Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saving Jane Laplain's.... Marriage

Mr. Laplain* is going to leave me.

He hasn't said this. He hasn't hinted at this.  He hasn't behaved like he doesn't love me anymore. But no man, no human being, can take as much rejection as I've been dishing out.

I am not a monster. I don't wish to reject him.  I am still in love with him like I've never loved anyone.  I hate it whenever he is out of my sight. But I have no way of explaining with my own voice that when I'm in one of my "seasons"... there is simply nothing  that can be done to "please me" nor to "comfort" me. 

I'm not just talking about physical intimacy. I'm talking about the fact that when I come home from work I am so overstimulated, so sensitized to having been around people I don't trust, talking to people I don't know, and pretending to be completely accessible and warm, all the while in extreme physical discomfort or pain, that I am drained of all capacity to speak when I get home.  That when I come home from work I come home in full body flashback to a time when I was forced to smile, and laugh, and be sociable with persons who had just finished paying me to reenact humiliating sex fantasies while in physical pain, or a person who I in no way wanted to have sex with but I needed the money and they wouldn't give me that money if they knew how much I hated being near them. And also I'm in physical pain.

This is why it is impossible to discuss this with Mr. Laplain.  What guy wants to hear that his wife* flashes back to prostitution and street harassment whenever she comes home to him?  How do you explain its not HIM it's just the fact that I've been subconsciously stimulated to that  memory for ten to twelve hours straight and home is the one place I can come to and feel like I don't have to talk to anybody or let anybody touch me or even look at me if I don't want them to.  And aftter ten to twelve hours of my body being forced to interact with strangers against my will, I just don't have anymore left for the one person who needs my time and attention most?

That sounds like bullshit if you don't know what living with PTSD is like. Or living with chronic pain. I had to go back and add pain, because I keep forgetting just how much my chronic pain issues take from me.  I've lived with them so long I don't notice how it affects me anymore.  But there is the psychic trauma too.

How do I explain that something so simple as asking me, in all tenderness, "can I have a kiss?"  that my reptilian brain cannot distinguish that from "stop what you are doing right now and show me physical intimacy!" 

How do I explain that the real reason I prefer sleeping on the futon isn't just because of back pain, but because out there I get to fantasize somebody is sleeping right next to me, keeping me safe from attackers in the night. And that this someone is a person who has no capability of reaching over and touching me in a sexual way while I'm sleeping?

I know this is not "rational." That is the point.  I know my husband* is not a john, not an assailant, not a stranger. 

The thing is I think I know the solution, or at least part of, but I have no idea how to explain any of this without explaining all of the above first, which I have no idea how to do without hurting him.  And how do I explain that sometimes the very act of speaking or being looked at feels like a violation?  How do you explain this to someone who adores you and loves talking to you and looking at you? How how how???

You bet I feel like a monster.  You're damn right I feel ridiculous, selfish, melodramatic, stupid.  I don't know what to do.

I think I might I have a solution but I can't even adequately explain myself TO myself yet.  I just don't know.  I don't know I don't know. I just wish he would stop ASKING me to show him affection. I mean literally asking me. the question.. Can I have a hug?  Can I have a kiss? Will you come lay down and cuddle with me?

I think the solution may be as simple as changing the way he asks the question.  The way he "asks" me is invariably asking me to do something for him, to him, with him, and right then and there.  It puts me in the position of having to grant consent for what should be innocuous, but in my perpetually heightened state of low-grade panic,  feels like yet another person asking me to act or speak or perform against my will. 

If he were to say "Can I kiss you?" That would be an entirely different question. That would be him asking me for access to my physical person, not access to my AFFECTION.

OMFG I think I just figured it out!! I really do!!  That IS a huge part of the problem!! 

I grew up experiencing my entire life, espcially my body as not my own to control, or even inahbit as I saw fit.  I became accustomed to people being able to demand I say or do things that were the exact opposite of what I wanted to do not only just to please them, but to avoid a BEATING.  I think every single trans-child feels this way.  Your whole identity, down to your very body, is  experienced as something ALIEN to you, something that feels wrong, but not just wrong, scarringly deeply wrong wrong wrong.  But you have no choice. You MUST comply with the expectations of others. You MUST conform to their perception of you right down to performing the precise physical movements they demand you perform and avoiding the precise physical movements they have forbidden you to perform.  If you don't, you WILL be subject to reprimand, humiliation, beatings, etc.  Universally! No matter where you go what you do the consequences for failure are the same!    You learn to live in a constant state of fear of fucking up and bringiing the wrath of family and strangers alike down on your head.  And if you do choose to drop the act, to move your own damn body as you fucking PLEASE, you brace yourself for the shouting and abuse, and physical attacks that NEVER CEASE.

 It's a different sort of violation than when somebody initiates violence against you out of the blue.   Its not only the person MAKING you do this thing that you don't want to do,  but that person asking YOU to do it for them,   because they know you aren't in any position to deny their request and they'd rather not have to exert their own energy while violating you.  This is why some trans children do choose the path of open defiance rather than conformity. You figure if they are going to punish me for doing what I know I must, at least they have to disrupt their own lives to do it.  At least they dont get to walk thru life pretending that they arent really hurting me.

And this is also how prostitution can be a completely traumatizing experience even if said prostitute is working of her own free will.  When you NEED the money, when saying "NO I don't want to" means you don't get rent paid or you don't eat, it's not really free will its the will to survive.   When all that's standing between you and homelessness is your disgust at showing affection to somebody who under normal circumstances you'd never dream of letting touch you, well you learn to put personal disgust aside in favor of not starving or losing that roof over your head. 

Do this long enough and it leaves a deep scar where your ability to connect physically with another human being of your own free will should be. 

I will need to tease these issues out more.  I'm not quite there but I'm on to something.    Going back to my possible solution.  I really think shifting language might help.  Maybe.  I hate being asked "Can I get a kiss??"  When I'm in a "mood" it sounds no different than "Can I get a blowjob?" UGH UGH UGH.  I know that's not fair to Mr. Laplain or to anyone who wants something so simple... but I cannot help this and I'm ashamed of it... everything that comes to me lately gets processed from this damaged space.

The thing is I would gladly do all of these things of my own free will if he would just let me settle down. If he could let me feel safe, let me begin to distinguish "out there" from "right here"  and "back then" from "right now."  Every time I leave the house it's the same old dilemma.  I need fucking time. I need space. I need to come back to the world.  And I don't need to be rushed.

Can I kiss you, makes all the difference.   Can I do this thing I want to do to you? What a concept!  Nobody ever takes responsibility for what they are asking of me.  "Will you stop doing whatever youre doing right now and pay me attention instead?  But do it with a smile, and act like it was your idea, okay?"  That's what I hear.    "Can I have your permission to touch you in this way? " THAT Takes responsibility for having the thought in the first place and presents it to me as an option. Asking permission, rather than asking for affection or a service!  It is not asking me to perform emotion I may or may not feel at the moment on top of asking me to perform the physical act itself.  It is a simple yes or no question.

Think about it.   "Can I have a kiss?"  No.   "Why don't you want to give me a kiss?  Don't you love me?"

"Can I kiss you?"  No.  "Oh, you don't want to be kissed right now?" No. "Okay, maybe later."

Okay maybe I'm only fantasizing that this would be any simpler for us.  I won't know until we try.  Now, how to explain any of this without actually having to have a conversation about it and feel even more exposed and violated by having to explain it to another person face to face??   Hopefully he'll happen upon this entry I put up on the internet like a huge fucking coward.  Which I doubt because he already doesn't read this blog.

Back to the futon for me.


*Mr. Laplain, NOT his real name either, and I are not yet married. We are engaged.  Due to the many intimacy issues I've been displaying in recent months, the setting of a final wedding date has been postponed indefinitely.

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