There was a time in my life not that long ago in which the only value or self-worth I had depended on others, men in particular. That was the only way that I knew that I had worth, was if someone else found me desirable.
*possible trigger warning for negative sexual experiences (coercion for example)*
I was aware of feminism and even identified as one at that time. I knew that women’s value was based off of appearance, etc etc. I know. I knew. And yet, despite being aware of things, it didn’t change how I felt about myself. Even to this day I can preach to the choir, reblog all the body posi things, even get tattoos with proclamations of self-love and loving myself first – and those crippling, painful thoughts that I am not pretty enough, skinny enough, or desirable enough still consumes me.
There is a string of bad ‘relationships’ in my past – I can think of at least five out of seven instances in which sexual happenings were not consensual. Alcohol is apparently a yes for some people. And coercion was a common thing. “Come on…come on, I know you want to. I have a condom. It won’t take that long. Come on girl, you’re giving me blue balls. Just give me a blow job.” Those are only some of the things I remember said to me.
A few days ago one of those people sent a simple “Hey” text and added me on facebook. I hadn’t spoken to him in a while, and when he would speak to me, it was when he wanted sex. I ignored both interactions. A few days went by and he sent me another one, saying he was trying to change and wanted to apologize for being an ass. I informed him that he was an ass, and I thanked him for the apology. I did not accept it, nor do I. I do not want to talk to him. Nor do I want to talk to the other dude who keeps on sending me facebook messages asking to “catch up, have a beer” and loves to tell me how hard it is to be friends with me because I ignore everything he says. He is someone who told me that he wouldn’t need condoms with me because I wasn’t going to have sex with him.
I ignore him for obvious reasons.
I like to think that my body is no longer available for other people.
But I still fall into those traps where my value is linked to others who find me sexually attractive. My body is only worth something if other people can gain pleasure from it. I know that’s toxic, wrong and fucked up.
Trust me, I know.
I just don’t know how to stop it.