Sunday, 1 March 2015
Shame in Memory ... an Enigma Sometimes
Many 'equalists' ... myself included can have a real moral conundrum on their hands when it comes to activities normally belonging inside the bedroom. I think that too often growing up, I confused the meanings of so many words: feminist, heterosexual, homosexual, sexual deviant. As a young pre-teen, my bestie and I had a whole list of things we'd NEVER do. Drugs, in the most utterly vague of terms, were on that list, as was oral sex. But those times were ever-changing and it only mattered at times whom your friends were, in order to alter your views and your vows.
In grade six, bestie and I were sure we'd always be good girls. That was clearly before the hormones came. Then very quickly, grade 7 saw us placed in the same class, the same circle, the same desires as those girls who were in that one grade ahead. Grade 8 ... where hormones come to change everything you thought you knew was real about yourself.
I was thinking the other day about my early sexual experiences. I'm not talking about losing or finding virginity~whatever that means. I'm talking about when I realized that experimenting and practicing had nothing to do with boys at all. For me, it just happened ... I didn't really have a choice ... the girl with the cherry lip balm picked me.
I have to admit something. I felt shame over this. And I have never allowed myself to see it as it really was ... until now. When the memory bubbled up to the surface of my shabby grey matter yesterday, I tried so hard to see it differently. I wanted to see it as sexy experimentation. And that is what it was, but it was hidden ... in the basement ... from everyone but we four.
So when I was about twelve, bestie and I were invited for a sleepover with two other girls who were in the grade above us. The one girl was always more girly than we, she was so boy crazy that it seemed crazy! So in the basement of her parents' home, with all of our hormones awakening and raging, we played make out.
The shame came months later when one of the other girls told the entire class that I made out with that other girl. Suddenly the shame I didn't really know I had, started to rot and discolour like an apple slice exposed to the air. It was one of those situations where I looked at that other girl thinking, "So did you!". But saying that would admit my actions, would open a spot for that shame to sit itself in. I recall brushing the accusations off and changing the subject successfully. Now I see that the shame in it all, was not that it happened, but more so that it happened only once and as a practice rather than simply another normal way of learning about my own body, my own desires, and my own sexuality ... with another girl. I literally had to break out of my mind to see this for what it was. That night and our kissing was so wrapped up in shameand I had shoved it so far in the vault, that it had changed shape over the years into something that it wasn't.
Is shame enigmatic? Does it change shape and viscosity? And if so, does that mean we can also change it for the better? Can we effectively change a stinky shameful memory, into a sweet smelling rose?
When I finally "lost" my virginity ... haha I gotta laugh every time I read and/or write that. I mean, where did it go? Has it ever been found? Is there any clues as to where I lost it? Bread crumb trail anywhere anywhere? The terminology we use is effective ... it just effects the wrong things sometimes. But I digress. When I finally had sexual intercourse with a boy, it not only hurt like a son-of-a-bitch, but it was so much less than what I expected! Talk about your false advertising!! Was that supposed to feel good? Ouch! And all of that preparation. I mean, I had a box of condoms and a spermicidal sponge hidden under my super-single waterbed for so long that I think I forgot about them. (I eventually gifted that spermie-sponge to a much younger friend who was at her own experimenting stage in life.)
So the timing of this blog post is suddenly not lost on me. The Ontario Government has recently opened debate on how, when, and if they teach sexual education in schools starting as early as grade one. They want to educate our children about their bodies. Only good can come of this. Statistics show that when young children are taught what their body parts are for, they are less likely to be sexually abused.
Their body; their rights ... right?!
To sum it up, it seems like I'm saying that pubescent girls need more girl on girl, and less marginalization. Well, that's perhaps one message to gather here :) but really I wish I could go back and re-memorize that memory, re-categorize it somehow. If I could I'd wrap that memory up in a 14 carat gold lined gift bag, topped with a big beautiful ribbon. I wonder if it would have changed me, how I saw me, and how I treated me growing up. I mean, I didn't always give myself all of the respect I deserved.
I wonder, did my lack of self-respect start in that basement with that shame?