Sunday, March 9, 2014

One Year After the Scary Party: Better, Stronger, Still Pissed

You can read the Scary Party story here.

It’s funny that the only place it felt safe to sit and write this in my notebook was the Whole Foods where Sweetie and I had some of our last dates. I guess it makes a certain amount of sense to process trauma in the same place where I get my hopefully-less-cruel meats.

Ever since the ads started popping up around town for the local horticulture society’s annual flower show, the one I made Sweetie miss last year because I was too upset from the Scary Party (I still wish I could make it up to her somehow) I’ve been thinking about how I can piece that story together with everything that’s happened since.

I never forgave them, but I’ve accepted the fact that somewhere in the city, every second Saturday of the month, there’s an event where the head of security is a predator, where the entire team leapt to defend him and trash me because I was an outsider and a submissive who dared to want a say, where the mean kids happily have their nastiness rewarded with popularity and love. Basically, it’s high school with more interesting outfits and better-organized bullying.

I’ve always believed, entirely too much actually, that if I’m not part of the solution then I’m part of the problem. (This is how a desire to fight racism led me to a job in an inner-city school that frequently saps my strength and my soul. Not ever sure it’s the best strategy.) but I no longer feel guilty that I wasn’t able to change the corruption of the Scary Party, that they’re still walking around seeing outsiders as prey, seeing the players as their own personal buffet no matter what compromising position they’re in. It does make me angry that people I considered friends still attend and love the Scary party and what makes me EXTRA mad is that I couldn’t find a way to compromise with it, settle for it, make it all into a good time somehow. I feel that way about a lot of the things I’m leaving behind—I envy the women who have figured out how to be the right nothing to turn all of that pain into something fun and good. I couldn’t. For all that I know it’s a bad place, there’s still the primal sadness of being left out.

At the time, when everybody was slut-shaming and victim-blaming me on all those threads, I told myself that I kept one woman from going through what I went through, it would have been worth it. I didn’t find out until August, but one lovely friend of mine did see what I wrote and decided to opt out of that party. She’s very pretty and nice and I’m glad if I might have spared her some ugliness and fear.

On the other hand, trying to exact change at one party, keeping one nice girl away, seems almost pointless when the overall problem is so pernicious, both to me and out in the world at large.

Since the Bad Thing in high school, I don’t know how to approach any group of people without deep fear and mistrust, and I also don’t know how to stop loving people who are terrifying and untrustworthy, seemingly as a way to prove and re-prove my suspicions about the world. The Scary Party was a particularly vivid and irresponsible reenactment of the Bad Thing, and I know I keep acting it out as an attempt to fix it. Right now it’s sometimes hard to see the difference between working it out in therapy and the various re-traumas I’ve walked into, except that I’m facing all the fears with pants on, and with someone I know and trust very well. Hopefully that will make all the difference and I’ll see an end to this cycle before too long.

Since I began my adventures a couple of years ago, I’ve always wondered if BDSM was just a prettier and more quasi-empowered form of rape culture, and the answer is (SOMETIMES) emphatically yes. I HATED it when Sweetie would equate D/s to sexism and oppression and (given an actual, humanized power exchange) it doesn’t have to be. But just as with poly or with anything really, the stories we tell ourselves about what we’re doing, about negotiation and respect and mutual fulfillment, are not aligned with what is actually happening most of the time.

What upsets me the most about our local BDSM culture is how much horribleness people are willing to accept or just dismiss as “drama.” Last week I found out that a friend who hosted one of my favorite party series has a girlfriend who is on the Megan’s Law registry for child pornography. Child pornography! and the guy apparently feels fine about having her in his house. And I thought snuggling with an accused rapist was a big risk. It is absolutely both crazy and unsurprising in a community wherein people regularly engage in adult/child roleplay and men so EASILY admit to rape fantasies. I came in accepting and open-minded, but let me just come out and say that BDSM seems to make people think they have license to just go ahead and act like complete fucking creeps. I think we all have dark parts of ourselves that are not meant to be nourished and expressed. Sorry Brene Brown, but yes, I think people need a little more shame sometimes.

Aside from the not-okayness of the Man and his cohort, the thing that still sticks with me, the humiliation that hurts the most, is how much I liked him, how much I was fooled into thinking he liked me, how much I wanted to please him, how I clung to him for comfort after he treated me with so much contempt, how I was willing to give him a chance to try again. That’s what kept the (stupid, ignorant, sexist) management from believing what happened and what almost kept me from walking out of the situation with even one shred of pride.

In the end, it’s not how much the Scary Party disregarded me as a human being or how much the local kinky internet community thought I deserved to get fucked over, it’s how much I must’ve thought I deserved it. He gave off an I-don’t-care-about-your-limits vibe from one of the very earliest text conversations and I still let him put handcuffs on me, and worse, I still let him into my heart. I’m so empty and lonely and self-hating that it seems I’ll let anyone in, and that’s the void I am finally trying to address, to heal.

Even if I have to leave behind the hope of being part of a kink community, (there’s no telling where I’ll end up after the Big Therapy Project) the fact remains that I still get a great deal of satisfaction from submitting and without someone to serve, I still feel a deep loss. I’m not sure how those urges will find expression, but I hope that they will become part of a whole, integrated person, not someone willing to throw herself under every bus of a guy that comes along.

The flower show is the perfect regret: I never again want to miss something beautiful, genuine, and fleeting because I’m broken by something essentially meaningless. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I do (almost always) know that I exist and hope that I will love myself someday and that I will find a way to be free.

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