Part of the journey

I’m giving you a fair warning.  This post talks about something that makes a lot of people extremely uncomfortable.  If you’re looking for something light and cute to make you smile, I recommend looking at these adorable kittens, instead.  There probably won’t be a lot of cuteness or smiling here.

Miss Jen,

I want to apologize in advance for what I’m going to ask, and you have every right to ignore me or tell me to fuck off.  But please know that I don’t mean to offend, my question comes from a place of curiosity and a desire to learn more about your journey.  I understand that it’s your journey, and there may be some things that are too personal to discuss, and I have no desire to make you uncomfortable.  So you won’t be hurting my feelings at all if you would rather not answer.

You mentioned in a recent post that you’ve been the victim of rape not once, but twice.  Do you feel like that’s had an effect on your sexuality?  Could that be part of the reason why you became a Domme?  Because you don’t have to be vulnerable or give up control?

You’ve also mentioned being overweight.  Does that have anything to do with the experiences you dealt with?  Could you be subconsciously keeping yourself overweight in an effort to make yourself look “less appealing” to a potential attacker?  Or even just to make it difficult for a potential attacker to overpower you?

Again, I mean no offense by these questions.  But I’ve always been curious about the connection between sexual abuse and BDSM.  I don’t want to bring up past pain or reopen old wounds, so if you choose not to answer, I will completely understand.

Thank you for reading.

James

Just for future reference, any email that starts with the words “I apologize in advance for what I’m about to say” immediately gets my full attention.  I love me some controversy.

But no, it doesn’t make me uncomfortable to talk about it.  It doesn’t bother me at all.  I don’t talk about it because it makes other people so uncomfortable.  But I decided to answer your question in a post rather than a private email because I feel like it’s important to acknowledge.  You’re right, this blog is about my journey, and those experiences are part of that journey, part of what made me who I am today.

And, for the record, I like who I am.  So those experiences, along with any other negative experiences I had when I was younger, served a purpose.  If I could go back and change it, I don’t think I would.  I don’t know how not having those experiences would affect the way I turned out.

So no, it doesn’t bother me to talk about it.  In fact, I think it’s important to share the whole story.  I have actually never told the whole story before, to anyone.  Even Kazander doesn’t know everything.  Now seems like as good a time as any.

But please, God, don’t use the “V” word.  I can’t stand that word.  Hearing/reading it makes me cringe.  Ugh.

I’m not a victim.  I’m not looking for pity.  I don’t want it.  It serves no purpose.  That’s another big reason why I don’t talk about it.  I can’t fucking stand that look people get when they find out.  I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me.  Talking about it is fine.  Discussing it and acknowledging it is great.  But don’t you dare feel sorry for me.  Ugh.

Cringe.

Yeah, some fucked-up shit happened in my childhood.  But there are people out there who had it way worse.  There are people like Kazander, who grew up hard because the choice was either get hard or die.  There are people like Steel, who grew up hard and still can’t sit with their back to the door in a public place because those instincts just don’t die.  There are people like my friend who suffered abuse for years at the hands of his older brother.

I grew up in a nice part of town, with moderately wealthy parents who were somewhat-happily married.  I had horses.  I was a fantastic musician, and for my fourteenth birthday, my dad bought me a $3,000 flute made out of solid silver, and the mouthpiece was plated with gold.  It was a Gemeinhardt 50th anniversary series, and they only ever made 500 of them.  He found it for $500 off the original MSRP because it was a couple years after they came out.  What a deal.

They liked throwing money at me to make up for a lack of love and affection.  So I was spoiled.  I was used to getting what I wanted.  It’s a habit my mom still has, and I don’t feel the teensiest bit guilty for taking advantage of it.

So I mean, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that my childhood was completely ruined by the negative.  I had my issues, sure.  But I had it relatively easy.  I am in no way a victim.

Alright, so you asked if those experiences colored my sexuality and my role within the D/s world.

And the short answer is no.  They didn’t.  I don’t think.

Here’s the thing.  The first time it happened, I was 11, and my uncle was the attacker.  But the weird thing is that I wasn’t anatomically a virgin when it happened.  There was pain, sure.  But (I’m not going to get into specifics here, just take my word for it) it wasn’t the kind of pain that’s described in a woman’s first time.  And there was no blood, no tearing.

And for the record, I never became a Dominant.  I just always was one.  My earliest daydreams and fantasies revolved around that.  There was never a time when those kinds of things didn’t appeal to me.  So that was all present long before 11 years old.

But I do wonder when and how I lost my virginity.  My uncle had been accused of sexually assaulting a teen girl who lived with them years previous, but nothing ever came of it.  And we spent a lot of time with him, his wife, and his kids.

My dad also had a history of getting way too close to my sister’s and my friends growing up, and was once accused of running his hand up my sister’s friend’s leg during a sleepover.  Once we were grown, he basically stopped caring if we knew, and looked at pictures of very young girls on his computer all the time.  It got to the point that my sister and I took to calling for him a few seconds before walking into his office, to give him time to minimize those windows.

And one picture in particular is forever ingrained in my memory.  It was of a very young girl (as in a toddler), dressed only in a diaper, looking up at the camera and giggling.  Needless to say, when we found out we were having a daughter, Kazander and I had a very long talk about how we were going to handle that.  And while neither of us wanted to cheat them out of their grandparent time, I flat-out told my mother I would disown her and she’d never see her grandchild again if she ever left them alone together, even just for a second.  She was to take the kid into the bathroom with her if she needed to pee.  Certain members of Kazander’s family were also made aware that they were never to be left alone together.  Luckily, my daughter never stayed at their house, and then my dad died, so it’s a non-issue.

So, growing up in that environment, is it possible that something happened when I was very young, that I was either too young to remember or somehow blocked out?  Perhaps.  And if that’s the case, is it possible that those early daydreams and fantasies were my subconscious’ way of handling it?  Maybe.

But I don’t think it’s likely.  Mostly because I don’t really care.  If something happened, I don’t remember it, and was likely too young to.  If my dad’s tastes ran that young, I wouldn’t have remembered it, anyway.  So it doesn’t affect me, I don’t really care.  Even when I was younger, and realized that I hadn’t been a virgin, I didn’t care.  So I find it unlikely that, if something did happen, it would have had that big of an impact on me.

So I wouldn’t say that the experience had an effect on me at all.  What did have an effect on me was the way it destroyed my family, and how I was blamed for it.  My uncle never saw the inside of a prison cell.  He pleaded no contest at a hearing, and then jumped ship to Mexico, and I never heard from him again.

My dad’s side of the family stopped talking to us after that.  Almost all of my 11 aunts and uncles suddenly hated me.  Only two uncles and one aunt kept in contact.  And my uncle’s wife and kids despised me, and were quite vocal about it.  For a very short time, I felt guilty.  I felt like I’d single-handedly destroyed the entire family.

That didn’t last long, though.  I did the right thing.  I was telling the truth.  And I wasn’t going to apologize for saying something about it and protecting myself.

Our family never really recovered from that, and I think that’s where some of my aloofness and my ability to isolate myself comes from.  These were the people I’d grown up with.  The cousins that were closer than any friends I’d ever had up to that point.  I knew they hated me (and still do hate me), and I made myself stop caring.  All the anger, the resentment, the loathing they heaped on me was done in an effort to break me, and just fuck everything about that.  I wasn’t going to give them that satisfaction.  I learned very quickly how to shut my emotions down, how to make myself numb, how to feel nothing.  And once I’d learned that, nothing they could do or say could touch me.

So no, that didn’t influence me sexually.  The aftermath influenced how I relate to people, but I love that I can shut myself down like that.  It’s a skill I’m glad I have.  I was able to move on, to get over it, and get on with my life.

I had already met my mentor and spent a lot of time training with him when it happened the second time.  I was seventeen, the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, and this time, it was a complete stranger who picked me up on the side of the road in my rural, unlit neighborhood as I was out looking for our dogs, who had gotten out when one of the horses figured out how to open the arena gate.  My parents and sister were out of town for the night, and wouldn’t be back until the next morning.

I never told them what happened.

Not until the fall, when I collapsed in the middle of the play I was prop master for, and was rushed to the ER.  A routine blood test revealed that I was pregnant.  And now I had to sit and tell my mom what had happened.

Up until this point, I had been very active in our church.  I played flute, piano, and sang in the choir.  I went on retreats (that might as well have just been called orgies.  I mean, damn).  I even taught religious ed to 2nd and 3rd graders.  I grew up Catholic, my parents were Catholic, and hell, I didn’t know any better.  I was naive and stupid (not to mention wildly hormonal) and just assumed that my parents would support my desire to give the kid up for adoption.  Because we were Catholic, and abortion isn’t something that Catholics do.

Until they sat me down and said that they didn’t think I’d be able to give it up after carrying it for 9 months, and I was in no position to raise a baby, and I’d be throwing my life away, and I was still a minor, and they knew what was best for me, and because I’m a minor, it was their decision, and not mine.

I tried to convince them that yes, I could give it up for adoption.  I fought with them for days about it.  They assumed they knew better than I did.

And because of that, to this day, probably the absolute quickest way to piss me off (as in barely-hanging-on-to-my-control pissed off) is to assume you know more about me than I do.

I didn’t know what to do.  I was terrified, and confused, and just totally out of it.  I immediately asked to talk to my priest, or my youth organizer, and they said they didn’t think that would be a good idea.  They kept me away from the church, away from the people who would give me the confidence to stand up to them.

October 14, 2003 is a date I will always remember.  It was a Tuesday.  My dad went to work, and my mom took me to an abortion clinic.  I sobbed hysterically the whole way to the clinic, I sobbed hysterically in the waiting room, and I sobbed hysterically when they took me back.  The staff were cold and uncaring, and just rolled their eyes at me.  I begged my mom to take me home, to not make me do it.  Even my sister, in a move that surprised the hell out of me (she came with us, I don’t remember why), asked my mom if she was sure this was the right thing to do.

There were three options for the procedure.  The cheapest and easiest one was to take a couple of pills that would terminate the pregnancy.  I couldn’t swallow them, and when I finally did, I immediately threw them back up (which only annoyed the staff even more).  They tried it again, giving me another dose, and I threw up as soon as I put them in my mouth.  My body literally rejected the pills in an effort to protect the baby.

So my mom decided to skip the intermediate local anesthetic step and go with a type of general anesthetic they just called “Twilight Sleep.”  I was buckled down onto a table and they injected me with the stuff.  I don’t remember this, but I found out later that it took twice the normal dose to fully knock me out, I fought it so hard.

Oh, and I mentioned my mom saying she felt guilty.  I only found this out recently.  She was in the room for the procedure, and told me about the moment where the doctor ordered another dose of anesthetic.  She saw me writhing, not even conscious, but still fighting it, and in that moment, she felt like she was making the wrong decision.  She told me she almost spoke up and had them stop, but she didn’t.  And she feels guilty for that, even now.  And hell yes, that is gloriously satisfying.

I remember one of the staff waking me up, saying that I’d been asleep for two hours, and it was time to get dressed and go home.  I don’t remember anything else that day.

The next day, my mom made me go to school, and nothing I could do or say would change her mind.  I couldn’t make myself numb.  I couldn’t shut it off.  Luckily, my counselor/tennis coach knew what was going on and intercepted me on the way to my first class.  He took me to one of the empty conference rooms and said I could stay there as long as I wanted, for as many days as I needed.  I thanked him, told him I wanted to be left alone, and sat there on the floor, in the dark room, staring at the wall for the next six hours.  The rest of the week was spent in that room.  And when I wasn’t in school, I was in my bedroom, sitting on the floor and staring at the wall.

That weekend, they finally let me go to my priest to confess.  I told him what happened.  I told him I’d gotten an abortion.  And his exact words were, “If your dad robbed a bank, would it be fair to punish you and your sister?”

He did absolve me, but that was the last time I stepped into a church for a long time.  The next year was pretty dark.  I was angry, I was suicidal, I was reckless, I was shockingly self-destructive, and carry four angry-looking scars on my left arm, because the physical pain was the only way I could make the emotional pain stop.  I felt betrayed by everyone who was supposed to care about me.

I stopped doing my schoolwork, and the only reason I graduated at all was because my teachers felt sorry for me and passed me with Ds.

I hated everyone.  I hated my parents, but most of all, I hated myself.  Because I wasn’t an idiot.  I knew that I could’ve fought it.  I seriously doubt they would have disowned me if I’d straight-up refused to do it.  Hell, I could’ve run away for a few days.  I was only a couple weeks shy of the legal deadline.  Once I hit that, an abortion would’ve been illegal, and I would’ve been fine.

I knew I could’ve fought it.  I knew that it was wrong, that I shouldn’t have let it happen.  I knew that I should’ve kicked and screamed and fought with everything I had.  I knew I could’ve saved my baby.  But I didn’t.  And that is an extremely difficult thing to forgive.  I learned that regret, not love or hate, is the strongest emotion.  Regret can eat you alive and destroy your soul.  It can tear you apart.

I did pick out names.  I never knew what the sex was, my parents never let me go to an obstetrician or get an ultrasound.  They didn’t want me humanizing it any more than I already had.  But they couldn’t stop me from giving it a name.  Caleb Thomas for a boy, and Emily Diane for a girl.  It would’ve been a leap baby, due on February 29th, and it would’ve been turning 12 next month.  This year would’ve been special, too, because it’s another leap year.

By the time I graduated, I had developed a weird sort of “normal.”  I was a functioning person again.  I laughed and smiled again.  I dated again.  But inside, I was constantly furious at everything and everyone around me, and my control was hanging on by a thread.  More than once, that thread snapped, and I became violent.

God, I was so irresponsible.  I feel so bad for the boys that I dated that year.  That was the start of my man-hating phase, and I took it all out on them.  I was vicious, and manipulative, and conniving, and really just an all-around bitch.  I would build them up just to break them down.  I liked making them cry (not in the good way), and I spent a lot of time learning all their weaknesses and vulnerabilities so I could turn around and exploit them.  They trusted me, and I did my damndest to destroy them.  I did everything I could to hurt them.

I was downright abusive.  And there’s no excuse for that.  It didn’t matter what I’d dealt with.  The way I treated them was completely inexcusable.

My mentor and his wife tried to help me, but I pushed them away.  I didn’t speak to them at all for almost six months.

There is one person I can credit for finally getting through to me and waking me back up.  He was my best friend’s dad, my first serious boyfriend, and we’ll call him B.

Throughout my senior year, I spent more time at my friend J’s house than at mine.  Is it a coincidence that the one male I let myself get attached to and have an emotional connection with was gay, and therefore not a threat?  Perhaps.  He and I were nothing alike.  I was quiet and reserved, he was outgoing and boisterous.  He liked Sex and the City, I liked Ren and Stimpy.  He listened to pop, I listened to alternative and rock.  Other than a mutual interest in theater and music, we had absolutely nothing in common.

But he was like my brother, and his dad and step-mom took care of me when my parents couldn’t be bothered.  B was the one I called when I was stranded with a flat tire.  B was the one I called when I drank too much at a party and couldn’t drive home.  No matter what I needed, B was there.  He was the affectionate, attentive father I never had.

I remember the first time I spent the night at his house, and watched him hug and kiss both his sons goodnight, and being stunned by that.  I hadn’t kissed either of my parents for at least a decade.  He was everything I thought a father was supposed to be.

We graduated, J went to Reno for college, and I befriended his little brother, M.  Shortly after that, B and his wife separated.  One night, I went over to hang out with M, and all three of us were talking and having fun.  Then, M went to bed, and it was just me and B.  But that wasn’t unusual, we’d spent a lot of time alone together.

I really don’t know how it happened.  One minute, we were sitting on his couch, listening to jazz and talking, and the next, we were making out, groping and pawing at each other.

And that was the start of a year-long relationship that finally brought me back.  He was the only one who could look at me, see the darkness there, and not be frightened by it.  He saw the cruelty I was capable of, and didn’t run for the hills.  He made me feel like it was okay to be broken, it was okay to have those cracks in my armor.  He taught me how to accept myself as I was.

We were 26 years apart.  But I never once felt the age difference.  Being with him felt right.  He could reach in and fill those holes in me without even trying.  He loved me like I’d never been loved before.  It wasn’t the fleeting infatuation and puppy love I’d experienced from people my age.  It was real.  He made me feel worthy again.  And in loving me, he taught me how to love myself.  He taught me how to let go of the hate and the anger, and he taught me how to live with the regret.

I’m not sure I would still be alive today if it weren’t for him.  He saved me.

I was completely, irrevocably in love with him.  There was nothing I wanted more than to spend the rest of my life with him.  He was one of the very few vanilla men I’ve ever dated, and I was completely fine with giving up that part of myself for him.

People joked and scoffed when they found out about him, and that I was dating a man old enough to be my father (and in fact, J is older than I am).  They asked me why.  They asked what we could possibly have in common, what we could possible talk about.  My parents didn’t approve, but they saw the change in me, so they kept quiet.

The relationship eventually fell apart, but for the next eight years, we kept in contact, and I considered him a close friend.  Then, when I was living in Alabama, he confessed that he still loved me, and wanted me to move back to Vegas.

And, while that obviously didn’t work out, everything turned out for the best.  Moving back here enabled me to get back with Kazander, and the rest is history.  While a piece of my heart will always belong to B, I love and adore Kazander, and I’m extremely grateful that things turned out the way they did.  B taught me how to love again, he prepared me to be with Kazander, to be able to open up to Kazander and trust him in a way that I’d only ever trusted B, himself.

So did those two experiences affect me?  Sure they did.  But did they shape my sexual journey?  No.  It wasn’t even really the experiences themselves that affected me.  It was the aftermath of those experiences that shaped the person I’ve become.

And as far as using D/s as a way to protect myself from being vulnerable, that’s not true.  I don’t give up control, that much is accurate.  But there is a kind of raw, emotional vulnerability there.  When I’m playing, when I’m with a boy, that’s when I feel the most like me.  I don’t have to censor myself, I don’t have to be aware and be careful of the way I’m coming across.  I don’t have to worry about keeping the dynamic and that part of myself hidden.

I can do what I want, when I want.  I can let go of all those societal norms, and just be.  No pressure, no expectations, just me and my boy.

So they see a side of me that no one else sees.  They see a hint of that cruelty, that relentlessness, that manipulation that I’m capable of.  Granted, I use those talents for fun, and not to abuse them the way I abused my boyfriends in high school.  But it’s still something that only they get to see.  And it’s as close to the real me as you can get.  So yes, there’s definitely vulnerability there.  And, while opening myself up to someone like that can be uncomfortable at times, it’s not something that I’m afraid of, or have any kind of aversion to.  I trust my boys, and they trust me.  It’s a good thing.

As far as the weight thing goes, you’re actually not the first person to ask me that.  In fact, you’d be surprised how many times I’ve been asked that.  Is that a common thing?  I mean, I don’t know, I don’t really talk to other women with similar experiences.  That’s not really a topic of conversation.

Is it possible that I’m subconsciously keeping myself overweight as some sort of defense mechanism?  To deter would-be attackers?  To be less appealing to them?  Could that be part of the reason why I’ve always struggled with my weight, despite eating healthy-ish, averaging about 1200 calories a day, and having textbook-perfect cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure?  Is there a part of me that wants to be somewhat unappealing to men?  Could I be subconsciously sabotaging my own efforts to lose weight?

I can’t answer that.  I honestly don’t know.

But I was overweight long before the first experience.  My parents were never much into the whole “healthy” thing.  All four of us were significantly overweight.  My sister was on medication for high cholesterol when she was a teenager.  Through a number of illnesses (and, in my sister’s case, recreational drugs) they all lost the weight and are thin-ish now.

I, on the other hand, gained 80 pounds while I was pregnant (and literally not allowed to shower every day.  When I went into early labor while Kazander was at work, and drove myself to the ER, they threatened to hospitalize me for the rest of the pregnancy if I didn’t start “taking the bedrest seriously”), and then gained almost twenty more a year later when we had some personal issues go down.  So far, four years later, I’ve lost 56 of that.

But the number is going down.  Agonizingly slowly, but it is going down.  My health issues back a few months ago, along with the holidays, sort of put the whole thing on pause, but I’m focused again and my goal is to lose another 50 this year.

So I can’t really say if that’s part of the reason why my weight has always been such an issue, even after adjusting my lifestyle and eating habits.  If it is, then it’s definitely time to get over that.  There’s no reason for me to be carrying that kind of baggage around for all these years.  It’s not doing me a damn bit of good.

7 thoughts on “Part of the journey

  1. dvjan21 says:

    I hold the gift of unflinching honesty as a worthy endowment. Thank you.

  2. Polthus says:

    This is real, raw and, as the dvjan already noted, unflinchingly honest. Takes guts to write like this and I am honored to be a reader.

  3. Gringo Viejo says:

    OMG, that was intense. I mean really, really intense. You, madam, are a superb writer, and that was both incredibly illuminating and thoroughly, honestly moving. It’s rare enough to find writing that’s one or the other, never mind both. You have my utmost admiration, for about five or ten different things.

    • Domina Jen says:

      Well, damn. That is one hell of a compliment. Thank you very much for the kind words. I’m deeply flattered, and I appreciate that you took the time to tell me this.

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