My Ex told me he realizes he raped me. This is how we both experienced healing: A Hasty Essay.

A hasty essay. My Ex and I met up last night: he told me he realizes he raped me.  This is how we both experienced deep healing.

I’m still processing this. We dated for 4 years, I left him maybe 10 months ago and we are now back in touch and spending some casual time together as friends. I have no desire to date him and he knows. When we met in 2014, I was incredibly inexperienced. He rushed sex with me in ways that were uncomfortable. I’ve never been one for hook up culture or moving fast sexually.  It felt wrong- but I thought this was just how men are.  He tricked/ violated me into oral sex (on me,) and with vaginal intercourse.  To which he said, “wow, normally I don’t go so fast with women.” Thinking about this makes me sick to my stomach. I thought that was what I had to deal with, that all men were like that. 

Eventually I realized how messed up all of that was. I never told him about it because I would just be in his words “bringing up the past,” and “making him feel anxious” or “I didn’t sleep at all last night, was feeling suicidal, now work is going to be horrible,” which I took as him saying that I just.. shouldn’t say anything.  I felt in a constant limbo of speaking up to him and “making him panic/ bringing up the past/ ruining his day,” and not saying anything and then “being moody.” He was always on his phone when we were together, if we were apart, he would be playing pvp video games and not paying attention to our conversation and would get angry when I noticed he wasn’t listening. He found reasons to argue with many of my opinions, seemingly for little reason.  Our sex life was not great, I don’t want to go into more detail, it was not horrible but I experienced guilt and shame that still affect me.  To be clear, there were many great things about him and about our relationship.  It was by no means entirely bad and I would not describe him as “abusive.” I was difficult also.

We’ve been communicating; it’s been good.  He knows I have 0 desire to get back with him.  We’ve become close again in a way that is healthy and benefiting us both.  Last night we went out and he said he wanted to talk to me about something, I could tell he was worried. He told me that he “felt like he raped me,” and “feels like a monster,” and had “felt horrible about it and wanted to tell you for years.” He brought up the above. He is not looking for pity, I know that. I told him yes, it sucked and was horrible. I told him I would not consider what happened to be rape, but a violation. I told him the most important thing to me is that he and I have both grown as people. I told him what I have learned about masculinity (the good and bad.) I gave him tips for navigating consent moving forward and he was happy to have my insight.  I told him how men find themselves in a limbo also of asking for consent vs being perceived as a p***y in dating.  We are both the victims and the survivors of mixed messages from our society regarding sexuality. We are the victims and survivors of a traditional southern city, with Catholic values intermingled with millennial sexuality and a wild party culture and a love of Punk Rock.

Single and dating now, I find myself fearful of sexual intimacy with new men. I also find myself in awe at the variety of men I have the pleasure of spending time with and the kindness they show me.  They are all different.  They all have weird little quirks.  I didn’t realize how well I could be treated; I never knew that men could care like they do. Many men are gentle and kind, they desire to hear my fears and any discomfort they may cause me. They notice when I am afraid. They ask me if I am okay, if it’s okay to kiss me.  One man I was talking to would listen so intently to me on the phone without interruption that I thought the call had dropped. He was still there. He didn’t want to interrupt me. It almost brought me to tears how much I felt he cared.  Most men notice I am nervous with physical intimacy, they check in on me, they tell me they will slow down, they care.  Many men want to hear my opinions, and may disagree, but are open to what I have to say.  They smile and their eyes light up when I talk about things I am passionate about.  In the past I would have said “sorry,” but many men enjoy seeing me excited, they love my passion. They want to get to know me.  One man is a friend of mine, he expressed he wanted to put his arm around my shoulder and that he liked me.  I didn’t like him that way, but in that moment, I felt obligated to not say anything.  I told myself I could tell him the truth, I was afraid, but I politely declined.  I was afraid of his reaction, but he was fine, he. was. fine. He could tell I had trouble, and he talked to me about how it wasn’t a big deal.  He cares about me for more than my body. He cares for me as a friend also.  I felt loved and accepted.

My ex is trying to navigate the same dating pool in the #MeToo era, it’s important to him that he respects boundaries, he wants to learn, he wants to ask for consent. It’s not easy for men either, we all need to admit this and find solutions together. We need to stop shaming men, and allow space for them to speak of their regrets.  Without resolution there will be no change, no growth.  To be clear, no one is obligated to communicate with their abuser, please don’t take it that way.  No one owes shit to their abuser, please decide what is best for you.

I feel in shock today. But I feel vindicated. I feel like I’m not fucking crazy. I want to cry but I can’t. I want to hug someone, but I can’t. I’m proud of my ex, I’m proud of myself, I’m proud of our weird fucking planet and weird soft warm human beings that can have these bizarre conversations, where I can talk with my ex and he can apologize for violating my trust and we can both have a healing moment.

Thank you in advance, kind strangers.

I Know You Fucking Saw Me

Today I take myself to the New Orleans Museum of Art
Alone past lotus pond a ghost’s reflection a Magical Girl
Sat on the concrete ledge you were once here
With me. I always loved you by my side.

Back inside, down a sleepy hallway
Corridor less wandered
Exists a Golden Cabin I saw you here
Mr. Alligator. Sun kissed pebbles flow
Up my belly warm my breasts
Pool in my collarbones
Whisper your voice lowers for me
You were here many years ago
And I fall in love at City Park again & again
As I always do

You are here somewhere in my body you
Haunt these halls enthralled in mystery
In lust with wonder do you feel me here too?

In ceremony, I approach the golden cabin,
Enter my feet inside the holy indentations
Your boots follow a gilded pathway inside

Breath escapes body we make contact here
Skin to frozen skin between thin metal sheets
Ghost to howling banshee
Stand where you stood, Mr. Alligator. Eyes
Ablaze in molten gold, in mundane splendor
There are metallic smartphones and straws and
old soda can tabs I begin to see simplicity
Now I know why you were here.
This whole fucking city
Our feet, soles to soles
Connect Siamese Twins
I can bet you’ve been about everywhere

I discover myself lonely
Expose a hollow I am
14 years old
Bathe in that old music you got me back into
If I cut myself
If I bled & left a mark a call or please please I am here do you see me?
On Repeat? The Noose?
You were fucking right okay?
The Nurse who Loves Me is my favorite song please tell me how you knew
You fucking Saw me
For a Split second for as long as
I needed, You
Fucking know
Stop
You’ve done nothing to hurt me lonely
I fucking hate you
I beg you in finality
Release whatever filth in me in full lucidity you can
Fucking take me

I pray to god one day I will
Have the words to say the Courage to
Face whatever needy, clinging sickness
I orbit you a comet I crash into you Burning fast and
Arrogant, selfishly tearing apart the atmosphere you spent
A decade weaving blankets you insulated
Your heart attempted to snuff out the fires I burst through,
I do not care at all. I am full of violence.

Unstoppable force: You are Welcome Here
Child on Bordered Lines
If she cut her thigh
& bled it all out felt that
Pain white hot counting seconds nursing
Bandages too clean for this filth
I desire most pain

Yet the truth behind the truth is
The shame at the swelling in my heart the
Fantasy that no one could see my dripping wound.

Not a breathing soul would see it there
Could feel that pain
No one could detect it in my eyes
No one would know at all

But the truth behind my heart is the
Secret behind my fantasy is the
Little girl behind my rage that one day
Hopes you will know &
You will feel bad
And you will know
One day
How you have hurt me so

I must disconnect.
“Don’t sleep on a bare mattress again Chere,
When are you gonna stop breaking your heart at City Park,
Like you always do?”

This is dysfunction
This is longing behind
Holding my own body hostage
Behind whatever worth I may or may not have
Behind Check Mate Screaming
Whywon’tyoulovemewhatthefuckdidIdowrong?
Please don’t leave me here
I need you, there I said it,

I fucking need you in finality behind
I know you fucking saw me
THIS IS REAL
I AM NOT A GHOST
if only for a split second
I know you fucking saw me

& the deepest truth of all is the pornography I loop in my brain of a fairy tale I read to babies where you look at me all dressed up and all beautiful all fucking funny and taking over the fucking world
And you just know
I don’t have to say a thing
Somehow you just know
You see my suffering
You see through me

I Hope You’re Staying Dry: Hurricane Party, Sex, Drugs, and Witchcraft

This past weekend’s
Hurricane Party
Skate gang is
Sola, Samuel, and Swamp Bunny

Wake on Alligator’s couch
Sweet voices from the shower
You have a soft side Sola,
My Best friend with her fiancé, Cheshire Cat.
I am glad he treats you well
You rise together early morning
Playful in the shower

When I’m with you we
Pass the best days of my life
We spin dizzy colors
Bleed together and
Sting my eyes
This is Not a Drill
I am in Love with Mr. Alligator
And he is your fiance’s best friend

It is July there is a Hurricane in the gulf
Soon we will feel the sky shaking
Hide in Uptown, New Orleans I know I am not
Safe here yes, I am better off by my parent’s up North
Yet here I am and can you guess why?
I long to sleep tonight in the quiet dip in the sofa
Where you rest your head when you come Home,
Alligator, I long to stay by our friends
Dysfunction and drugs and playing
The Game yes, I love you in plain sight

In the mid morning
Sola and I wander to Tree of Life to
Pray for Rain to Cleanse our Sins
We pose each other in hot pics
For Insta she plants palms in
Damp peat moss in decay she
Kicks her feet up in an arc
Handstand against a low branch
Yoga, muscles, and curves
Unapologetic #ThirstTraps

We suffocate as we heal as Tree of Life
Tosses Spanish Moss in my open diary
Throw me something Ma’am
I take the moss home with me, because
You gave yourself of your free will
Unto me, you placed yourself inside
My diary you demand to lounge
Deep in my unconscious and you
Surface in my dreams in
Sexual fantasies I enjoy
Thinking of Alligator when I am with
His Best Friends I am
Aroused by the idea
Of them feeling envious of our
Tense desire our burning eyes

Tree of Life commands us to
Weave Magic
Into the tapestry
Into the sky
Sola and I gather moss for spell work
For darker days

I ascend her
Straddle her solid beneath me
“Girl You’ve Got To Trust Her
Or this will never work okay?”
Palms on bark, focus on her branch
In my eyes of ancients past
I’ve gotta trust what is directly in front
There is no fear in this moment
“I can’t look down or surely I will fall.”
Succumb to flying to
Standing on tippy toes to
Steal a Kiss her sun kissed leaves
Leave her blushing you always
Leave me wanting more
But you’re not here, are you Mr. Alligator?
And so I climb her more.

Back home it is late, late
Samuel turns off the TV and
Hushes the boys to let me sleep
In the nook of your body’s heat
I still feel you here
You slept here weeks ago
When are you coming home?

The next night we discover an
Alien Planet
Rich folk’s grass
The good kind on the
Golf Course at Audobon Park
Carpet exposes we are miniatures
Ant specks crawling under a
Purple and orange sky observes
Ancient oaks pause
Here and there as a
Humble Hurricane passes by
He arrives in finality and marvels
Me and the Gang
Break Federal Curfew
Indulge in rebellion
Punk Rock jacket I created
To show you who’s boss
I am the #SwampThot
Sola takes a photo of me
Stretched seductively
Across the slick keep- out sign
We give Zero Fucks
Piss on the pampered lawn of
Old Money New Orleans
Generations of dirty Money
Lavishness fetishized from the
Blood and sweat of Slaves,
Walking home on St. Charles
A blacked out car skids by
Samuel says they “must be moving
A couple Kilos.” Since “now would
Be the perfect time.” Says a cop
Follows in disguise.

Back home: Samuel presents a
Fancy case his wide smile with a flourish says
“Swamp Bunny, You Need To Smell This Weed”
My face betrays my repulsion my
Lack of experience with his decadence
Unintentionally personal insult
He has lost the ability to relate that
I cannot be impressed I make a
Mental note to tell Alligator,
He will be in stitches over this one.

Morning and Sola, Samuel and I blade
Audoban park in full lucidity
Of daylight we are
The Coolest Kids you’ll ever see
Who wouldn’t kill to hang with us?
Rushing past Blaring
Nasty music Dressed to
Impress Styled to Terrify
Moves to Testify
Samuel says he feels like he’s flying
I say I feel alive

Afternoon and we encounter a Vigilante Weatherman
At The Fly on the Mississippi River, says
He prefers to be called an
Armature Storm Chaser
I could not resist asking about
His homemade wind sock
Broken Sexton from Party City after Halloween Sale
Red Hair and freckles, eyes squint
Points to the Eye of the Storm
In the distance
Draws us a diagram on a
Stained Chinese Takeout Menu
I dare not correct him, bite my tongue
Struggle to keep from laughing that
Everything he has said is wrong, wrong, wrong.

The sweetest moment the
Hard candy on my tongue
Was a 5 word text from my Alligator
“I hope you’re staying dry.”

Night falls: Cheshire cat shows me
Patient bubbles in molten
Butter teaching me to make
Edibles Sickly Golden
Marshmallow and 90s children’s cereal
Always Watching Everything and Everyone
He takes it all in, I wonder
Does he have a choice? I wonder
Can he rest at night?

Hurricane Barry 2019 I spent with
My Best Friend Sola, with Samuel and
Cheshire Cat, cuddled in my Crush’s bed

And here in my palm,
I take home a mason jar of
Hurricane Water I gathered in heavy mugs
On the brick by her potted garden
Sola adds Brandy to keep it fresh
Now colors honey sharp to save for
Witchcraft for dry days
One for me and one for you.
And a boy for me and a boy for you.
How could I want for more.

Mr. Alligator and the Swamp Bunny

Whether curled in a nest of
Twigs, fur and moss
Or sliced raw by marsh grasses,
Sometimes Blood stains,
We do not fear sinking
In the Muck we evolved
To thrive in macabre
Creation and in decay.

“Mr. Alligator, the kindest of us posses the depth
To be the most cruel.”
“Dear Swamp Bunny, we are gentle because we have been
Hurt the most. We crave to be that which
We were denied but our
Pain lashes out hot and fast
From time to time.”
And cruel we are.
Merciless as angelic
Show your wings sweet
Child they are fresh but
you must use the damn things
Don’t fear showing your
Spotless capacity to love
Pure and violent

Today you emerge from the Muck
Printemps, I am Molting my
Winter coat
We are ravenous
Shaking for food
Quiver for touch, for warmth
Praying for a peek of sunlight
Cold in the bone of
Haunted cypress chilled and
Bald, new born held
In raw hands

We have faith that Heron and Spoonbill
Part the Thunder
Raise the sun
Warm days to come

Why yes I am warm blooded, yet
Delicate and not afraid to
dirty my snow white fur
“You need a little help
Keeping warm yes?” Yet
Your big teeth do not scare me
Your deadly tail falls with a thud
More than a reptilian mind,

I see quiet in you
Softness is your pheromone
Draws me back to you
Taste Blue Iris when we kiss
When you whisper in my sharp ears:
“You’re a tough little Bunny.”

Safe to close my eyes under the Stars
Cicadas hush our worries I could
Place my paws into your steaming jaws
Courage the Lion
The tamer, the Savior
I believed my prayers went
Unheard but I found you caught
Every word every
Twitch of my lashes each
Tap of my feet you watch, you remember
By moonlight you watched me sleeping

“I am more scary than you will ever understand, Alligator”
“But I am more afraid than you know, little Swamp Bunny. You are only scary in your mind and I am not afraid of you.”
I said, “I watched over you all winter,
Counted soft bubbles through molasses,
Where now the lily’s feed.
You breathed sleepy and dreamed of me.
And I hopped around the Neighborhood
For the last few seeds and final twigs
Little teeth could gnaw
To share with our friends
I knew you would return you to me
You slit your eyes open your scales
Stop pretending you don’t care!”

Push my paws against your cheek.
“Look me in the eye!” and he said,
“I pray to god one day I will cry.”

“I dare you to push the limits of
What you thought your heart could take.”
And he said, “I dare to you push the boundary
Of how deeply you thought you could let go.”

July 2019

Sweet Fear Aquarius

A softer desire. Sweeter,
quieter affection. You move slow,
make sure I enjoy you.
Can we be little creatures together?
I’d like to burrow into you, into soft Earth,
Can we make love tonight?
Like the Wind,
You want to see so much, cannot
Sit still, I must respect
Your nature, my lover I can only
Pray that you choose to stay

You are the Wind
Also the steady Breath
Come home to the body
Bringer of seasons Messenger of
Tidings of Summer heatwaves you
Howl through my bones Love
You hurl sand grains in the
Eyes of distant armies you
Blow the Sea from shore to shore
Your waves
Overpower my body and
I let you caress me on the porch by the Sea.

You are always here
Come home to my body Deep
Belly, throat, mouth and lips
Fill me to my lungs and nose
Make me wonder if
I will survive the pleasure of your fingertips
Assault of my lips, tangle my hair
I want you. There is your
Voice from California I heard
You’re still singing. Alone or
In a crowd I don’t care just
Keep fucking singing
Fuck till we’re gasping
Fight till we’re screaming
Keep sending me paper letters
Crisp leaves falling slow carried
In your palms across Mountains across
Prairie. Home to New Orleans.

We’re not so far away,
Really
I can still hear you singing.

Feel your chest rise and fall, my sweetest Aquarius if you can’t tell me, please whisper in my ear. I will pause the turn of the Earth to create quiet enough to hear you. I will breathe over your chest, kiss your lean stomach, I will put goosebumps down your spine.

Caus your voice is the one I want to hear right now. Yours alone. Ours together I’d bet we will make music, we’ll make Magic.

& if it makes you happy maybe I will float with you, steadiness as we pause here and there to plant seeds and

Running again we are panting, we are
Always laughing we
Make love we are gasping and
Fingers dig into each other hold on
For dear life I fucking promise I won’t let you
Blow away
& you finally held on
You returned to your body
We sighed together
Ragged and Terrified
Stop Running
Catch your breath
Please come home

I’d part the Red Sea if I could find a way into your heart
Navigate the Mountains between us
Not the hurricane, not the tornado
Will be a reason anymore find the
True reason for running off
Stop pushing me away
Breathe in, let go
Come home.

July 2019

Sola and I Revel in Our Power Over Men and in the End We Choose Each Other.

Last weekend I found myself
In the lap of a beautiful woman
Warm and high we
Float serenely on a
Large pool toy of Nesse,
Amongst the Nerd Babes
Wild party @The Drifter Hotel,
A popular alternative nightlife venue it is
Almost Summer Solstice
In New Orleans, Louisiana

Neon lights slide across our
Dewy skin, rainbow beach balls
Deflating aliens float by,
Fellow revelers lounge
Sip cocktails and daqueries as
90s pop vibrates our bones. Feet
Lull in the warm and lightly salted water.

The beautiful woman beneath me keeps me warm.
I feel her skin, she is
Topless she is my Best Friend
We gaze directly up to the cloudy sky,
Midnight pollution the city makes it
Difficult to see many stars
Yet here I am, with you
Looking anyway

She took me out tonight she got me high bought me a soda helped me eat a falafel gyro she lent me a swimsuit and listened to me spill darkness from my chest and into the void of the sky that we stared deep into on this night, we glimpsed from the edge of the cliff we saw our reflection in distant nebulae in the eyes of god we were no longer mad at each other because we made it out alive. We know our love is greater than the pain this world can provide.

I love her

The crowd follows our every move. All eyes
Desire to see us kiss. All men
Imagine touching our bodies.

Sola, all curves, perfect
Hourglass figure, olive skin,
Giggling over a cute guy that told her
He thinks curvy girls are sexier. She is
Charming, dirty blonde hair, vivacious
Boundless Joy and a love that Gives as much
As fears and I,
Waist length dirty blonde hair to match
Pulled half up in space buns memory of
Magical Girl. Black roses, holographic
Pentagrams, and a Lavender rosary which
I nibble on to take selfies and
Wonder how offended or aroused he would be
To see his Crush half nude with
His Savior in her pouty lips.

We strut past the pool to
Get drinks and All Eyes are on us
We know how beautiful
We are Lillith
Tempting prophets to connect
Holy Pleasure to their Sin

Tonight, Sola takes care of me,
Accepts the Mother Role with
One hit of her bong
Found myself
Too high, needing her help,
Forced,
To accept her help

Perhaps, in truth
An excuse to accept help a
Tangible reason a valid reason to Need

Often I Need help
Physically Eating
When high, food cannot travel
From table to mouth my
Quiet hands forget that journey
Lose their way in between
Maybe I can ask to be fed I can
Ask for someone to notice
How I struggle how my tired
Hands get lost.
Pray for Rain.

Healing us both,
Role reversal for just one night
With a kindness that brought me close to
Tears, she taught me how to
Light the household bong with
A patience I struggle to trust
I knew I had permission to take my time to
Make mistakes. I knew she cared.

Sola: the nurturer, the patient teacher, the mother
Holding space for, forcing me to receive.

Please, never leave me
I will love this woman till the day I die


June 2019