the trouble is that it is a big tangle of bullshit. it's not just the shitshow in london but, rather, it is years of bullshit. tangled together. so that there is no isolated memory. instead they all connect, they all speak to one another, each strand links to another.
i remember that we were going to blade runner, but the weinstein stuff had just started coming out the day before and, on the way to the cinema, a man in the train station stuck his hand up my skirt and ran it along my ass, and so, when we met i told him that my first time was unwanted. and he asked:
was your underwear off?
(yes, because he fucking held me down and removed it, i did not tell him.)
last summer, a month before he wept copiously while dumping me, a man laid back in a bed and observed:
you sure do love control.
(wouldn't you, if you'd so often had so little?)
tell me again how big my dick is, he'd say.
(must we always talk about your fucking stupid dick? i'd wonder)
i am ashamed by how much i am relying upon the reactions of the men around me to validate my own experience.
in 2003, in an email, in the vaguest possible terms, i told donovan that my first time was unwanted. he wrote back something to the effect of:
oline, you are just like a heroine in some henry james novel!
(can i never just be myself?)
we literally never discussed this again in the nine years he had left to live.
i remind myself most days now that donovan was scared of him too. that we kept our relationship secret for SIXTEEN MONTHS because donovan was scared of this man.
i know that. i remember that. it is only through that that i am able to approach the possibility that i too might have been afraid.
my own fear is accessible only through that of a man. my fury re: this fact is limitless.
there was a night in 2004, where donovan told me someone we knew was in jail. we were on the phone and i misheard. i thought he said it was this man. or maybe i just wanted him to have said it was this man.
it was not this man.
the possibility of my having felt physically afraid remains abstract, but i do remember the tremendous sense of relief i felt upon mistakenly hearing this man was in jail. and i've a vaguer memory of how alarming it was to hear, later on, that he wasn't.
this whole memory of what happened in college was triggered by writing an email to the ex-girlfriend of the man who asked about my underwear, the king of the shitshow. in trying to help her, i wound up not only wounding myself in entirely new ways but also old.
that night we didn't see blade runner, the man in london, the king of the shitshow, briefly thought i was talking about him. i was not. but, reflecting on that now, it does seem he maybe knew it wasn't awesome that, our own first time, he hadn't offered to wear a condom.
these fucking men, man.
we've been raised to protect them. they do not even know all of the ways we bend ourselves to protect them. it comes so naturally, the bending, the breaking, lest they be made to feel uncomfortable. lest we-- our bodies, our beings-- make them uncomfortable.
and just look at their havoc. behold! truly, it is breathtaking, the wreckage.
(are you here? i keep imagining that you're here. if so, keep reading. you owe me that too.)