It was drizzling and cold, but I felt really alive. I ran anyway.
As I approached my local market a mundane thought came to me “It’s almost time for your annual PAP Smear.” What wasn’t mundane, was the overwhelming relief and joy this thought brought me.
When I realized I didn’t feel a pang of terror, I almost fell to my knees in overwhelming relief. Tears warmed my quivering cheeks. I was free.
My mother was severely abused as a child. Her stepfather raped her repeatedly until she was married off at 14. The darkest part about this story, was that her mother blamed her for being beautiful. For seducing her stepfather.
I know the feeling of being accused as a woman or a Jezebel. Pretty sure my mother used the term Jezebel. I was 9 years old.
It had been a tough year, but back then many of them were. I tried my best to bury myself in schoolwork and to prove my value and worth with straight A’s. At home, my mother was having another psychotic break. She was convinced that my father and I were having an affair under her nose. I was confused and terrified. I also didn’t really know what sex was.
I had to stand a trial in front of the Jehovah’s Witness elders, being asked all kinds of questions that made my throat tight and my stomach ice cold. They asked me all kinds of questions that felt really, really wrong.
In order for my father not to be arrested, I had to have a pelvic exam. My nine year old knees knocked together. I had no one to hold my hand or tell me everything was going to be okay. My mother waited with a look of hatred on her face “I know what you’re doing. It’s about to all come out.”
Once proven innocent, my father disappeared from my life. Not that he was really present before.
My mother would have spells of flashbacks and projections of her childhood, so I was not allowed to spend the night at peoples homes that had brothers or even be alone in the same room as my father.
I was ostracized at church and home never felt safe. I just had to hold out until I could be on my own.
Having my annual women’s checkup was a dark day each year. My opening would be so tense, that even with lubrication the speculum was white hot pain. I would cry, shake and sweat my way through it.
Years later, my sweet doctor in Dallas would have her nurse hold my hand the entire way through. Each time she’d pat my legs, speak gently to me, and be as quick as possible.
At 27, I was terrified of having a baby with my husband. Which was not logical, since we didn’t have sex. I made a decision to get an IUD and take control over my body as an adult. The nurse assured me that it was a painless procedure and I would be in and out in an hour. Except, those were under normal circumstances.
I was sweating profusely, my legs were shaking the entire table through the stirrups. After sharp and deep pains in my womb, I wept. Ugly tears, unladylike sounds. I laid on my side, and sobbed for 2 hours. The poor nurse held me as I shook and cried. They didn’t know what to do with me. I didn’t know what to do with me. I tried my best to piece myself back together. That day I thought I was mourning the first step of the end of my marriage. I had no idea that it was linked to years of held trauma from a scared 9 year old girl.
It never occurred to me that it wasn’t normal to panic at the idea of a pelvic exam. I also couldn’t engage in sex sober without having crippling anxiety. I had to first heal my body. I started a yoni egg practice the same time as my girlfriend.
While she was having incredible orgasms and doing tricks, I was in intense emotional pain and having flashbacks of trauma and bad experiences. I still didn’t realize that I had undergone extreme abuse and sexual agony. All I knew was that I didn’t love myself, but I had so much love in me.
I was holding so much anger for my father. He never protected me, he didn’t know me.
For so long I only saw myself as alone and broken. My father was never present, and then all of a sudden he wanted to hold my hand and show affection. I realized that it was after my marriage he finally felt safe enough to show me love. That his wife was no longer going to point fingers of perversion or darkness at him. He was free to love me. I finally forgive him, and it feel so good. I didn’t know.