the heterosexuality abyss

One thing about dating a man that I was unprepared for was the fact that you’re not just a girlfriend to the man you’re dating.

No, you’re never just the girlfriend. You’re also his mommy, his servant, his jester, his therapist, his cook, and his ass-wiper all rolled into one. Men are not capable of taking care of themselves. They can’t feed themselves, their clothes are perpetually dirty because they don’t know how to wash them, and their asses are disgusting because they can’t properly wipe. Men cry out for you when they need something, whether that’s a clean pair of underwear or a nipple in their mouth so they’ll be quiet. I am constantly astonished at how helpless they are.

Men love to talk about how self-sustaining they are, but they can’t even shop for groceries like a real fucking adult would. Their mommies treat them like the babies they are up until they end up in a coffin. Men don’t know how to be real adults – they whine and shit themselves all the way through life and no one blinks an eye because it’s perfectly acceptable in this society. And who is affected the most by all of this? Women and girls. Young girls are groomed to be mommies, to take care of the men and boys in their lives, and to fulfill this role until they’re old women. Young women get into relationships with men who don’t see them as equals – rather, they see them as a shadow of the woman who raised them and who will clean up after their shit with the added benefit of sucking their dick, too. Time and time again, men get what they want out of romantic partners and as always, the woman is used up and discarded when her services are no longer needed.

you, me, and pornography

It’s the end of April and I’ve found myself at a turning point in my life. It’s a turning point that I felt was coming but didn’t want to acknowledge. Now, it’s blown up in my face and I have no choice but to face reality.

At the time of writing this, the United States has over a million cases of COVID-19. It’s been scary the last three months but I’ve felt safe staying at home, doing my online classes, and trying to keep it all together. I think I’ve been really successful so far. Unfortunately, I thought COVID-19 had been my biggest problem this year – it’s not.

On April 19th, I discovered that my significant other had a collection of pornographic material that he had created a long time ago and was holding onto. The material showed previous sexual partners and everything was organized into folders. There was even a folder for me which was made at the start of our relationship. Then I discovered that nearly a year ago, while we were dating, my significant other joined a forum where individuals shared pornographic material of their own significant others. Luckily, there were no pictures of myself shared but my boyfriend had frequently logged into this forum and looked at sexual pictures while I was blissfully unaware.

On April 19th, my boyfriend vowed to delete every piece of pornographic material that he had collected in the past. He apologized. He slept on the floor when I showed how upset I was. I watched him as he deleted everything he had on cloud storage, his computer, and his old phones that he didn’t use anymore. He showed me that he had nothing left. He told me that he rarely went on the online forum and that it was a dumb website. Luckily for me, I knew the username that he used on the forum and when I searched his name, I could see his recent activity. I noticed that he had been logging in about once a week. A couple of weeks ago, it was my birthday and when I checked to see if he had been online, sure enough he had. He went on the forum, on my birthday, and looked at pictures of naked strangers. My heart has never sank so quickly before.

The purpose of this blog post is to identify a problem that I’ve refused to acknowledge – a problem that affects me (and many others in a committed relationship) greatly. That problem is pornography. I thought my relationship with my boyfriend had been going great, as many girlfriends probably do, but the curtain has been stripped away before my very eyes. I’ve felt such a wide range of emotions this past month: shock, disgust, depression, fury, confusion, fear, apprehension, and most of all – clarity.

Last night, while lying in bed next to my boyfriend, I attempted a gentle confrontation. I’m the type of person that’s direct – if I know there’s an issue, I want to get to the bottom of it. I want to talk about the problem, understand everything about it, and think of why it’s happening. I asked my boyfriend something to the effect of, “Do you think – maybe – that having a porn addiction is something you’re facing?”

The response he gave me probably sounds like the next part of a movie script where you already know what’s going to happen and you wish you could go home because the movie is long, boring, and predictable. He told me, “No, that’s not a problem I have. Have you thought that maybe this is something that you’ve created in your own head?”

So, on top of finding out that my relationship is marked by porn addiction, I’m being gaslit by my own boyfriend now? After growing up in a dysfunctional family where gaslighting was the norm, I know how to spot this tactic. But I never thought I would hear those words coming out of my boyfriend’s mouth – that maybe I’m making up everything I’ve seen with my own goddamn eyes! This is how quickly gaslighting can appear out of nowhere. I’m grateful that I know what to look for because of my own past experience, but I’m also shocked that it’s happening again in a relationship that I felt safe in.

I told my boyfriend that no, I didn’t think I was making this up in my own head because I saw the evidence with my own eyes. He went to sleep and that was the end of that conversation. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking the past few days, a lot of reading, and I’m torn. One half of me is saying that my boyfriend is a porn addict but doesn’t see himself as having a porn addiction which makes him ‘not the bad guy’ – and the other half of me is saying that he knows exactly what he’s doing and now that he knows all of this hurts me, he doesn’t care and continues to do it. I’m leaving a lot of things out but that’s essentially the gist of everything.

I am an anti-porn radical feminist, I’ve been anti-porn since before I started dating my boyfriend, and I told him this. I told him that I didn’t like or want him to watch porn, I viewed it as cheating, and it hurt me. But he continued to have a collection of pornographic material, go on porn forums, and go on pornographic websites all behind my back. He masturbated to strangers, people who aren’t me, and felt lust for bodies that aren’t mine. All the while I was loving him with every fiber of my physical and emotional being.

I’m at a crossroads here where I love this man, I thought he was better than everything that comes with being a porn addict, but I was unaware. I don’t want to say I was ignorant because I knew this was a very real possibility. I was unaware of how deep the problem was. I was unaware of the things actually happening behind my back. I was unaware of how much trust I placed in my boyfriend, in the certainty that he loved me the same way that I loved him.

I believe individuals can stop being porn addicts and I believe that a relationship can be completely free of pornography. Pornography destroys everything; it’s a hidden problem that we can’t talk about because the person getting off to porn thinks it’s okay while their partner stays silent in part because of the fear of losing their significant other if they talk about how the porn addiction is making them feel. Well, I’m going to keep talking about how this is making me feel because it’s completely ruining me. I want to save my relationship and I want to love a person who loves me the same way that I love them.

“Any violation of a woman’s body can become sex for men; this is the essential truth of pornography.” ― Andrea Dworkin

staying inside while the world is ending

The United States now has the most number of COVID-19 cases in the world, more than both Italy and China. Today, there are over 120,000 confirmed cases. Italy has around 92,000 confirmed cases and for China – around 81,000. I’m starting to get a little worried about the state of things now that the virus still doesn’t seem to be a top priority for Trump. Trump hasn’t treated this virus as an issue since Day 1 and now, we’re all paying for it. I’ve been hunkered down at home, completing my online classes and eating too much of the food that’s supposed to last me two weeks. I’ve never really found myself in a situation like this during my lifetime. It’s proving to be a real challenge, especially when you’re stuck at home with your boyfriend who likes to stay up until 2AM while playing video games. I might be a little bit tired today.

I’ve been trying really hard to wake up at a decent time and do yoga, eat healthy meals, and pretty much keep my mind and body occupied in healthy ways. My period started about four days ago so it was nice to feel like something was normal amidst all of this craziness. I am dreading my next trip to the grocery store because the last time I went (about two days ago), so many people were getting close to me and acting like we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic. I made the mistake of checking out in a normal lane and had to watch in horror as two people touched and bagged my handful of groceries. I really could have just went in the self-checkout lane and avoided a spike in my ‘getting-infected’ anxiety. The state I live in had an increase of about 70% confirmed COVID-19 cases in ONE day. Needless to say, I am getting very worried. Worried, but not freaking out yet. Next time I’m at the grocery store, I will definitely be using the self-checkout lane.

Let’s talk about something that isn’t particularly scary. The other day, I was reading about Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and how they found remnants of his aircraft in 2000. The Little Prince was, and continues to be, one of my favorite books and growing up I had no idea that Saint-Exupéry disappeared at sea. I didn’t even know that The Little Prince was partially based on his experience of crashing in the Libyan desert and being stranded for four days in the dreadful heat and sun. I started thinking about what he must have felt like, flying over the Mediterranean on that trip in 1944 that was destined to be his last. When his airplane crashed, for whatever reason, was he thinking about his wife? How to survive? How to face the inevitable unknown?

He was only 44 when he disappeared. I think vanishing at sea is one of the worst ways to go. You’re out there over the ocean, surrounded by nothing but dark water, accompanied by only your thoughts. Saint-Exupéry must have been scared when the plane was going down. I can’t imagine what those last moments were like.

“What he had yearned to embrace was not the flesh but a down spirit, a spark, the impalpable angel that inhabits the flesh.”
― Antoine de Saint Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars

a short reflection on female anger

Featured Image: Laura Palmer in the television show Twin Peaks

We have now surpassed 200,000 global cases of COVID-19 as of today. How am I coping with everything, you ask? Well, I guess it’s a good thing that I was already holed up in my apartment about three months before we found ourselves in a global pandemic. I know I should be freaking out more about this but honestly, I’m kind of glad I have an excuse to stay inside and not go anywhere. Now, what I am freaking out about is if I’ll be able to go to the grocery store without getting sick…I don’t know the logistics of how long Coronavirus might stay on a box of pasta but my mind is thinking of all the worst case scenarios. Can I get the virus if I touch the same gas pump as someone who’s sick? What if I grab a frozen pizza that was made by someone who was forced to go to work while sick because they need to pay their bills? Did the virus cells remain on the pizza and get frozen, only to become alive again once I toss that yummy looking pizza in the oven? Maybe I’m thinking too much.

I don’t have any pre-existing health conditions (besides being fat) that might make me more vulnerable to COVID-19 but still, I don’t want to get sick and I don’t want to unknowingly spread it to someone who won’t survive it. I’m not optimistic concerning how many Americans are actually practicing social distancing and staying home based off how many people I’m seeing out and about from my kitchen window; this is in addition to the increased numbers of infected people I see when I check Twitter in the morning. I feel as if Americans, especially die-hard conservatives and those who don’t care, are living their lives as usual. Young adults are spring-breaking, people celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, and airports are unnervingly packed. I think things are going to be much worse by next week.

With all of that said, I wanted to touch on an article that I came across that talked about a trauma response called fawning. I really liked this article because it made me realize how much I fawn in my personal life as a result of growing up in a dysfunctional home. Basically, fawning means that you try to keep relationships as happy and ‘normal’ as possible at the expense of your authentic self. Fawning usually stems from a dysfunctional upbringing where nothing was normal, no one was happy, and the ‘fawner’ in question had to respond to this trauma by attempting to placate everything. Fawning can happen even in normal relationships and scenarios because the traumatized person doesn’t know how to react healthily.

One manifestation of fawning is that the fawner feels guilty when they’re angry at other people. This one really struck me square in the chest because growing up in a dysfunctional home, I was not allowed to be angry. Ever. My parents never explicitly said “Hey, you’re not allowed to be angry!” but it was very much implied by their actions. It was implied that I should stuff my emotions deep down, be quiet, and never show any emotion that would reflect badly on my parents. Being female added fuel to this fire as little girls are expected to be quiet, pleasing, and fun to be around. Have you ever seen a little girl having a fit of rage for whatever reason? Her mother, and sometimes her father, shut that shit down so quick because little girls are not supposed to show anger. It’s inappropriate. Anger is incompatible with female gender roles in modern society. Little girls should never show anger because it’s inappropriate and grown women shouldn’t be angry because it’s unattractive. Different reasons exist here but the idea is all the same – female anger is unacceptable.

When you grow up not having your anger acknowledged for whatever reason or having your anger suppressed, you internalize shame right along with your quieted anger. Shame and anger are suddenly compatible, resting besides each other somewhere in your chest. And when you become a grown adult, and your dysfunctional parents want to talk to you on the phone because they miss you and want to see how you’re doing, you feel that shame/anger flare up in your chest. You’re angry because how could your parents act like they care about you when in reality they ruined your childhood and refuse to even acknowledge that? Then – this is where the shame enters. You feel guilty being so angry at your parents; after all, they managed to raise you into an adult and you owe them a conversation after all they’ve done for you. Right?

The fawner is left feeling ashamed at the anger that has materialized from within themselves. Shame is extremely powerful at subduing anger; I’m not entirely sure why. But this part of the article stuck with me the most because I have felt, and continue to feel, extreme shame alongside the anger I have towards many things in life. I’m sure many women and trauma survivors experience the same feeling. We know where this trauma response stems from but I think it needs to be noted that this response is also innately female. We talk a lot about trauma in general but not the trauma that comes with growing up as a girl. And there are little to no resources for these little girls who grow up to be adult women and don’t know how to recognize their anger, process it, or come to the understanding that their anger is vital. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be angry at other people (within reason of course), your parents, or towards anything else that has failed you. There are compelling forces at work trying to eradicate female anger; we can’t let this happen. Little girls need to be angry. Women need to be angry so that they can heal from the trauma that the world has placed upon them and become their authentic selves.

baby's first blog post (and pandemic)

Featured Image: World Health Organization

How exciting to be creating my very first blog post while in the middle of a global pandemic! If you’ve been living underneath a rock for the past month, much like Jared Leto, the world is currently facing the imminent spread of COVID-19, or Coronavirus. It originated from Wuhan, China and has now spread to major countries everywhere. As of today, over 31,000 citizens in Italy have been infected and the death toll has passed 2,500. In the United States, there are many cases sprouting up in cities like New York and Seattle. The state I live in has had a handful of cases so far – but I’m not taking any chances.

U.S. citizens have been advised to engage in ‘self-distancing’ or keeping ourselves away from large groups, individuals who are elderly, or those who are immunocompromised. I left the house yesterday evening to risk going to the store for a handful of groceries before holing myself up for the next two weeks. It was like I walked into Season 1 of The Walking Dead. Moms were scrambling everywhere and grabbing anything they could while towing their kids around. Old people were driving around in small carts and dodging other old people. Dads were buying all of the beer. There were no more eggs, milk, or toilet paper. In the midst of all this craziness, I found myself standing alone in the organic aisle because even in a pandemic, Midwesterners won’t touch tofu or probiotic drinks. This was alright with me because I like these things. But, it made me wonder how everyone else could possibly survive solely on potato chips and macaroni and cheese.

So we’re in the first week of ‘social distancing’ and the cases of COVID-19 here in America are supposed to increase significantly in the next few weeks. Every morning I’ve been reading Twitter and keeping up with what’s going on while trying to ration the amount of orange juice I’m drinking. It’s not easy. I know I have enough food to keep me going but I do wonder when things will go back to ‘normal’ again. But then I think about how nothing has really been normal and this pandemic has exposed everything that’s been wrong with our society. Low wage workers are still having to go to work because if they can’t go to work they can’t afford their rent, Americans are still going out in large crowds despite warnings, and people are buying truckloads of toilet paper so they can try to sell it and make a profit.

I really hate this country sometimes.