The best part about receiving the support you need as a sexual assault or trauma survivor is having the strength and comfort to let yourself be vulnerable, and know you are still loved and heard.
The hardest parts are finding that support, and then once it is found, letting yourself finally, after years of holding in your deepest insecurities, fears, and secrets, you can let it out without being a burden.
There is always sexual assault headlines on the news. The sensationalism and truthiness of the cases vary, but often how the press treats the victim and the accused doesn’t. The survivor is always shadowy and dark, covered in shameful and pitiful mystery. The accused is fighting off paparazzi, hecklers, and gaining support from strange outliers.
The victim is always the same. Positioned in each case by law and by ethics to remain mostly silent, and then scolded when they speak out too much. It’s hard to find anything that is acceptable to say when an individual is put in either position.
Because of recent events concerning George Pell, I’d like to address something a survivor said. Here are his words:
“Like many survivors, I have experienced shame, loneliness, depression, and struggle. Like many survivors, it has taken me years to understand the impact upon my life. At some point, we realize that we trusted someone we should have feared and we fear those genuine relationships that we should trust.” (The Guardian)
For years, and especially these past 7 months, I have struggled with emotional intimacy. Either I let out too much all at once and it was a frightening, harrowing, and genuinely unhealthy burst for everyone involved, or I felt terrified to let anyone see inside certain parts of my heart no matter how intimate, trusting, or historical our relationship was.
But now, I think I’ve found what the hardest thing to find is, the space to be vulnerable and the strength to be vulnerable. It isn’t perfect, but its better than I could’ve asked for.
Oddly enough, sometimes I sympathize with the accused. I’m still coming to terms what this means to me as a survivor. Maybe some leftover Stockholm syndrome or this odd swing between apathy and empathy I perform as a coping mechanism. ( a really useless one). But, maybe it’s not such a bad thing to have sympathy for monsters.
In literature about PTSD, you can read about the concept of anniversaries. Whether someone suffering from PTSD is conscious or unconscious of the date, the body somehow remembers.
I had an anniversary recently.
It’s been 3 years since I was raped. I was talking to a close mentor about it and she was saying how it was difficult for her to admit at first that PTSD was ruling her life every day. She used to think it was just on these “anniversary” dates or because of triggers. But the truth is, every moment can be painful.
But anniversaries can be a totally different struggle.
On this three year anniversary, I’m reminded on Facebook in my memories that pop up about this event, person, and time in my life. Happy posts, tags, quotes, shares, etc. I can’t look at them the same way. I’m curious if he’s looking at them too. Wondering what thoughts he’s having. Maybe he’s thinking about it too. Or maybe he doesn’t think of it all.
This anniversary is different because I’m no longer distracted and comforted by familiarity. I’m very detached and its a scary place for me. I’m used to flinging myself into someone’s arms to ground me again. This year, I’m not doing that. This year I’m punching my own shoulder saying “tough it out, sport” like I’m in little league baseball as an 8-year-old.
I’m pushing myself to thicken my boundaries, reinforce my walls, and stand my ground against everything and everyone.
I’m taking a stance against rape culture propagated around me no matter how much I want to avoid and run away from it. I’m confronting it. I’m telling others to stop using their words to shame, hurt, and dehumanize others. I’m calling it out.
This three year anniversary will be hard by myself, and the process is as ineffable as the pain is.
Time after time, I start to watch what appears to be a good Rom-Com. It features a nice plot, a funny script, witty banter, charming actors, and amazing scenery, but the one thing that is missing is female lead equality. And I am not the first person to notice this.
Maisie Williams who plays Arya Stark in The Game of Thrones spoke up about it:
“What would you look for in a female character to make sure she’s not just the pretty face on the poster? Not just the girlfriend—yeah. I just think someone who is complex and introduced in the script not just as: “Sally. 30. Hot.” Like it’s so frustrating to read that in a script and then next to it you have the male lead: “Jason. 30. Kind face, kindhearted person, good with his son,” you know all these things about who you are rather than what you look like. When you find something that actually goes in depth about who the female character is, what drives her, not just her hair color, that’s better.
But also I just want to play someone I can actually relate to and isn’t just like a dolly, like a poster girl. I don’t know if I’ve read exactly what I’m looking for yet, but I think it will come one day.”
That question above is from Time magazine, the exact phrase that is giving me second thoughts about how women are portrayed is “just the pretty face on the poster”. Why are women without a second thought reduced to only their looks? Why, especially in any kind of media; film, modeling, singing, dancing, and even radio or youtube – women are only put up front if they are “beautiful”. I use quotes because this isn’t the “beautiful” adjective I would call a good friend of mine, this a word that is just as malignantly crafted as photoshop. This “beautiful” that is synonymous with “just a pretty face on the poster” is inherently dehumanizing and misogynistic. This “beautiful” is the frame in which all women are told they have to fit in order to be successful, and as Maisie said, she is way more than just her appearance, she has deep traits, talents, and differences that make her beautiful and unique and worthy of being treated like a human and not a 2-dimensional character.
When I look at the lead men of many films, you don’t see every single one of the legends looking glamorous as hell. For example Will Ferrel, Christopher Walken, Rowan Atkinson, Jack Black, Mike Myers, and Danny Trejo. If you google search any of these men do they look anything like this:
Faceless? Chad: Brunnet, buff, 20s. Only requiring that much description?
I didn’t think so. Why? Because a man’s career in any industry does not rely on his physical sex appeal. Huh. That’s weird. Men are taken seriously in media even when they dont have a perfect six-pack, perfect quads, perfect pecs, and a perfect or close to the perfect face. I wonder why?
Fighting for merit in a world that favors specific exterior looks immediately devalues true talent, creativity, and passion.
The characters that are played by men are often multidimensional. The character struggles with emotional, ethical, and moral choices that affect direct change in their character. The film Magic Mike is a great example. Channing Tatum is a sexy male character, but his appeal and strength lie in his true creativity, passion, and multi-talented brain. He gets plenty of credit for this in the film as well, where he struggles to treat others and himself respectfully while looking out for himself and creating his business.
How often do sexy female characters in films get this same spotlight?
It feels like we won’t get back together. I’m trying not to think about it. But the more I find myself incapable of thinking about the future without my picture frame around your face I can’t think about a future at all. Like my etch-a-sketch was shaken up and now it’s all blurry and blank where there once was a happy picture. Not a perfect one, I mean, how great do you think I am at etch-a-sketch? Awful, and geometry was the only math I got a B in my entire 16 years of schooling. Without that frame, I don’t see a thing. I’m trying to picture life by replacing that frame with other things.
Career: My frame looks harsher, but not in a bad way, just fulfilled by success instead of love.
Another person: Not the same, not a replacement, not right. But I also don’t know at all, since that frame is still all blurry.
Polycule: looks complex, unpredictable, and I can see the fear that you shared with me regarding that future. How ethereal and intangible it is. I guess monogamy somehow communicates a more substantial and sempiternal experience.
But again, I try not to think of this in a black and white frame, the world isn’t really binary like that. We live dialectically with lots of opposites coexisting in gray and through that process of analysis, we can find a middle ground.
A middle ground we are on the verge of giving up on. Turning our backs on this process feels like defeat to me. Like we’ve given up trying to love. At the end of the day you’ve presented your arguments:
- We are truly opposites and the compromise of being with me hurts you too much. The cost seems too high.
- The thought arises to both of us that if I, instead, take this burden, I will hurt you regardless.
- The future is unclear to both of us, and it always will be, but our distinctions of settling down and commitment are different. Our definitions are different and how my ideas are framed is in total opposition to yours. Maybe the dialectical approach isn’t good enough for you and traditional logic is all that works.
I picture us, in a house, the three of us, you and I and our capricious friend, happy. He says so, too. And its all up to you what happens, since 2/3 ain’t bad, but I think you’re the glue that’s holding it together after all. But regardless of that arrangement, we have work to do.
I agree with you on a lot of things I didn’t expect to. Your criticisms. Your fears. Even your differing values are looking morally superior. Our cultural, class, economic, and value systems may differ, but I know that our love is real. If that’s real, why can’t we work it out? Plenty of people marry into very different families, with race, religion, and culture being an afterthought, why not us?
At night I sleep with Icebat on my chest. A familiar headrest. Then, I have the blanket you gave me draped over my torso. The cool satin delicately weighing on me feels good in the heat and humidity. I couldn’t sleep with it on before, it wasn’t the season. Just like this summer wasn’t the season for us to be together. To sleep alongside you like the satin and the fur does when they slide against each other’s backs, sewed together on each edge.
Maybe this season wasn’t quite right. Too cold for the cool satin. To hot for the thick fur. Maybe it was the season for the two to be apart while being together, sewed on each edge but still back to back. Even though they face away, out to other things, looking in opposite directions, tearing apart, but without breaking bonds.
We created something two and a half years ago. We formed it when I had a panic attack each time we grew closer. We built it when I held you sobbing, silent, in my arms. We built it each time I snuck back into your bed after a night out. We built it with moss and chocolate. With cigarets under the canopy of green. By receiving noise complains and paying fines, writing essays about being addicts, having meetings to convince us to be sober. From collecting stupid things; pick-pocketing and shoplifting.
We built something I can’t tear down. It’s my frame I see the world through.
From all the talks we had through the night, in the lazy afternoons out on the old golf course, a language arose. Like any human group, a new dialect is created. Ours was quiet, telepathic. But we use words to talk around the words that are too hard to say. Phrases and stares to avoid the unspeakable. This style reflects something poetic about you that I love and hate to have out of my grasp. It’s a haunting torturous silence, unforgettably burdensome. At the same time, we both revel in it. Waiting for it to be broken with noise or movement.
Sometimes it never comes. Right now, there is static. A harsh white noise and I can’t turn it off and it’s not adequate enough to drown out the rage and sadness we both have swelling from us. Not loud enough to ease the silence between us.
I didn’t let it happen until now. I wasn’t letting myself feel it. But with each mascara stained tear, I can feel my heart breaking. It’s the most pathetic I’ve felt for a long while.
I refused to cry myself to sleep. Refused to cry at all. Holding my breath tightly, and then gasping for air in the bathroom at work.
I’m ok. Sincerely.
I don’t get choked up every time I think about you. I don’t randomly start crying when I am alone driving to and from work. Or at work.
I actually haven’t let myself cry for a few days. Maybe since Tuesday last week. Whether this is an accomplishment or simply me being numb I’m not sure. I can’t tell if I’m burrowing further into myself or if I’m actually moving on. I wonder how you feel all the time.
I talk to our capricious friend a lot and he says he talks to you. I hope you tell him how you feel. I really really do. If nothing else, I hope you and him can still be close.
I’ve tried a lot of new things. By new I mean I’ve pushed my boundaries a lot. But I’ve been just fine on my own. Maybe I never doubted my independence, but I doubted my happiness without your stability.
At the same time let’s be honest with ourselves, or at the very least to each other, we were always so unstable.
You have insane emotional swings that drive me crazy and I do the same to you. A lot of mine I know comes from PTSD, and I’ve been working really hard on my triggers and emotional processing because I know my reactions are tumultuous and volatile. I also know that you can’t handle them emotionally because you haven’t done any processing of your own. It’s unfair of me to ask so much of you emotionally when I know you just can’t provide. that’s not your fault.
I can’t even be mad at you about this. Not even a little. There are actually a lot of people that are mad at me. Odd right? Apparently, I’m the one who needs to alter my lifestyle to be worthy of your love. I think this is a strange sentiment since it ignores all the other issues between us unrelated to our difference in definitions. Love is a big strange word and we feel it and express it so differently its no wonder things got so complicated.
Things aren’t easy to talk about all the time but I’ve found some healthy ears and ways of processing that aren’t substance abuse. Although I can’t promise the health of my organs is the same as they were in June.
I saw a post from March about how I was going to quit smoking. I laughed.
I got home around midnight last night and woke up at 5, and haven’t been able to get back to sleep but I’m not even upset about it. These precious morning hours have been a gift to me for days now. Late nights seem dimmer. Maybe I miss waking up to you and I’m just hoping you’ll magically appear. I’m pretty silly like that, but my auditory and sensory hallucinations have been pretty prevalent lately and I think it’s an addiction.
It hurts at the same time as it reassures me about my feelings.
I’m waiting to remember how you feel again.
I’m working on processing.
When I think about you a lot it muddies the clarity I’m trying to find. But simultaneously, the clarity I have in the sadness I’m experiencing is addictive.
Each time I’m alone I can’t battle away thoughts or desires. Memories of simplicity haunt me. Sitting on my bed in Pflueger or at Safehouse, lightly caressing your shoulder or back mindlessly while reading or translating Greek. I never really understood how precious those moments were. I can recall the sensations as if they were hallucinations.
Maybe I am hallucinating.
You texted me the other day telling me about how you dream about us doing normal daily things. I do too. That’s probably the hardest part.
It’s not hard to distract myself by socializing. It’s not hard to go places with people I like and have fun. It’s hard waking up without your warm body in bed. It’s hard brushing my teeth alone. It’s hard getting my outfit together without popping out of my closet and asking for your advice.
It’s hard making meals for myself wondering what you’d teach me in the kitchen. Thinking about how you’d scold my terrible knife skills and congratulate me when I somehow didn’t burn or overcook something.
It’s hard drinking with others. I think about your red hot skin.
When things get really hard though and I can barely function, I daydream about running away. I pretend it’ll work out. I think about how much time I waste being away from you. How much I actually don’t give a shit about the situation I’m in and the people I know in my job and how it is all very forgettable. I am forgettable to them too, probably.
Then I guilt myself into staying here because I don’t want to burden you. I don’t want you to feel like I’m chasing you around the globe and you don’t actually want me.
Even though you say you do, you always follow up with “in a few years” and to me, that sounds more like “I can’t do this.”
I like to think I know you well enough to see through your kind lies. Comforting but too seductive for me to resist sometimes.
I think about this often.
Coming home for the summer, walking down the bridge to my senior year of college, and being incessantly bored, stressed, and overwhelmed all at once. It feels that this topic has weighed on me for years and won’t leave.
Before reading this: Don’t patronize me about this topic. In return, I won’t patronize you for talking about your daddy issues.
I spent hours looking through endless activist posts about LGBTQA+ people and I stumbled upon one that included that polyamory flag. This flag is not a well-known symbol of practicing ethical non-monogamists. Honestly, most people who practice non-monogamy ethically or not tend to be quiet about it. It isn’t like being gay or straight, or anything in between. It isn’t like being transgender, it’s like being a monster.
Polyamory is often grouped into a fetishistic place similarly to bisexuality. It’s not often considered a sexual, romantic, or gender identity that sets you apart and simultaneously groups you with other queers or straights cisgender people. But instead, it leaves you out in a weird waiting room, alone. I feel I’m in a glass box with tinted windows. I can see out perfectly, but when others look inside they just see a dark figure looming in a corner. The tinted box is made out of ignorance and unquestioned norms. And it’s really hard to question norms when they are so prevalent, it seems as if there is no other alternative to monogamous relationships.
Then it seems to make sense to them why I’m here in this box where I’m hidden from the mono-sexual normative world because I’m a freak. Humans practice mono-sexual relationships because you only need one love.
“one love, one life,” etc.
Then it comes down to needs. “I only need you. I only want you. I ONLY SEE YOU.” all of these SINGULAR ideas. No duplicity. No multiplicity. People can only have one having anymore is simply problematic.
Because monogamy is simple isn’t? or is it? The whole point of it is for you to some how find your single soulmate in a world of billions of people. Meanwhile, the average person only has physical access to less than millions in your area, fewer if you’re on a tiny island somewhere or an isolated rural town. If you only have one soulmate and you can’t find them, whats the point?
Some people scoff, and say “How could I let my partner see other people? I’m way too jealous and in love to allow that!” and similar ideas. That’s fine. I mean, if you know yourself well enough to know that more than one partner makes you feel unstable and bad, then don’t have multiple partners. But to tell me that people anywhere should only have one partner and that it’s disgusting, ridiculous, overly complex, and immoral to have more than one partner, is pretty closeminded. I’ll respect you for having one partner because your happiness, sexuality, and interest in a romantic partner is NONE OF MY FUCKING BUSINESS.
Then there is that stupid notion of “commitment” as if it means something different when I love more than one person. I’m just as committed to my relationships as anyone else. I’ll defend, love, hold, respect, and stand by my partners when they need me. Commitment doesn’t mean we all have to keep our hands and hearts to ourselves, it means we share love and happiness together regardless of how much or how long that is for.
I don’t feel jealousy like others feel. I don’t own my partners. I don’t own anyone. The point of polyamory is to be free. And happiness is found in the ability to freely give, feel, and receive love — in whatever way that may be: sexually, romantically, both, neither, etc. — for everyone, to everyone, by everyone. Consentually.
But the words mono-sexuality and monogamy are only known to even a select group of people who are even aware there are other options. A lot of people get things confused with serial monogamy, polygamy, and polyandry, which aren’t the same ideas. These ideas don’t cater to the core meaning of polyamory which is freedom for everyone. Of course every relationship has rules to help respect and love each other, but they are on the terms of EVERYONE involved and not just the person in control or “wearing the pants” in the relationship.
This idea of the relationship not just having more than one person, but also being on the terms of EVERYONE and not just the traditional dominant lead male role or the nagging submissive female role blows everyone mind. That a relationship of more than one person is about equality and consent of everyone.
So that’s why most practicing non-monogamist stay quiet.
I haven’t been quiet like everyone else, and I seem to be losing more friends and likability over it.
Maybe I have to be quiet now, and I’ll find a new way to communicate these ideas. But to everyone who is so afraid of polyamory, if you don’t like it, don’t do it. If you don’t like cake, don’t eat it. But don’t hate everyone else because they had their cake, and they ate it too.
I wondered to my piano sitting up against the deep ocean blue wall where I broke it setting it there. I found myself composing, but then stopping and not liking a single note or style that I played. So I played old songs from high school and before. My oldest songs. I found them so utterly depressing I cried.
I’ve struggled with a number of puzzles, and I know now that everyone sees the world through different eyes so certain puzzles are easier for some people to figure out than others.
But teasing out this mystery, the one where we plan out our lives isn’t a simple science, and constantly finding only the easiest path is setting yourself up for a way that is building a circle around yourself.
It won’t expand out.
Building a little protective circle is a bubble. An echochamber. Safe Space.
Exploring and expanding out beyond what you predicted your limits. Where you start to put puzzle pieces down and build the bits into a picture.
Everyone starts somewhere. It gives you the first couple pieces, the ones that you can see clearly, but you’ve grown so used to seeing them around you they are no longer seen as puzzle pieces of but reality attached to your personality. Things you cannot rebuild or eliminate. They are alterable, but sometimes, never replaceable.
Then out beyond lies the shapes that aren’t familiar, drifting around you advertizing parts of itself, paths that lead to infinite other paths. Each is ethereal and some more unpredictable than others. Picking them is difficult, because uncertainty is scary. It is a feeling that people try to avoid daily in conversation and action.
But because of instability, uncertainty never scared me. Like others, whose foundations were set in family values, mine was set in unstable ground, walking on egg shells over a glass surface forever. What I saw was always unpredictable and unstable, so looking out on the world of mystery, I found more joy where they found plethoras of fear.
I stepped out, alone, with a support system that I created with a foundation of sand. Slippery and changing with every movement.
Others stepped out, but instead of looking forward they looked back. They saw that stability behind them and then in front of them the clouded mist of decisions to be made a lone. And instead of knowing that they would always be alone anyways, they hid in the things that had previously known. Afraid to be truly alone. Afraid to know the truth. To step out of the cave, the light blinding them and cowering in pain behind their hands shielding themselves from the barrage of truth and mystery.
Backwards into the dark comfort of womb-like existence. Back to stability.
There was no going back for me. No place left. There never was stability to begin with, and returning to chaos where I was not in control of anything was more terrifying than creating a world for myself that I could control at least three aspects of. My choices, my body, and my mind.
My puzzle was simple, to solve it I had to leave the box and create my own.
For others, maybe their puzzle is like mine, but they can’t bring themselves to leave.
Or maybe I can’t see their escape from the outside. Only they can see it from the inside. And they are staring at it, eye agape, mouth wide, and ears bleeding. But they are immobilized by fear of the unknown. The unstable outside.
But it’s ok to come out.
The unspoken rule of college is claiming seats for the semester. Once somebody consistently sits somewhere, that’s their seat. And the earlier you show up on the first day, the more likely you are to get your preference. I prefer to have a visual sight over most of the classroom because I’m always prepped for threat. I have an easy escape if I can see a threat coming before it can hurt me, and I’m always closest to the exit. Sitting in the second row of my Communications 101 classroom, I can’t see everyone as I would usually prefer, but now it’s because of a threat.
I know he is just sitting there directly behind me. Not doing anything at all, just existing, taking notes, talking to our mutual classmates on either side of him, but each time I have to look at his face an icy river flows through my veins and I clench my fists. I feel like I make a pained face and wince away turning my body into itself. It’s just his face. I don’t even know his name.
My therapist gave me this analogy: “You’re seeing something that looks like a grizzly bear, it’s big, furry, and had claws, but it’s not a grizzly bear its a raccoon. Maybe it’ s a grizzly bear but it’s behind a fence, and it’s not the same one.”
I know this. I know it’s not a real threat. But my body is trying to alert me to something that looks like the threat that hurt me before that I didn’t take notice of. Slowly, I’m unraveling the past that has made others around me notice the same things. They notice I am very capricious and dual-natured, both loving and apathetic, cold and happy. It seems strange, but through deep analysis, I figured out why and how this dual-nature came about.
I did this little survey called the Jo-hari window, it has the user pick 6 characteristics that they think I possess. I picked 6 as well, these fall into one of 4 boxes, the “Known to self and hidden from others” box. If they pick one of the words that I also picked, it goes into the known to others and to self. If they picked words that I didn’t pick, it goes into another box, “Not known to self, but known to others.” If consensus grows on certain words they become highlighted against the others.
Sitting back, I know that the reason I can be both loving and apathetic/cold is that I keep my emotional distance, but I care deeply when I feel allowed or safe to do so. Sometimes I don’t notice I’m totally emotionally detached until I say something so unempathetic in a situation that requires at least a hint of empathy. I lash out without thinking because I have no emotional forethought.
To conclude this daily life post, I also want to address the antithetical ideas that surround my duality. I also am so emotional. It comes in many waves, spurred from things I can’t predict sometimes, and if recognized as a trigger of emotion, swell up and spill over even more; as if they were all the sudden given approval and allowed to overwhelm me. Maybe this recognition just seems at first like a swelling and then crashing wave, and maybe I’ll soon adapt to be the sand, able to withstand the constant crashing, and able to change with the rising tide.
I won’t wince away anymore, cringe internally and externally. I won’t avoid it, but face it all.
(Aside: This is a piece I wrote for the Matrix magazine that I am the junior editor of.)
When the cheating starts, the fighting, the lying, the crushing anxiety. When the fear sets in, and the threats start coming in waves and you want to crawl inside yourself and never leave. When you hide yourself, not your face or your body but you, the colorful, nurtured, lively you. The one who dances in fields in their dreams and has flowers in their hair.
No that person is hidden underneath the shame. Underneath the lies.
The biggest lie is that there is only one way to love.
I was told that loving was limited. The prince and princess and their one love.
Heterosexuality. Monogamy. A singular unity between two people.
This is a lie.
I was scared to question my feelings. I was scared to share with my friends my doubts. They’d say: “No, there is no way you could be a lesbian.”
And I say lesbian because, yet again I thought, it can’t be possible for me to like more than one. I must be greedy. Lustful. Out of control. I must be ravenous for some kind of contact.
But I’m not. I just have a capacity to love more than one gender and more than one person. And that was a well too deep for me to look down into, and when I did look I thought it was just an illusion and it was actually shallow. Shallow as if being more capable to love more than one gender and more than one person was crippling to my heart.
Then, knowing that monogamy and heterosexuality was an incapability of mine, I was unable to love at all.
1. While running around during the day or sitting idly at night, waiting for things; planes trains and automobiles, and during times I want to escape I have these vignettes that play in my head. Sometimes they get very complicated, going into extreme detail about the manner of my life’s course, career, hair style, particular characters with many idiosyncrasies.
Recently, I had a funny one about myself as a stand up comedian. For me, as a failed aspiring actor, model, singer, dancer, performer of every type, I like to think of this as another failed pipe dream I’ll never be good enough at regardless if I pursue and practice it with some flavor of natural talent. This particular vignette was the comedic act itself, not the process of my life getting to that point. So some of my jokes had to do with self deprecation of course, as every comedian should learn to do first, better to make fun of yourself than to be made fun of by others and not be able to take it, no matter the true or untrue allegations made.
“Being a blonde, dyslexic, woman, I shouldn’t be taken seriously. My brain is too wrapped up in a mess to be trustworthy.”
I can’t remember the exact idea I was talking about in this particular speech, but it definitely had to do with my appearance and how ironic it is.
2.A lot of my friends that have known me a long time are very hyper aware of my appearance and they make it very clear to me how they think I look and what that opinion means to them. Positive or negatively meant, I usually get “Barbie Body” comments, “You’re a fucking twig, eat something”, “Everything fits you/ everything looks good on you, I’m so jealous”, and stuff like: “I wish I could pull that off, you’re so confident.” Now, don’t take these things to mean I don’t know how to take a compliment, but at the same time, most of these compliments risk the integral identity of the comment givers. They make it seem like I shouldn’t be allowed to be this way, because they can’t, or won’t, or any other incapability. I don’t want to be complemented at the sacrifice of someone else’s beauty that is in a place so far from comparative to mine, in a place where we are actually equally and so differently beautiful. No need to bash barbie for looking a certain way, simply address the real problem, that all beauty is equal, different, and uniquely amazing.
One thing that gets me everytime is the “eat something” comment. I had an eating disorder for a long time and didn’t weigh more than 110 for most of my highschool career. Now, after leaving home and eating by myself with no one around me that knew of my eating disorder I could eat perfectly fine like a normal person. Or as my partner would say, twice the normal person. Coming back home this Winter 2016 break, everyone is picking on me about my eating habits. “Oh, you’re not gonna finish that I’ll take it”, assuming that I’m not going to eat something on my plate and taking it before I could even respond. Constantly having my eating habits picked at and scrutinized is rude, regardless if I have an eating disorder or not.