We were lying there, post coitally, and he was talking about the pictures of me he’s seeing crop up on facebook, of when i was fifteen and really first starting to search for my identity, of when i was making friends with the people who are now my oldest and best friends, and he says to me, “you were the kind of girl i would have been intimidated to ask out. but then, i was intimidated to ask anyone out when i was fifteen.” and i laugh and say i would not have been aware even if you did ask me out, i didn’t become aware i was a girl with the ability to be attractive to the opposite sex until i was sixteen. he said, “why not? i thought you lost your virginity when you were sixteen? i didn’t lose mine till later.” i said, idk, i never was aware of my body at all, i’d walk around naked without thinking about it until i was eight, when i told my mom i was molested and she slapped me. she said it was my fault because i walk around naked.
he looked at me crooked and his voice dropped an octave and shifted in timbre: “who molested you? why would it be your fault?”
and i realized i’d just blurted out a thing that i don’t talk about and don’t think about but which has defined me and my development.
"it was one of my brother’s friends, down the street. i never liked him, he always intimidated me. but he and his cousin and baby sister lived with their grandmother and his baby sister had a barbie dream house. their house was kind of gross, like hoarders gross, but we were mostly unsupervised and while my brother hung out with them, i played with the barbie house with his little sister. one day he called me in the backyard and into a fort he’d built out of an appliance cardboard box, he wanted to show me something. so i went and i was scared and went home. that night i went up to my mother and told her what happened and she turned and slapped me so hard in the face. she said i was a slut and i needed to stop walking around the house naked there were too many boys around."
i didn’t tell him how the kid went to my elementary school with his cousin a couple of weeks later and screamed “VANESSA PLAYS WITH HERSELF” out the window of their car. or how i woke up with him staring at me through a window when i was older and i ran outside and hit him with a mop and he pushed me down and my brother beat my ass later that day for ‘fucking with his friends, who do you think you are shithead?’ i didn’t tell him how my mother didn’t speak to me for three days after i told her he touched me where he wasn’t supposed to; he already knew she’d screamed at me when i got my first period that she wasn’t raising any of my babies and to keep my legs shut. i didn’t tell him how often and brutally my brother beat me, hours at a time, or explain the scars i received from those beatings. i don’t think about those things much anymore, i like to think i’ve grown past them. idk if i have really though because i get terrified of rejection still. loud noises startle me and i stay defensive and ready to fight. i lose my shit when i’m trolled by misogynists. strangers on the internet trigger freefalling fear in me and i haven’t put those things together with my home life, ever, maybe. and i’d said it to him so matter of factly, like, oh, i never saw myself as an object of sex because my first encounter with anything sexual was presented to me against my will and with the scorn of my mother.