A few posts ago I put up a drawing I did that exemplified shame: nude woman, hiding herself, and collapsing inward into herself with exasperation. This sketch I made, again of a nude young female, again hiding herself, has a very different feel for me. She exemplifies timidity. She represents a part of myself that is awkward and shy with my body and sexuality. She is innocent in her self consciousness. I find it ironic , given my personal history that includes periods of wild promiscuity that this figure resonates within me so much, but she does. Experience has shown me that when my art manifest certain images that hold a charge for me, I have something to learn and often something to reclaim and incorporate into my self. So, I allowed myself to contemplate her and will cater to her concerns so that I can heal the wounded young woman that was pushed into sexual activity at too young an age.
So many times in my life I was thrust onto a fast track of sexual activity. From childhood incest, to teen seductions to street life, I grew a hard outer shell that was all bravado. Inside I was terrified. And ignorant. So ignorant, that I did not understand I was terrified. I distanced myself from my fear and self consciousness with drugs, food binges and role playing. I adopted rigid sexual stereotypes and betrayed my body over and over, not to mention my heart.
As a young woman in my early twenties, I turned my back on the world of physical intimacy with men. I had reached a threshold of abuse, trauma,and objectification. I decided I would become gay and never allow another man access to my body. I was shell shocked by the experiences with men up to that point in my life and I was jumping train. I was also politically active at this time so this new lifestyle suited my political awareness and I embraced lesbian and gay politics.
I do not regret this period in my life. (I now identify as bisexual/queer and have a male lover) But the awkward and timid young girl of this drawing came along with me and hobbled my attempts to become an independent woman, in charge of her woman-only sexuality. Sure, she was not as preyed upon in the new sexual world I made for myself, but she was still injured and unhealed. In hindsight, I see that I had abandoned certain parts of my body in my early sexual abuse, and I was not able to fully share with any lover, male or female, that which I did not have access to.
You see, for most of my life, I suffered from what i called my “frozen pelvis’. I was numbed out and apathetic to my clitoris. I believe this came about as a result of the forced clitoral stimulation (both manually and orally) by my incestuous grandfather at very young ages. I remember staring at the celling or wall during the abuse and disowning my young girl sexual body. I felt nothing when he was doing it, or rather that is how I have chosen to remain remembering it. It was frozen and It never thawed out until I began incest healing work as an adult. I worried I was defective, broken.
I also channeled much of the traumas of my objectification and sexual abuses into a hard core SM (sadomasochism). I played hard and had few boundaries. Now , I do not think everyone who eschews clitoral stimulation or enjoys SM is living abuse effects, but for me, that was the case back then.
Today, I am in a different place. I can now enjoy clitoral stimulation with a lover. It was hard won; and took patience and understanding. I still feel so very vulnerable for anyone to make love to me that way. But I have chosen to make it special and celebrate it. Also, if I choose to go back to playing with safe, sane, and consensual SM, that will be something i will do with boundaries and internal safety. I am no longer settling for a sex life deformed by the scars of my past. I want a sexual life that celebrates my body and fosters true intimacy on all levels.
Sometimes i get sad that I am a late bloomer in respect to enjoying my body fully;but I am choosing to look at it differently. A therapist once told me that I could reexperience the innocence that was robbed of me as a child now as an adult by choosing to experience things that scare me, make me nervous, etc. To reframe nerves and butterflies as innocence, and that is ageless. So the nerves that come along with accepting my body as it is, my desires as they are, is actually a type of innocence I get to experience now, So yes, I can still feel timid and shy like the young woman in this drawing. And I get to find a lover who will be safe in showing that to.