Finally, after twenty years, I have a nude posted without my consent on an Asian fetish site. I am surprised that it took this long, considering that I have littered the Internet with all sorts of sexual nonsense. I am not, however, hurt or offended nor do I feel violated. I have personally made peace with the Internet, and what I release I assume will be consumed without my input or consent.
But that attitude comes from a lifetime of violations.
Through child abuse I learned that my body and mind and purpose are not my own. Lacking healthy boundaries, I wandered into abusive relationships where I believed that I had to be good for my partner. I have been exoticized since I was a child and either punished for not fulfilling fantasies or assumed to be happy correcting misinformed misconceptions. Brain damage took away much of my personal agency. Then people I trusted insisted that I had no right to my thoughts or feelings because of my condition.
You have to understand: This is my life.
Still, I feel safe because I am lucky enough to have the right people at the right times in the right places to give me a healthy support network. I am incredibly lucky to have my social space be my safe space. Though I have quietly removed people from my life, the number of violators is still very small.
I feel safe today, but I have lived the years of having people continuously righteously wrongly tell me how I shouldn’t speak, that I have no right to voice my thoughts, that I need to listen to other people tell me about my life. I understand, deeply, what it is like to be silenced. Others are understanding, generally, when I present my story, but I know that some aren’t as willing to listen to those who aren’t as lucky, who have been through so much more, who talk about their lives rightfully with fear, anger, and disappointment. Let me tell you this: Their stories should be heard, too. When you tell someone that they need more perspective on other people violating physical, emotional, and cultural boundaries, you are adding to that violating experience by not listening.
So, listen. Some tell their stories with anger. Others are filled with sadness. Me, I weave inside my narrative a tired resignation. But behind all these stories is one simple message: This is my life, and look at how it has happened again.