Balancing the broken parts

I compartmentalise. A lot. A vestige from childhood – little girls learn early and often that intelligence gets you nowhere if you exhibit it; have it by all means, but never ever show it. A vestige of trauma – disassociation, the protective shell of lies one weaves when one pretends everything is okay, and still and forevermore the knowledge that it does change how people see me and treat me and think of me. A vestige of being an outsider, no matter where I am, I guess is what it comes down to.

Which means a startling amount of loneliness, I’ve realised. So few people know me across the board, know this side of me and know the real me and all those messy, broken little parts, and love me for them or in spite of them or alongside them. And I cling to those people like a vine.

Acceptance is the headiest of drugs.

God, I fucking miss it too, when it’s gone. The answer, as always, is to be more honest and open with people but with the absence comes pain too. So the balance comes; who to be open with, who to shy away from, and how to deal when friendships lay dead at your feet.

I don’t subscribe to the idea that dreams, and their symbols, contain something more than narrative heft, but that narrative heft comes from somewhere. I write to make sense of a world that is sometimes too big, too harsh, too hard to understand, and dreams sometimes come from that same space where I can find peace in the scrawl of ink, the shapes of pixels.And so that dream I had, feels weighty. I dreamed last night, of another friend, and an immaculate scrapbook detailing her rape. The flowers and the vintage polka dots and the cute, well-rounded swirls of her handwriting, with words I’d hoped to never have to read (but know I do, over and over, because if I can’t bear witness to another, it makes that loneliness worse). Those memories of being tainted, being less than, being rejected and pushed away for something you had no control over.

And now, choosing to do this, to write what I write while I am also the person I am? That every time I tell somebody what I do, I wonder how they will react. Are they going to assume it means I want to hear about their dicks, or their sex lives? Will they assume I am doing it for my own gratification? (…not always) Are they going to intrude upon my boundaries? So I just…don’t, usually. I don’t ever want to deal with those things (again) and I don’t want to watch relationships fail, because I tried. If they know about the trauma, are they going to use that against me? It makes sense to me – obviously – but others seem to struggle.

So, it’s another part of me I don’t talk about. I’m published, with amazing authors, but I don’t talk about it. Except to a select few.

I don’t talk about my past. Except to a select few.

I don’t talk about a lot of things, even as I make a whole lot of conversational noise. Except to a select few.

And so I cling to all my broken, shattered parts, and I cling to the people who fit alongside those parts like they were always meant to be there, and try to cling to some sort of faith that things will be okay. With battered ripped nails and bleeding fingers I cling, but at least the faith is there right?

out of practice

I’ve been out of the loop for a little while. I described it to one of my editors as ‘life hit, hard’. Between one thing and another I haven’t had the time, or the energy, to do much more than the work that puts a roof over my head (as opposed to the work that puts a damp patch between my thighs).

One of the things that turned up just before I went radio silent was this, from Oleander Plume. It was sort of serendipitous, in that one of my reasons for going dark was a reoccurence of my own PTSD symptoms, but also because I’d been explaining to my therapist about being an erotica author who was sobbing on the couch because sometimes unexpected sexual innuendo is triggering.

It seems to be something that other erotica authors get, but not all that many others.

I write porn, I write the things I write, because of the demons of my memory. Because the more I write, the less those memories can do to ambush me. What I write is the safest space of all, just me and my page, and nothing happens there without my consent. Sure, I have a great partner but he is not a mind-reader, he can sometimes, still, more than a decade in, stumble and then I’m shivering in fear on the edge of our bed wondering how I got there. I have gret friends but sometimes there’s a combination of words that makes the bile rise in my throat and my vision narrow to a point. The page though? With my hands on the keyboard?

That’s the safest space there is.

I’m resurfacing, slowly, trying to mend all the damage I did when I went under, but the blank page doesn’t even need that. I can just start up again without a problem.