This content could potentially be triggering for some people because of its discussion of sexual assault, so I’d like to offer that warning now and invite you to skip this if that doesn’t feel safe for you.
Other than that, I’m not really sure how to write this. After months of processing that still knocks me sideways sometimes in its active-ness, I’m not sure how to say “I want to talk about being a person who was sexually trespassed upon as a child and how that has impacted my life.”
Normally, sharing my story doesn’t feel so hard. I can access the wisdom in what’s happening for my own sake and then words just come out. But I don’t really know what to say besides “something happened to me that altered the course of the rest of my life and I am interacting with that awareness right now more than ever before.”
I’d like to tell you about something that happened last night that might not sound like a big deal, but that illuminates what the fuck is wrong with our perceptions of entitlement to bodies that aren’t ours.
Last night I went to a bar with a friend of mine to meet up with her boyfriend and some friends of his. I’m not a drinker. I had one beer last night and a few sips of a second. I’d not even finished my first when one of the aforementioned friends slid closer to me. He’d been drinking for at least six hours by then. “So do you date older guys?” was his brilliant opening line to someone he’d not connected with at all yet.
“Uhhh…” went the beginning of my confused response considering we’d not exchanged more than a “Hi” before then and taken off guard, I sort of fumbled through an “I guess I don’t really think about it, but probably not older than…” I started to say as he began sliding his hand up my thigh.
He didn’t make it very far before I swiftly removed his palm from my property, which he promptly relocated to the only exposed bit of flesh I was working with - my shoulder. “Is my hand cold?” he oozed. I was fuming. “I don’t know but I didn’t give you permission to touch me.” I replied without a shred of fucking around in my voice. This mother fucker was not anticipating that.
An hour later, he finds his way back over and reaches his hand across the small of my back and says something that doesn’t deserve remembering. What the actual fuck, stranger who I’ve never met and have not expressed an iota of interest in!?
“PLEASE stop touching me.” I said, demanding that he put some physical space between us immediately. Label me not surprised when I hear later on that he inquired about “what my deal was”. Label me “TOTALLY saw that coming”, actually.
My deal is that whether I am a human who has grown up influenced by the long-dormant memory and trauma of sexual assault by a man (family member) more than 20 years my senior - or I’m someone who has never experienced that at all, there is an irrefutable truth here that cannot be argued or contested - MY BODY DOES NOT HAVE A “WELCOME” SIGN ON IT. Only people who I have chosen and invited here are allowed to enter this sanctuary that is MINE.
This hasn’t always been my story. I spent YEARS unconsciously choosing, appeasing the feelings of people who wanted to come in here, totally unaware of how confused by my own sexuality I was (in that I’d felt an energetic force and power behind it that was present from the time I was very young). It wasn’t until rather recent history that I began asking myself if I wanted to be touched in any given moment, even by partners that I was committed to. I recall an uncomfortable conversation with my last long-term partner a few months ago where we were driving somewhere and his hand was resting on my leg when I became aware that I didn’t want it there anymore and worked up the courage to tell him so. It ruined the rest of the day.
It’s apparent that there is an inherent expectation in partnership that our lovers are allowed to make contact with our bodies whenever they’d like. But no matter what someone’s connection to us is - this is simply not true.
There is only one person who has unconditional access and a perpetual green light as far as putting their hands on your body is concerned…
I woke up this morning and ached for the younger version of myself who allowed things like what happened last night, to be okay. Who let strangers put their hands on her and didn’t know how to say “get the fuck off of me”. Who didn’t know what to do with the energy of sexuality besides having sex. Who longed for someone to touch her like she was important and sacred and safe. “I’m so sorry” I whispered to her as I wrapped my arms around myself.
I texted my best friend Nick and said: “I’m so sorry that I didn’t know how to protect her.”
“Where does a younger her learn that?” he wondered.
I know where.
“From an older her.”
This isn’t the most poetic or fluid or beautiful sounding story I’ve ever written. It feels messy and awkward, and I wish I knew better how to weave a narrative around it. But processing trauma and reclaiming your power doesn’t always feel neat. When I woke up this morning, though, I knew it was time to start telling this story. I had to start letting this part of my voice be heard. Today. I needed to say “I’m working on integrating the truth that I am a person whose body has been trespassed upon by someone she trusted and whose body is still trespassed upon, but I’m a healing, grown, conscious Woman who isn’t letting people steal from her sanctity anymore.” before this year of witnessing this part of my tale, came to a close.
And let me just say, maybe the guy who trespassed upon me last night, isn’t a bad person. Maybe he’s great somehow. I don’t fucking know the man. I do know that he should have stopped drinking HOURS prior to our unfortunate interaction. I know that he was distant from his clearest cognition. And I know that he’s clearly been allowed to do what he did, to other people. I know that he’s not been put in his place enough. I know that someone has probably been receptive to that sort of attention before. I know that he did not ask for permission to touch ME.
That is all I need to know.
To the PEOPLE of ANY age who might read this - you are the chosen, precious keeper of your incredible body. Just you. You do not owe anyone access to it. No one’s feelings about being let into your kingdom are more important than your own.
Someone must be given permission to touch you. You, you gigantic gift of a being, are holy ground. Whether you are welcoming someone into your house of worship for one time, or a lifetime, you are to be treated as such.
Your choice is in there.
Your voice is in there.
Let them be claimed.
To all of you brave, conscious, self-aware, lil’ bit woo-woo lil’ bit Wu Tang humans out there, you’re invited to join me for Recap & Realign. It’s the FREE, live Masterclass I’m hosting next week that’s designed to help you honor and integrate who you became in 2018, before you create 2019. Next Thursday at 7PM EST. Click here to sign up.