I started a second graduate program last fall in Library and Information Science. Before starting classes, I navigated my way through the university’s disability services. This wasn't my first time doing this, but it has been one of the most difficult.
Celebrities wore all black to The Golden Globes last night to protest sexual assault and sexual harassment happening in the film/tv industry (and to a small extent, elsewhere). I was one of the few people unimpressed. It's great that celebrities donated money to Time's Up, a legal defense fund combating sexual harassment in the workplace, but the wearing of black $150,000 dresses is creating a visibility that is unrelatable, passive, and potentially more harmful than helpful.
I've been noticing a disturbing trend in SJW/Feminist spaces for a while now, and lately, I've been meditating more and more about it.
How long do we banish problematic people/pages/orgs for things they've done in the past and haven't done since?
I have genital herpes. GENITAL herpes. The thing everyone laughs about. The thing nobody actually knows shit about. I have that. I got it from my abusive, lying, cheating, alcoholic/cokehead ex-boyfriend.
Each time I get an outbreak (one, pimple-looking thing), I'm confronted with his ghost. I'm confronted with the fact that he lives inside of me, and will forever.
The actual outbreak isn't a big deal to me. It's not often painful; it's more an annoyance. It's the other stuff that's difficult. The trauma. The retraumatization I feel each time it happens.
He is the virus, and he'll always be with me. In order to live with myself, I have to confront this. I have to accept this.
Almost 3 years later, and it's still so painful sometimes. There's an emotional component to herpes. Yes, you're experiencing a physical manifestation of a virus, but you also just feel "off" and shitty and sad. For me, the sadness brings up everything: the lying, the cheating, the diagnosis, the abandonment, the death of a love.
I hear he's married and has a child now. Both things he wanted with me. Both things I wanted with him. Even after he assaulted me.
I hear he's happy.
And I'm still here. Living with his ghost. This ghost that sleeps inside of me. Waking ever so often to remind me he is still with me. And he always will be. Reminding me with his Cheshire Cat smile that I'm forever tied to him. He has branded me and every lover after will know about him.
He's not the only one sleeping soundly in my nerves. There are three other ghosts that live inside of me. My ex is the only one who left a visual mark, though.
How do I live in a body that is haunted by men?
What do you call it?
It wasn't rape (at least... not the legal definition), but it wasn't consensual. It was consensual at first, and then he did his own thing without consent.