Some days, I go outside to simper in the sunlight, streaming down over my head. I sit down on the back stoop with book or phone in hand, originally intending on getting something going. Instead, I sit back on the stoop and close my eyes against the bright rays that pierce my eyes with deepened shadowing than they are used to and feel the very fingertips of Re upon my face. On days like that, the thoughts roll around my head like a wayward rubber ball, rolling around the circle for a game of jacks. On those days, I’ll pick up that wayward ball and bounce it down, picking up one of the jacks and flipping it over my hand, end to end, in an effort to puzzle out where it is my mind has gone.
Lately, this particular game of Re-touches-and-I-puzzle has been heading to the same place. It feels, now, less like a game and more like a terrorizing moment of heart-rending capabilities. I’ve been thinking too much about this now to leave it alone and it’s where I’m meant to head with these thoughts; I know that. That doesn’t mean I have to fucking like it.
It started with a dream.
I’m beginning to suspect that I’m so stubborn, the only way I can get through to what I need to pick at is through dreams. I think every major undertaking I’ve done, either religious or healing, has come about because I had a dream. This dream started off okay. It was about my ex. It started off like all the other ones I’ve had since I severed our bonds. But the end of that dream was not okay. He wore me down and down and down some more until I was crying and he was over me, grunting, and I was thinking, TH is going to be so mad at me that I didn’t fight him.
Just re-writing that leaves tingles of anxiety and panic in my arms and my heart races.
I didn’t understand the dream, not at first. It felt like I had missed something and I was worried. I turned to a bunch of friends and said, “Here is the dream and I don’t understand.” I thought that maybe there was still some shadow work to do there – perhaps the ball of anger at returned. But when I looked for it, it wasn’t there. I thought that maybe I hadn’t severed all the bonds between us – perhaps there was something that had found its way beyond the magic and the hard work I had completed last year. But when I looked at all the other bonds I have, I didn’t see that snaky ribbon of his bond and realized that wasn’t it.
I didn’t understand it.
Then I saw something else, something about consent, which has been a very, very, very weird and strange thing that has popped up everywhere for me two weeks before hand. My mind went, “Oh, well that’s it.” And I understood. This wasn’t really shadow work, per se, but this was about me and about how I’ve always behaved when it’s come to things. I realized, honestly, that I wasn’t very good with consent at least as it is discussed by modern day people. “Consent is giving permission,” more or less, and as I thought back to that, I realized that, well, I was never really good with giving anyone consent. Before now, before TH and our relationship, I didn’t really understand what consent was. And I still have issues with it.
I stopped thinking about this. There was no point in moving forward because the thoughts that would come would, of course, hurt. I didn’t want hurt, so I ignored it. I’ve been ignoring this for weeks now. Sekhmet has been incredibly patient, of course, but I knew it was only a matter of time. Either she sent me another dream or my subconscious had enough of my frail attempts at poking at the internal bees’ nest, only to hunch back and run away from it at the first sign of pain to come. Whatever the case may be, I had another dream, which left me less confused and more willing to move forward with the overall process.
I was at TH’s parents’ house and there was something in my hair. I could feel it on the right side of my head, plucking and pulling at the snarled strands. TH was there, beside me, and very gently removed whatever it was. The thing in his hand was a 10 pound black widow spider. I stared at its carapace as it glinted off the streaming sunlight. TH, thoughtfully, put the thing on a bit of spider webbing above the pool. The spider went shuttling back and forth across the strands, not with its oversized legs but like one of those little rabbits on the side of a dog race. It maneuvered back and forth as I watched it stop above a child’s body, swimming in the pool and taunting it to come for it. The child ducked beneath the water as the spider came down and that’s about when my mind had enough because I woke the fuck up.
I’m not a fan of spiders.
I lay there, heart pounding, trying to make sense of what it was I had just dreamed. My head still hurt where the spider had been tangled in my hair. I reached up and touched it, frightened that I would actually find a fucking spider in my hair. There was nothing there. I think, in my consternation, my hand got caught in my hair and, I think, pulled some strands loose. At four in the morning, I sat up and watched television for a while. When I felt calm enough, I checked out my favorite dream interpretation site since I was running blank on interpretations, “To see a black widow in your dream suggests fear or uncertainty regarding a relationship. You may feel confined, trapped, or suffocated in this relationship. You may even have some hostility toward your mate. Because the female black widow has the reputation of devouring its mate, it thus also symbolizes feminine power and domination over men.”
Well, whether it meant I was uncertain in my relationship or not, it certainly seemed to go hand-in-hand, in a fashion, with all the thoughts I had been having and running away from. I supposed that I should get to it and so, I began writing this entry then. I began thinking of what it is was that I had been hoping to ignore. I felt pain and sorrow. Sometimes, as I sat up in the morning, waking up long before the sun rose, to contemplate what it was going on in my life and what it was that had happened, I would feel my heart palpitate, my palms sweat, and my breathing become irregular. All that mattered was that I had to get through this in some form or another, but I realized that I couldn’t run through the gamut in too quick a time. I had to take my time.
I decided to start off with Sekhmet, turning over the reason she wanted this in my face now, right now, over and over again. Of course, this all started with Sekhmet.
It’s because of her, and her uncomfortable ability to make me face the things I don’t want to face, that I have to face this. I’ve been looking back and back down the halls of memory, trying so hard to see where I consented to anything in my relationships with the men I’ve been with. And I don’t see a single instance where I said, specifically, “Yes, I want to do this,” except maybe once or twice. I can only see that I gave in. It wasn’t, “Yes, I want to be here with this person,” but always, “I don’t want this person to leave me so I’m going to do whatever it is they ask of me, from the small things to the large things, and they will be happy and take care of me and everything will be okay.”
The problem with living in relationships that way is that, well, there is a bit of a stubborn streak inside of me. For some reason, I grew up to become a sort of rag doll that people could do with what they wanted, but there was a hint of strength underneath that façade. And that hint would come out now and again, causing major arguments because the people I was in those relationships with didn’t expect me to stand up for myself about anything. And something would set off that hidden steel and I would argue and stubborn my way through something, and they would leave.
This only reinforced the, “I have to give in because otherwise they’ll leave me.”
I was thinking the other day about the first boy who kissed me. He was a boy in my neighborhood and I think we were nine. We were supposed to be playing hide-and-seek with his little brother. And instead of hiding on his own, the boy found me hiding in the spare bedroom. And I remember him coming over to me, hiding in a darkened corner and trying to kiss me. I can remember turning my head away – a clear indication of no, I supposed – but he went on with it anyway. And I can remember thinking, “No, I don’t want this,” but I never said anything.
I stopped hanging out with them after that. It bothered me that he would continue to attempt to kiss me. Even though I hadn’t said, “No, we shouldn’t do this,” or “No, I don’t think I’m ready for this stuff,” or “No, I don’t want to do this,” I just turned away and hoped for the best. This seems to have been my basic philosophy with just about everything, though, from that time forward. It wasn’t ever a “No, please stop,” or “No, let’s not,” it was always just hints and signals, some obvious and some not, and hoping someone could read my fucking mind.
I moved forward in time and looked at other relationships, too. I can remember in middle school and the first real boyfriend I had. He was okay. He was nice and he didn’t make me do anything I didn’t want to do. If I wanted to hold his hand, then we held hands. If I wanted to kiss, then we kissed. He was nice to me. He treated me very well, though I didn’t return the favor. I treated him very badly and ended up not even really breaking up, but just stopped returning his calls. (I was in a deep depression by that point, so it’s really I was a jerk but also I was unable to speak to people by that point.) He was good and nice and I stopped speaking to him.
But other boys were not so nice and not so good and I continued to talk to them. I let them do many things that I wasn’t comfortable with. I let them say things about me, to me, or about others that I was uncomfortable with and just let it go. I can’t remember a single person ever stopping to say, “Do you want to do this?” Or asking me, “Is it okay if I said this thing?” I don’t remember anyone every making sure I was comfortable with anything because I was too busy hoping someone would just magically see that I was not and make a decision for me.
For a long time, I assumed that my lack of consent in these relationships, or well maybe not lack of consent but lack of actually make any fucking decision whatsoever about anything, was because I thought of sex and the stuff related as dirty. It was wrong. It didn’t get done. It was something gross and icky, but other people didn’t see it that way, so I went along with it, knowing that my viewpoints on the matter were rather unorthodox. Oh, sure, having an orgasm is pretty nice and all, but the unbearable guilt and disgust that happens after said orgasm? Well, that was a bit much and I think, partially at least, that’s where the whole, “please read my mind,” thing comes from. I knew my viewpoints would be seen as incorrect and kept them to myself.
But where the fuck did that even come from? I can’t think of it, honestly. And with certain boys, when things would happen, it wasn’t always some form of guilt complex that happened after the fact. Some of the guilt and dirtiness, I know where it stems. But the stuff from before I was raped and before I was molested? Where on earth did that come from anyway?
In an effort to keep people beside me, I kept my trap fucking shut. I never said word one to anyone about how I felt about things. And that’s the gist of all of this, isn’t it? I was so busy keeping my mouth shut because people would be upset with whatever that came out of it that I kept my mouth shut when I probably should have fucking said something. And ended up opening it up and being the stubborn little fuck that I actually am over the most asinine and ridiculous things you can imagine.
This morning, I sat outside and ruminated over the nightmare I had last night. This one was more painful, in some ways, than the one that started all of this. While I contemplated the dream, I watched as a blue jay swallowed some tasty morsel it had picked up from the yard. I watched that blue jay hop up the tree, trying to keep my emotions in check before I lost it in full view of my neighbors, who were getting up and greeting the new day. I thought about that dream and wondered how much things may have actually changed.
It started with a beautiful girl. She was small and lithe with curly brown hair and hazel eyes. And she was looking for TH. TH found her with me by his side and she held her hand to her womb and smiled at him. And then it came out: he had cheated on me with this girl and evidently, on the first try, he had knocked her up. As the dream progressed, the girl’s belly swelled with new life and more came out: it was three separate times within as many weeks; he had enjoyed himself immensely; he was going to leave our son and me to be with her and have a “real” relationship; and he thought I wasn’t really asexual but jumping on the Tumblr bandwagon of such things.
And I lay there, in the dream, crying until I could barely breathe, clawing at his legs and saying, “What do I have to do? Please don’t leave me; please don’t leave me. What do I have to do in order to keep you here with me? I forgive you; I forgive you. Please stay.”
I woke up crying.
And I wondered, as I lay there swiping the tears from my cheeks, how much change I’ve actually gone through. Do I truly stand my ground with TH? Am I truly willing to do many things in order to keep him with me, as it has always been with the men before? I lay there, my heart pounding in tune with the anxiety gnawing away at my insides, trying to decide if maybe I hadn’t changed as much as I thought I had. Maybe I am still really bad with consent and maybe I am still really bad about making my viewpoint heard and maybe I am still really bad with not doing everything in my power to bend to the unforeseen will of others, changing everything I can about myself, just so that they will love me and stay by my side.
According to the website I use, having your significant other cheat on you in a dream means that “your fears of being abandoned. You may feel a lack of attention in the relationship. Alternatively, you may feel that you are not measuring up to the expectations of others. This notion may stem from issues of trust or self-esteem. The dream could also indicate that you are subconsciously picking up hints and cues that your significant other is not being completely truthful or is not fully committed in the relationship.” I don’t know if any of that matters, honestly, but the dream hurt and I have to wonder how much change I ever did…
Later, I cuddled beside TH, letting his gentle touches calm my overwrought mind from the dream. He said nothing as I cried, letting his tender fingertips tell my mind and body the reassurances they needed.
Maybe I have changed. Maybe not. But this journey is far from over.