Diving into Outer Space: a tale of reclaiming (tw: csa)

For those of you who don’t really know me, I’m a geek in many ways.

Also for those who don’t know, I was molested by my stepfather from about six months after his marriage to my mother, until I was sixteen. That experience soured a metric fuckton of other experiences, for me, spoiled a lot of things I once enjoyed, or might one day come to enjoy. Those things ran the gamut, from sex to certain books, from television shows to relationships.

I’ve done so much work, extremely difficult work, over the last twenty years, to overcome all those insidious little landmines. To overcome the shame I felt around sex, in general, and the somewhat contradictory but ever-present feeling that I was only worthy as a sex object. To finally lay claim to my own sexuality, and my enjoyment of sex, while understanding that I had value, as a person, without it. To not feel afraid of every touch, to be able to be assertive, to communicate my needs. Hell, to communicate at all, outside passive-aggressive co-dependence. Simply learning enough to understand what was done to me, what was taken from me, and why so many of the effects lingered on for so long, in such weird ways, has been and remains the work of a lifetime.

I haven’t moved beyond all the triggers, yet. I imagine there are some that may never go away. I experience the fight-or-flight instinct, whenever I hear someone pronounce the word wash as “worsch.” Every muscle in my body tenses up, and the hair on the back of my neck stands up, whenever I hear anyone whistling an actual tune, especially if they do those little vibrato trills. The sight of an L. Ron Hubbard book can make me vomit. I am actually less comfortable in a crop top than I am naked. I think of him Every. Single. Time. I walk into a shopping mall.

And I get very uncomfortable at just the thought of watching what was once one of my favorite television shows, Star Trek: The Next Generation. See, he used to call me into his room to watch reruns. He’d harass me ceaselessly, if I refused. After a while, I stopped sitting on the bed, because I couldn’t get far enough away from him. Instead, I started sitting on the cold hardwood floor at the foot of the bed, between the bed and the TV, where I could see enough of his reflection to be able to tell if he was making a move towards me. Still, though, he managed to make scars that stick around, even now. He’d start a conversation, during which he’d get me to turn around and look at him, to mimic a facial expression, or show me a distance with his hands. Sometimes, that’s all it was. Usually until I’d let my guard down, and stopped expecting badness. Then, he’d get me to turn and look at him, and he’d have the leg of his shorts hiked up far enough to have his penis hanging out. It was the first naked penis I’d seen, aside from changing diapers when I was babysitting. It terrified me.

See, I knew next to nothing about sex. What I knew was rumor and gossip from the girls’ locker room, and all of it was at least misleading. Whatever boys did with those…things… I didn’t want any part of it, if they looked like that.

Once I figured out what the sex thing was all about, in the midst of his years-long campaign of touching me, exposing himself, trying to catch me naked, offering me money for sex acts, and just generally harassing me, I became afraid he was going to rape me. I didn’t want to lose my virginity to him, so I found some boy who seemed nice enough, and gave it to him, by choice. Just so it could be mine. I was fourteen. All of this was inextricably tied to TNG.

But it was a wonderful show, and I miss it. Maybe that’s silly, but there’s this defiant piece of whatever it is that makes me, me, which refuses to let him forever ruin something that I once found so enjoyable. I’ve reclaimed so many other things, battled to the death of so many other triggers, but he still has this stupid, mostly meaningless power over me, the power to soil some part of my present, with what he did in my past.

I’m not okay with that.

So, tonight, thanks to the wonders of wifi and Netflix, I’m going to start reclaiming my Captain Picard and Commander Riker, my Data and Geordi LaForge. I’m going to try to rediscover my innocent adolescent crushes on Wesley Crusher and Deanna Troi, Lieutenant Yar and Captain Picard, himself.

What? I told you I was a geek.

I guess I’m off, to boldly go. Wish me luck.

enterprise

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9 thoughts on “Diving into Outer Space: a tale of reclaiming (tw: csa)

  1. Mine started trying to molest me when I started kindergarten at 4 years old!
    Eventually, since my body did not mature fast enough for him, he tried widening the opening of my vagina with a knife. He was trained in the care of cattle, so he knew how to hide the abuse from my mother with medicines for cattle injuries.
    He gave me a few weeks to heal back up, then started to sodomize me analy! Not a good feeling. My body started having menstral cycles when I was around 11 years old. That cued him to start raping me. Tried telling my mom what waas going on, but she didn’t believe me.
    When I started 7th grade, he kept trying to get my mom to take me to the doctors to get me put on the pill. I refused to consider it. He could continue bying condoms or stop raping me! Running away from home was not an option, since we lived in the middle of nowhere southern IL.
    Tried to commit suicide once, but the hired hand interupted me as I was pouring a cup of acid wash to use to force the soap I was going to eat down my throat. So, had to devise a new plan to escape from hell.
    Got a scholarship to a college in another state hours away fro where we lived. Moved to Missouri and did not look back. Met and married a man who continues to help me get over my past.
    I too am a geek, Data was my favorite character from TNG. Like his confusion over human emotions. Am too much like the character. Never can figure out what others are feeling.

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  2. inadvertentfeminist says:

    TRIGGER WARNING FOR THE COMMENTS SECTION:

    I will share your story, here, if you wish. You may share in a comment, or by e-mailing them to me at inadvertent_feminist@yahoo.com. Our voices are too often silenced. I have no problem amplifying yours. Please, though, if you’re a survivor, please don’t wade into the comments unless you’re prepared for the content.

    Also, please, while supporting one another, let’s not contribute to tearing one another, or ourselves, even further apart. We’re not here to compare our suffering to the suffering of other people, as if this were the abuse olympics. There are no medals, here. What I went through is no better or worse, more or less fortunate, more or less horrible, than what any number of you may have gone through, which is no more/less than what someone else who’s been a victim will go through. Please don’t make this a competition; we’ve all been through enough, already, without feeling like our story has to be “sufficiently bad” to be given a platform.

    Support one another. Encourage one another. Be good to each other.

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. (Un)Fettered says:

    Good luck. Though my step-father didn’t sexually abuse me, he did abuse me, and my love of Star Trek was similarly soiled for a very long time. I’ve worked at reclaiming it. I hope you can, too.

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    • inadvertentfeminist says:

      Thank you. I’m so sorry your stepfather abused you, in any way. Regardless of what kind of abuse it was, that takes things away, good things, happy things, and leaves unwanted and unwelcome residual badness in their place.

      And that wasn’t your fault, either.

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