Something crossed my mind today that I decided to write about.
(Strap in kiddies, this is a rough subject…)
Confession: I was molested as a child. Several times. By multiple people….
(Okay, so my title was misleading, but ice cream DOES play a part, I promise!)
I’m not ashamed to admit this because shame would somehow mean that I had some fault in the ordeal. No matter your thoughts on how women/men should conduct themselves as to “invite” some sort of temptation by some predator, I can assure you that no five to seven year old is capable of understanding that concept. (Also, you really need to adjust your thought process cause that’s a pretty fucked up outlook.)
My circumstances could easily lead to a dialogue surrounding pedophilia, best ways to protect children, differences between the laws back in the 80s and now, social media’s role in exposing this kind of behavior, yadda yadda yadda. However, there is one main question I am asked frequently by people who learn this about me.
“Do you think your sexual abuse lead to you being a lesbian?”
The concept of molestation/sexual abuse leading to sexual orientation has always baffled me. I’m unsure how one is related to the other. When one is sexually assaulted or abused, it’s about control and dominance. It’s about an individual who gets some sort of sexual gratification from someone who cannot protect themselves or who cannot tell them no/fight them off. Perhaps their jollies are obtained by innocence. I honestly have no idea. I’d not a pedophile and I’m certain there are numerous psychological papers researched and written about this subject by all sorts of people who have WAY more education than I do. Basically, sexual deviancy is more about obtaining sexual fulfillment through some abnormal manner that is something MUCH DIFFERENT than TWO consenting parties enjoying each other.
Sexual orientation is much different. It’s simply about who you love. It’s as simple as picking an ice cream flavor. If I’m given the choice between chocolate ice cream and mint chocolate chip, I’m gonna have to go with chocolate. Mint chocolate chip is great for some people. (I hear it’s enjoyed by many.) But for me, it’s an abomination from at least the fourth circle of hell that could only be dreamt up by the devil himself. It’s repulsive and in my opinion shouldn’t be consumed by anyone with dignity. In fact when given the hypothetical situation of being stranded on a desert island with nothing to eat but mint chocolate chip ice cream, then I’m sorry guys, I’m just gonna have to starve to death.
Harsh? Perhaps… But mint and chocolate REALLY don’t go together, I don’t care what you say.
It’s kinda the same way I feel about men… Okay, that’s a joke. Some of my favorite people are men. I mean I have a great dad and step-dad, four awesome brothers, uncles, cousins, some nephews… you get the picture.
But while I literally threw up in my mouth a little at the idea of allow mint chocolate chip ice cream pass across my lips, others LOVE it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called crazy for thinking that the combination is repulsive. (Although, I question the sincerity of judging one’s mental health against their ice cream preferences. Cause if we’re doing that, I got NOTHING on you Neapolitan monsters…ALL THREE DON’T GO TOGETHER you psychopaths!!)
I feel like I’m heading for a weird ice cream rabbit hole, so I’mma pull back and get to the point…
Being sexually abused doesn’t affect one’s sexual orientation. (In my humble opinion.) If anything else, it may change how one approaches the idea of sex in general, but not who they are attracted to. So, please stop asking people that. (People meaning me.) No, for as long as I can remember, I’ve only ever been attracted to women. My first crush was when I was 5 and on a girl who was like seven years older than me and I was teased mercilessly by my classmates for it.
If anything, we should have worried about my attraction to older people more than the fact that they were women… But that worked itself out…eventually.
However, the thought crossed my mind today that perhaps the TYPE of lesbian I am may have been affected by my experience. I’ve always kind of been a tomboy my whole life. But after my experiences, I became more of one. I hated dresses. I hated ANYTHING that would make people call me “pretty.” It makes me cringe. To this day if someone calls me pretty or beautiful, a part of my soul dies a little.
(Cute, sexy, not hideous are all acceptable compliments… if you were wondering)
Even when it comes to me being overweight, I think a part of my psyche refuses to let me lose TOO MUCH weight because I don’t want to be noticed by men. In my mind, men don’t like big women who wear fashionable ties and have a penchant for expensive cologne. (Alas, in this social media world, I’m learning that it REALLY DOES take all kinds to make the world go round.)
While my gender expression may have been affected by my experiences, that’s just MY experience. The idea that someone can change who they are attracted to or who they love is kind of insane to me. I’m not going to attack anyone who believes their proclivity has been somehow changed with prayer and reflection, because that’s not MY journey, it’s yours. What I will say is that growing up in the Bible Belt, I tried to pray my gay way for YEARS and it just wouldn’t go. So it was either suicide or acceptance. I chose acceptance.
What makes me sad is that everyone else can’t just accept people as who they are. Mainly church people. I was raised in a strong Christian community and my closet was made of glass. (Meaning EVERYONE knew before I did.) But it seemed that once I accepted this aspect of myself, church people stopped accepting ME. A community of people who have known me my whole life, suddenly wanted nothing to do with me. People who know my love for music and ministry have turned their backs on me. Why? If every spiritual walk is an individual path between the person and God, then why does what I do when no one is around affect you in the least? It’s not like I put up a webcam in my bedroom and broadcast what I do online for the world to see. Suddenly, I’m not good enough to use my gift of music in church because people will look at me and what? Know that I have sex with my wife?
WHY ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT THAT AT CHURCH ANYWAY?!
I think much of the fracture in this country is the idea that people can somehow force others to live a life that is suitable to THEM. That’s not how life works. The great part of God’s creation is that He made us all different, but with the ability to choose. He made us ALL different, but with the ability to love.
He gave us the ability to choose love. Then just to make sure we understood it, He sent Jesus Christ to SHOW US how to choose love. But still…. *sigh*
For some reason, people tend to take the name of Jesus and turn it into a reason to pound people over the head with their own ideals and values. Ironically, in some circles, I’m horrible for being gay, but the people who step out on their wives, the men who molested me, and those who sexually assault others are a-okay, because hey, at least they are going after people with female parts. Let’s elect them for president!
(Too far? Perhaps… True? Absolutely)
Common sense and empathy has truly gone by the way side these days.
I think I’ll go get some ice cream now….
Ben and Jerry’s Americone Dream if you’re wondering…. Because what’s life without a little whimsy?