Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tracy Bonham

"Behind every good woman lies a trail of men
Shame shame for the rooster, high five for the hen
Don't ask where she's going, don't ask where she's been
Behind every good woman lies..."

...a trail of men.  ;)  Well, behind THIS good woman there certainly does.  I realize this blog is jumping all around, and in these first few entries, I expect that I will.  My consciousness is flooded with so much right now that it's intense to sort through it all.  I'm jumping back and forth from my past to my present, realizations (too late) and connections, understanding and regret, and trying now to make sense of so much that didn't make sense before.  I'm reviewing my past with this new lens, to see if it looks any different or makes more sense with this new realization.  It's like when you watch a movie and there is some major twist at the end, and it makes you want to watch the whole movie again to see if it makes the movie seem any different, now that you know.  If there were any signs, any clues.  If the movie makes any more sense now that you know this key fact -- like in The Sixth Sense, when you find out at the end that Bruce Willis is dead.  Doesn't everyone have the impulse to watch the whole movie again, to see how they could have missed that?  Well, that's how I feel.  I feel like I have to go through my whole life again, to see how I could have missed this.  Were there signs that I was gay?  I feel like this is the sudden twist but if I looked closely, there must have been clues.

I mean, who am I kidding, right?  I already admitted I was bisexual.  Couldn't it have been conceivable, then?  I never really entertained the possibility.  Strangely, though.  I am still searching for the answer as to why.  Was it religion?  I rejected my religion on grounds of sexism at a fairly young age.  I have been a feminist as early as I can remember.  In fact, I still have a book that I checked out of the library when I was 8 years old called "Rebel in Petticoats" which chronicled the life of suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  When I did speeches in English class, I would talk about the subjugation of women, how women made on average twenty-five cents on the dollar less than their male counterparts in the workforce (this was during my sophomore year, the figure may have changed by now), female circumcision in other countries, and other gender inequalities.  My church did not allow women to vote and when I stumbled upon the verse in the bible that mentioned some silly nonsense about women remaining silent and not being allowed to teach, I rejected Christianity altogether.  I would have no part in an organization that did not regard me as an equal, because I firmly believed that no man was above any woman, and I refused to let anyone tell me any different. 

Of course, I'm going off on a tangent, but my point is this:  I had no problem asserting my feminism despite the fact that it went against my religious teachings.  So, if I felt that I was attracted to women, why would religion have stopped me in that regard?  It couldn't have been religious guilt.  It must have gone deeper than that.  I must have felt that it was truly, morally WRONG and DIRTY.  I'm not sure why, though.  Society?  My parents certainly never directly said anything like that, although of course they expected me to date boys.  I mean, that IS the status quo for a girl, is it not?  I remember having a dream when I was about 13 about having sex with a girl, and I woke up horrified.  There was this part of myself -- this subconscious, this uncontrollable -- that had betrayed me, and there was nothing I could do to force it to THINK what I wanted to think, to OBEY me, and I was terrified at that thought.  That my dreams were beyond the scope of my control.  At least when I think, if an unwelcome thought enters my brain, I can say, "LALALALALALA" or think of something else.  This dream, though...what did it mean?  What did that say about me?  I felt filthy.  I tried to rationalize it away and force myself to forget about it and pretend any number of things to ease my conscience, but that my rebellious mind could go to a place that I was so uncomfortable with had deeply unsettled me.  Why?  I still don't know.

When I lost my virginity, the decision was made with a clinical detachment.  It was time, I wanted it to be done and over with.  I didn't want that hanging over my head so I decided to get it out of the way.  I didn't even have a boyfriend when I made the decision -- actually, I was 13 when I made the decision, which really worried my mom.  It wasn't that I was uncontrollably horny or anything, I just didn't want this VIRGINITY thing to have any power over me anymore.  When you're a teenager you give an improper amount of power to this silly thing, and it was looming over me.  I wanted to know what I was doing when the time came, so I read a lot of books, listened to a couple books on tape, and did my research until the BIG DAY when I was 15.  It really sucked, which I hear is common for most girls for their first time.  The next time sucked, and the time after that, and the time after that...

I kept doing it, though.  I never had an orgasm -- at ALL, even from myself -- until I was 18, but I was quite promiscuous.  Why?  If I didn't enjoy it, why did I do it?  Well, if you ask me now, I will probably tell you I think I did it because I was supposed to like it, and I wanted people to think I liked it.  That's not really all of it, though.  Sexuality and emotion are not so separate for me, and not everything is so black and white.  I might be realizing now that I am gay, and I might agree even "reviewing the tapes" that I was never sexually attracted to a man, but I have loved men.  And although I may not have enjoyed having sex with them, I knew that they enjoyed having sex with me.  In a teenage girl's mind, giving a boy sex seems like a reasonable way to make him love you.  It is a gift you can give him that will make him happy, and if he is happy, he will stay.  Of course I learned, like every other teenage girl, that it doesn't work out that way.  And, straight or not, I suffered heartbreak right along with the rest of them.

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