I'm still breathing, I'm still chugging on like the little engine that could. I'm still convincing myself that I am in control. I'm an oxymoron - someone who feels ruined but empowered all at once. I'm beautifully broken.
©Kevin Carden / Adobe Stock
Content warning: sexual references
5:45 pm, June 13th, 2018.
I put my kicks on and walk out of the house, kissing my husband goodbye as I waltz off to the gym. I was content, nothing was phasing me, bothering me, taunting me in that moment.
8:45 pm, June 13th, 2018.
I returned home, enraged, anxious, irritable. I walked in, and he greeted me. I see some dishes in the sink, and it pushed me over the edge. I was consumed with alarming, debilitating aggression. I felt, in that moment, like beating someone to a pulp, or jumping off the 8th-floor balcony. I couldn’t calm my thoughts or bring myself to a safe place. I locked myself in the bathroom in fear of hurting someone, including myself. Eventually, the rage turned into a strange bout of depression, and I broke down crying, looping through thoughts and events from my childhood that I never laid to rest.
Welcome to my life: sex with little inhibition
I am Sam, an almost-27-year-old with a questionable past and a colorful personality to shadow it all. Anxiety is my friend, and it travels with me everywhere. Looping is my past-time. My mind has a way of blowing the smallest things out of proportion until, eventually, I start to fixate on things that I have not dealt with from my past that have ‘made me who I am.’ I tell myself this in an attempt to own my experiences, but sometimes I wonder if my experiences are owning me.
Dusting out the skeletons
I was only seven years old. I attended a small public school where my mother grew up. I had busy parents, so I stayed with my grandmother to attend primary school for a few years. I had a friend who we will, for anonymity, refer to as Vini. Vini was beautiful. She had sugar brown hair that was curly, a narrow smile, and brown eyes. She was genuine. One day, Vini asked me to go with her to the bathroom at school. I figured she was scared or probably had something to show me.
Childhood innocence is a heck of a thing!
Two minutes in, she dragged me into a stall and said she wanted to show me something. She cautiously took off her dress (we wore knee-length dresses over white shirts) and unbuttoned her shirt. She then took my hand and placed it on her chest. I was terrified and confused. She said she liked how it felt. Next thing I knew, she was taking off her underwear and slipping my hands down to her vagina. I wanted to bury myself in shame, but keep going at the same time. I was a people pleaser. I didn’t want her to feel hurt or offended, or even scared that I would shame her for what she was doing because friends shouldn’t do that; so I went along. She giggled. She asked if I was okay with it, and I lied, “I think so.”
The bell rang before we had a chance to go any further, and we returned to our class. The next day, she took me into the stall in the middle of one of our classes and told me that she wanted to try something with me. It recurred for days, each day moving further than the other. I was seven, giving and receiving oral in a primary school bathroom stall. I was taught about sex without actually knowing it. I felt guilty in all my childhood innocence. It became an addiction of sorts. We had to try something every day.
“Every day I ask myself, 'If she was doing this to me, who was doing this to her?' That thought breaks me.”
Sex with little inhibition
There were days I rushed back to class with my underwear in my dress pocket because we were ‘almost’ caught. I was transferred to another primary school almost a year later; one closer to where my mother worked at the time. I missed her, and wanted to continue what we had – that very addictive, physically pleasing relationship. I started to explore myself. At eight years old, I was masturbating almost daily. I snuck out of bed late at nights and into the TV room to try to get a peek at the late night adult shows, and later, online pornography. I became addicted to any and everything sexual as the years went by. Every day I ask myself, “If she was doing this to me, who was doing this to her?” That thought breaks me.
My husband eventually entered the picture and got a good taste of what that was like. I’d like to think he initially enjoyed it, but after we got married, he saw the really nasty side of it. The side that wanted more than just him. The side that wanted to fulfill all kinds of fantasies involving other men and women. The side of me where romance and sex would never meet in the same room. Today, that side of me is still very much alive with little inhibition. I learned about sex without love and passion. Making love wasn’t my skill set, but fucking was.
Nightmares: a frightening or unpleasant dream
So what do you call a frightening or unpleasant reality? I grew up with a father who had a hard time managing his anger, a not-so-docile mother, and an absent brother. My father faced his fair share of bullshit growing up, but these were things I didn’t understand until now. I grew up in a home where fighting parents became a norm. My father had a way of arousing a tiresome sort of rage and anxiety within me. I was my mother’s protector because she had a small frame and I feared she couldn’t protect herself against his strapped body and a beastly temper. This kept me on edge. He could strike anytime, and I was always uneasy.
Read more: What is it like living with OCD?
This anxiety transferred to almost every other aspect of my life. I jumped in the middle many times, received a few blows that weren’t meant for me many times, and physically asserted myself to protect my mother far too many times than my mind and body wanted to. This anxiety and rage stayed with me.
I resented my father, and resentment is a difficult thing to get rid of. Today, my body is unable to fall into deep sleep. The sound of rain pattering against the rooftop – a normally soothing sound to the tired body – keeps me on the edge. The sounds of raised voices, people talking loudly, send my mind into a state of panic. Panic and anxiety follow me everywhere.
I try to think of something that sums me up. I’m still breathing, I’m still chugging on like the little engine that could; I’m still convincing myself that I am in control. I’m an oxymoron – someone who feels ruined, but empowered all at once. I’m beautifully broken.