in the feet, knees and hips.

I’m holding on to my happy wherever I find it.