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20 April, 2009

Not One Of Your Holiday Games

One of Ren's prompts for this next round of the Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy was on the importance of women naming their own sexuality. And I've been thinking about that one for a while.

And after a lot of contemplation, I'm left with the feeling that it boils down to "If I don't do it, someone else will." If I want to leave it inchoate, unnamed, mysterious, I have to keep it entirely secret, because any sign that I have a hint of sexuality somewhere will be dragged out and assigned meaning by someone else. Even the category of being unsexed can be sexualised in some cases.

I have to make my own meanings, hold to them, define myself, or someone else will try to override me.

I am a cissexual woman. If I don't work on what, if anything, that means then I can get swept away in all of the cultural meanings of 'woman' and buffeted between them. Trapped between madonna and whore, career woman and brainwashed housewife, all the dichotamous piles of what 'woman' means. Whether it means I'm perceived as a set of penetratable holes and some boobs, or a little child in need of paternalistic protection, or both simultaneously, or one of the other godawful forms of womanness that floats around and tries to latch onto people like a facehugger out of Aliens and infest them with parasitic larvae doesn't matter: if I don't have a strong enough narrative of myself to refute these things, I can get infected and corrupted by these things. I am someone with these body parts and no dysphoria about them; it has no ontology, no deeper truth.

I am heterosexual. I am not in denial of my true and intrinsic bisexuality; I am not compelled into unsatisfying relationships by a heteronormative culture; I do not experience my orientation as fluid and malleable because I am a woman; I do not project my sexuality into images of women in the media; I do not consider my attractions to be oppression. I like looking at certain men, because I find them attractive, and I am just fine with that, thanks.

I am a sexual assault survivor. I am not a victim for revictimising, an object of pity, someone whose entire life and reality orbits around a golden afternoon in 1992 that left its marks in my mind. I will not be truncated and boxed into no more than helplessness and damage. I will not accept the myths, that I have a perpetually defective sexuality because of my experiences, that I just need to loosen up and get laid more to get over my trauma, that my kink or my polyamory or my anything else is a result of being warped, that my flashbacks or fears are a sign that I am a defective. All of which I have heard. I am a person who had a horrible experience; I have suffered, and I have worked to heal.

I am polyamorous. I am not looking for a quick lay, I am not available to just anyone, I am not too damaged to commit, I am not incapable of real love, I am not any of these other stereotypes or condemnations. I was not abandoned by my father, nor was I sexually abused. I am a person with two wonderful, committed, loving partners to spend my life with and another person of whom I am quite fond indeed.

I am kinky. My kink was not created by assault, manufactured by patriarchy, adapted from a need to seek abuse and disparagement, born of a sense of inferiority, a sign that I am a pathetic doormat, an invitation to treat me like a victim, or a signpost to deeper psychological defects. It is what it is, and I have invited commentary on neither the legitimacy of how I choose to conduct my relationships nor the progress of my spiritual development.

I am pregnant. This is not a validation of traditional barefoot-in-the-kitchen mores, a sign that I am more interested in baybees than my own autonomy, ownership by a man, a betrayal of women's freedom, a perpetuation of patriarchy, a sign that I am the right kind of woman with correct values, an embodiment of The Goddess [tm], or whatever other crazed myths that come up about motherhood. It is a part of the process of mammalian reproduction, which is not unrelated to sexuality.

Also: I am an emotional abuse survivor. I have my stories. If you want to define my reality for me, to override who I am and where I came from, to erase my stories, you are just like the one who abused me. I will exist in defiance of you and your fantasies about who I am, and I will not be quiet because you find me inconvenient. I don't care what your agenda is, whether it is important to you as a feminist or a traditionalist or a whatever else that people like me not exist and not be heard: you are the enemy of my personhood and my souls, and I deny you the power to name me.

I am many, many things, multitudinous beyond listing, and I. Am. Not. Yours.

I don't want other people's stories about me. I have my own.

If you want to have stories about me, listen - or, as a friend put it once, refrain from copulation and discorporate.


Anonymous said...

If you want to define my reality for me, to override who I am and where I came from, to erase my stories, you are just like the one who abused me.That. That sums it up for me, and I think I need to remember to use that idea more often.

Anonymous said...

A friendly acquaintance of yours steered me here, and am I glad. I'm bookmarking for the next time I have to explain to anyone that I'm kinky or poly or an abuse survivor...that these things are part of what makes me me, but not the whole of me. Not by a long shot.

Now, then, if part of me could only remember to create a Google ID...

Jennifer said...

Wow, beautiful post.

::admires your thinking and your writing::

Anonymous said...

What Jennifer said!

Kristin said...

I loved this post. What a strong and beautiful statement. I think you're the best writer I know.

Wiilliam said...

I found my way here from Bird of Paradox. All I can say is that I've never met you but I now may well love you.

I wish I knew you. I am trans male and demisexual but my identity in other respects is reflected in your words here.

I will definitely be directing my partners to this blog.

Thank you.