Archive for the ‘survivor’ Category

I just returned from my voice lesson. A very disappointing lesson. Let me start of by saying I found the best music teachers here in Israel. It is my goal to be able to apply to university to study music next year. This means a lot of work on my part.

I’ve also improved more in the last two-ish months of lessons then I did over the span of a year in Canada. I think part of it is the assertive (aggressive) Israeli spirit. There is a certain lack of tact that is very refreshing (which also took a while to get used to). But when my teacher is communicating (yelling) at me, I have no choice but to listen. And it works, wonderfully.

Today, however, I encountered some difficulty in my lesson. My back’s been hurting, probably due to the oncoming winter and the sporatic torrential rainfall of the last few weeks. I don’t know if its a real pain, or a body memory. For 14 years any change in weather meant increased pain levels and limited mobility. I suspect it is a mixture of both.

Anyways – it is my body that is the instrument. Which means I have to feel 100% in order to get 100% sound. The tension in my back threw my ear off. I couldn’t breathe properly, and I could feel I was forcing my voice too much, and as a result, I was off tone.

My teacher asked me about that. And I didn’t say anything. I didn’t say the truth. It wasn’t until I left and walked towards the bus that I realized why:

I didn’t want to come off as weak. Or like I was making excuses for myself.

So instead, I left my teacher with the impression that I’m working on this beyond my current capability. And I left that lesson extremely disappointed in myself. Doubly so when it hit me that I reacted as if I would be penalized for being in pain. And then I wanted to cry.

So.

I have to own up next week. Because I am capable.

 

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Every night since I was a child, I would cover myself in piles of blankets. I would sleep with my blankets cocooned around my body, pulled up to my ears. Didn’t matter what the weather was, I needed to have at least five blankets over me.

I never really fell out of the habit of needed to keep myself warm at night. My grandfather joked about it a few weeks ago when I said how cold I was at night, even with my sweater and socks and pj pants. I smiled at his joke, but the safety I find in being buried under a pile of blankets goes deeper then a physical need for warmth.

It’s not something I ever really thought consciously about, even during summers when I’d have to cocoon myself at night to the point where a/c didn’t do enough, but I had to sleep with a fan and without clothes and was still hot.

I get it now that I really have no privacy, living with 40 some other people in co-ed dorm-like buildings. Especially since last night I had the best sleep yet in Israel because I had a real blanket, plus sweater and socks and pjs. It was a relief to wake up in the middle of the night because I was too hot. And I wrapped the blanket around myself even tighter.

I was thinking about that last night, the womb-like cocoon of blankets. It’s something I’ve only ever done when sleeping on my own. Cause once someone else is there, the sense of safety has already fled. Imagination can’t be worse then the reality lying beside me. Or something like that.

Bottom line: blankets equal happiness and love and (mental) safety and (mental) security.

Free choice. Something that I really didn’t have for most of my life. Whether it was from doctors, being overly medicated, being pushed into choices due to disability, to being dictated to by a multitude of abusers. One would argue I never had to make any real decisions of my own.

I say ‘sure‘ in response to most things. My ‘sure‘ is not an agreement, but neither is it a disagreement. It is a neutral yet polite and positive response to something I have not yet made my mind up about. And it may very well take me a long time to make my mind up, because I like knowing my choice comes directly from me. I dislike any hint of being pushed in a direction I am uncertain I want to go in.

However, sometimes it borders on ridiculous. I answer ‘sure‘ as if I still am somewhat expecting a violent reaction from others. Which, to be honest, I am. There is a tension still there when a decision to be made is directed to me.

And yes, it is a lot easier to just let someone else make a choice, and go along with it. Which is what I typically do. And which is what I can’t really do here in Israel, where people really know their own minds and voice it.

I’ve even been told that being here is good for me cause it’ll force me to learn to make choices for myself. Which I completely agree with. But it is a statement that also makes me feel very much like a child.

Meanwhile, it is my choice to be indecisive about a lot of things. I choose to take time to make my mind up about things.

I was thinking about this cause it’s been really hard and draining, the last several weeks. I had a moderate freakout which lead to a shared cigarette and buying makeup and earrings for the lobe piercings I retired long ago. Which really isn’t a big deal on the surface, but in my mind it was the first step back into oblivion.

However, smoking made me realize why I stopped in the first place (it’s really yuck. I had to decontaminate myself afterwards). And wearing makeup does not make me look like a whore. Nor do multiple earrings.

Which made me look at why I kept thinking like that, and realizing I’m still internalizing J’s abuse long after his exit from my life. I just figured he was right: I was a whore, therefore I looked like one. So I tried to eradicate any lingering ‘signs’ (weight, clothes, hair, appearance, everything). Which is ridiculous. And brings me back to choice. Perspective too, since anyone who is human could be a ‘whore’, and what does that word mean anyways? Cause it’s really not applicable to me, despite what I lived through (circling back to choice).

Anyways.

So I essentially said fuck you in my head, and hoped he got the message, wherever he is. And went late to class this morning just to put on some makeup.

I did my nails too.

🙂

I got a bit of a shock this morning when I saw my reflection. I reverted back to my natural hair colour a few days ago.

Where as the blonde hair was a passive fuck you to people no longer in my life (which actually just harms me, so what’s the point?), the red hair was trying to find comfort cause I like red. But red dye fades fast.

I ended up with a feeling of wrongness whenever I saw my hair. It’s inauthentic. That was the problem. I feel the same way when I wear heels, or makeup, or when I say/do something I’m uncertain off. That sense of obligation I cannot stand. How red hair equals obligation I’m not 100% sure. It just does.

So ya. Shock this morning in the mirror.

I haven’t had my hair my natural dark brown since I was 13ish. I’ve coloured it black, which is close, and which is why I was taken aback.

That first glance didn’t show my appearance as it is now. All I saw was me, anorexic with heavy eye makeup and short, straight black hair and a bunch of piercings.

I blinked, and it was me again.

It’s still a bit jarring. Like a part of me is expecting to get a verbal lashing for not having my hair straight. My brain is still catching up to my current situation, which happens to be Freedom and Confidence and Love.

I can’t run away from myself with dark hair. I couldn’t when it was blonde or red either. But it stuck a bandaid over my emotions regarding my appearance. I can confront myself now. I can look in the mirror and see exactly who I am, know who I am. So it’s okay. It’s safe, in a very scary way.

It’s now been six months since I detoxed from psychotropics and narcotics. I actually had to count out the months.. It feels like a lifetime has passed. And really, I have my um, birthday rapist to thank for all the positive changes I’ve gone through. I brooded for two months, then decided life as I was living it was completely unacceptable to me. So I changed it.

Six months on and I know there are still plenty of things that need changing. Mainly my ability to relate to other people outside of a sexual context. I’m being pretty forgiving towards myself in this aspect. Here’s why:

I’ve been mostly isolated for years, I cut out positive friendships because I didn’t feel I deserved them, and gravitated to those who were more damaged then me, or who affirmed my belief in my worthlessness. I cut all those people out too. But was too scared to make new friends. Plus, how do you create a friendship when the only friendships you’ve had for years would be created out of sex?

So I find myself in a weird position now. My beliefs have changed. My actions have changed. The way I life has changed. But I’ve only really been confronted with having to positively interact with others very recently.

So I find myself having to adjust while around people I’m trying to or want to befriend. Which is really weird.

I guess I would call this stage confusing. I’m breaking old patterns and I’m breaking through the brainwashing.

While the last six months (and longer, actually) have mostly been me by myself, that’s no longer the case. I’m actually trying to connect with other people in a positive way.

Which leaves me… unsettled.

I’m trying to find a new normal. And it’s working. But then every so often I’ll do or say something that reflects the person I used to be, and not who I am now.

I was trying to figure out why I kept acting on this compulsion. Cause I don’t do things believing I deserve nothing better, or to objectify myself intentionally.

I’m just trying to adjust. Which is hard. And could also be a sign that I have to stop placing myself in situations where I’m vulnerable to acting stupid.

To which I can say to myself, “duh”.

Anyways. It’s something for me to mull over.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4G4IaCOglE (warning: it’s loud!)

Stay safe ❤

 

My vision of the city I grew up in comes to be in flashes of Technicolor.

Doctors offices, roving doors of emergency rooms, psychiatric wards, rooms made to look comfortable while having my mind probed. Medication. Violence.

This city:

It’s the scent of desperation coating my skin. Hopeless that smells like Chanel *5. The scent of death in its sweet seduction. The scent of choking on the very air you breathe, gasping out without sound.

This city:

It’s the feel of silky stockings, riding up to my thighs. Sexy in heels, and covering up red gashes of misdirected anger. A multitude of sin wrapped in a pretty package yet still rotting.

This city:

It’s the blurred location, blurred vision of bedrooms, blurred vision of faces. Meaningless. Endless.

This city:

It’s the feeling of violation. Of violent penetration. Of silent pain.

This city:

It’s the reflection of a person I don’t recognize. A familiar face masked in death. A body waiting to expire and eyes who’s light has extinguished.

This city:

It’s the relentless drug of sex and money. Of devaluation, objectification, and money purchasing worth and consent.

This city:

It’s the loss of any sense of Self, of no longer being an autonomous entity. Body and mind a product belonging to those posing as loved ones.

This city:

It’s forced orgasms, forced screams, posing and pretending, terror and anxiety.

This city:

It’s the unbelievable question ‘Is this making love?’ while being raped. And as the customer is always -always- right, it’s my flirtatious answer and another blow to my soul.

This city:

It’s being indebted to my pimp after running out on a client turned violent.

This city:

It’s the inability to hold onto tainted money. And the lasting incredulity of minimum wage. The knowledge what I can make in an hour. And knowing I never could.

This city:

It’s filth. The inability to feel clean. The feeling of scalding water and abrasive surfaces and sobbing in the shower.

This city:

It’s degrading names, and derogatory terms, and shame. Of isolation. A conviction of corrupting anyone near me.

This city:

It’s finding false redemption in hatred masquerading as love. It’s waking up on the floor of a hotel room mostly dead. It’s anger at not being allowed to die.

This city:

It’s survival. It’s forgiveness. It’s redemption. It’s healing. It’s mine.

I spent today at an incredible conference geared towards advocating for the trafficked and prostituted. I don’t think I’ve ever been so comfortable saying “I was prostituted”. Nor have I ever gotten such a positive reception after saying that.

There was some discussion about terminology. And I realized that how I refer to myself and to my past has completely changed. I no longer say things like “I was a whore”. I say the exact same thing as stated above, “I was prostituted”. And not even that can encompass the terror, humiliation, degradation, helpless, and emotional death of what being prostituted entails.

Going from whore to exited prostitute makes me realize how fucking huge the problem really is. Because I lived it. I know the belief system that accompanies the word whore. It also makes me realize how much hope there is. Because I lived it… and realize it is not a label of identification, but one of oppression and brainwashing.

I’ve also come to a point where my need to break silence is greater then my fear of exposure and my need for anonymity.

I was recently asked what words I would use to describe myself. Without thinking, I said, “Unconventional, quirky, intelligent, curious, friendly, intense, laid back, quiet, adorable” I was then interrupted, otherwise I would have had more to say about how fabulous I am 😉 It didn’t occur to me until after that my way of describing myself had no self-objectification or sexualization. Nor were any of the attributes that I listed any that described my physicality (adorableness is a trait), but words that ring true with my Self.

Knowing my inherent self-worth is what has really shifted me from being a victim to being a Survivor.

The exploited are Precious, Loved, Worthy. We are to die for.