Tuesday, August 10, 2010

And it all comes flooding back

(I know this video is about abuse more physical then what I went through, but the first time I watched it I seemed so familiar, that push/pull on/off feeling rang very true.)

I've mentioned before my first boyfriend P. We were together for almost 3 years. I moved to the city with him. We lived together after we broke up for another 9 months. What I don't often tell people is that the relationship was emotionally abusive. P spent a lot of time isolating me from my friends, he would tell me how ugly or fat I was, but how he still loved me and I should be grateful to have him. He never trusted me and used to call me a whore and accuse me of sleeping with other people despite the fact that I never did and never even came close. He controlled every aspect of my life to the point where I started doing things I didn't want to to please him and just stopped going out with my friends or going to any parties (and I was in college at the time, so there were plenty going on) because I didn't want to face the interrogation and accusations afterward. I was reamed out if I ever didn't answer my phone or immediately text him.

Through all that, I stayed, in large part because he spent most of the effort he put into the relationship to convincing me that I couldn't do better. That I was weird, I was fat, I was stupid, I was ugly, and no one else would have me. At first, I tried to break up with him, but he would cry since he knew it was my weak point, or later on, when that stopped working, he would make veiled suicide threats instead, until finally, I resigned myself to staying with him. Right before I started dating him, I had injured my knee, and started gaining weight. He dated me through the weight gain and made sure I knew it. When I was at my weakest point, with little self esteem, something in me broke, and I started to eat up everything he told me.

I would complain about him to my friends, and when I was alone, I knew how much I hated him, but I didn't leave. Even after we broke up, we weren't really. We still had sex, we still we completely enmeshed in each other's lives, I still paid for everything he had, including the apartment we shared. Nothing changed, but he used the break up as an excuse to bring other girls home and have loud sex when he knew I would hear it. He also creepily listened in and masturbated during the one time I brought someone home during our cohabitation.

Finally my best friend put his foot down. We kicked him out. I still saw him all the time (he worked at my local grocery store), and I occasionally broke down and had sex with him. Finally, about 18 months ago, I decided I'd had enough. I started deleting him from my life. His number, his email addresses, his facebook, were deleted or blocked. I even started grocery shopping somewhere else this past month.

But today, I saw him as one of the visitors to my online dating profile. Then he texted me. I can't seem to get him out of my life, no matter how hard I try, and he, for the life of him, can't understand why I would want to. He maintains he never did anything wrong. He thinks it was all in my head. That's the source of his power. Any chink in my armor lets in those thoughts that I'm just crazy, and as soon as I saw his name, that's exactly what happened. All those doubts, those worries come flooding back. I start to wonder if I should just date him again. I worry that all those things he said about me were true, that I'll never find someone else who will "put up with me."

It took me a long time to acknowledge just how bad our relationship was. I didn't call it abusive until recently, and it ended years ago, but even through everything I went through with him, even though I can't stand him, part of me feels this constant pull to go back to him. I don't think I ever will. I feel like my roommate and parents would pull me away by my hair if they had to, but they would never let me go back.

... After typing that last sentence, and realizing how true it is that everyone stopping me is probably the only thing that's kept us apart for so long breaks my heart a little. I can only hope someday he's no longer that little voice of doubt in the back of my head.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Adventures in Online Dating: Episode 8

When I get the instant messages from people on the dating sight, I'm generally pretty open about writing this blog. I often field questions, but I honestly kind of like it, since I figure it allows me to maybe open some minds. When having one such conversation recently, a boy asked me what I thought about sex toys. I told him I thought positively, and that honestly I didn't really see how there could be any negatives. To which he replied...

There can be, depending on the type of toys.

if you go too big, or overuse you can loose sensitivity or elasticisity

NO NO NO NO! I proceeded to tell him that wasn't actually true, he continued to tell me that was just my opinion.

The fact is sex toys don't decrease your sensitivity or stretch you out, and that kind of attitude it exactly what I'm trying to prevent and change with this site. But generally telling someone who tells you that they review sex toys that they are loose and won't be able to cum from sex is generally a bad idea, FYI. So until the next weird/ridiculous/douche-y thing I get in my inbox or messenger remember, if you don't know, ask, and if you're unsatisfied, give direction!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Memory in the Music

I don't know about you guys, but I have a soundtrack for my life. I almost always have music playing in my head, and spend most of my life out in public insulated in a bubble of music that blots out the rest of the world. I also tend towards falling in love with one or two artists at a time, where I will listen to same album or albums for months, then move on to someone new. But each of the bands or artists were on repeat for some part of my life. After I've moved on, the music keeps that place, that time, the people I was with, the feelings I had, it all stays with the music.

I have always been very connected to music. I know that everyone says that, and I feel like it's probably true for everyone. But as someone who doesn't easily express emotions, nothing makes me feel like music can. I sit stoically though tear jerker movies and books, but put on "Hurt" (I'm more partial to Johnny Cash's version, but anyone singing it will do), and I'm wiping away tears and pretending to be sniffling from a sudden and acute case of allergies. I use music to express the feelings I'm not comfortable expressing myself. I put on music that inspires specific emotions when I want to feel them, or when I want to remind myself of someone or something that has started to fade. However, these songs always inspire these emotions, weither I want them to or not, so when I hear them and I didn't intend to, it's like a punch to the stomach. A rush of pain, or anger, or loss can stop me in my tracks in the middle of a grocery store, or biking on a trail having carelessly left my ipod on shuffle.

I've been working on this. Working on letting go of the memories associated with those songs that hurt me. Reminding myself of the good things that happened while those songs were playing in the background. Trying to just let myself feel nothing as I listen to music I loved at one point. I've been mining my ipod for music that I'd long ago forgotten. They do make me think of the exs of the time, but for the first time, I've been able to just enjoy the music for what it is, instead of the emotions it evoked. So now I have a whole world of music to rediscover.... so if you don't mind me, I have some Flogging Molly, Tegan and Sara, and MGMT to listen to, so I'll sign off as always reminding you if you don't know, ask, and if you're unsatisfied, give direction.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Grooming Part 2: Taking it off

Like I said before, the decision to shave, trim, groom, what have you, is a personal one, and everyone gets to make that choice themselves, based on their own desires, not society or any one person's expectations. With that said, if you chose to take your pubic off or down, there are a multitude of ways to do so. All have their pros and cons, and I bounce back and forth between a lot of different things, depending on where I am, who's going to be seeing me naked, and what I have on hand.

1. Shaving - the old stand by
Pros- cheap, convient, can do it yourself, not painful
Cons - oh god the ingrown hairs, grows back quickly, coarse hair stubble

If you're going to shave, make sure you use a good shaving cream, I reviewed Wet brand's shaving cream. I also really like coochy shave cream (yeah, I know, stupid name, but it works really well) and Alba brand shave cream (which I get a whole foods). These are all the kinds that are an actual cream that rubs into your skin, as opposed to the shave gels or foams that sit on top, I've found they soften the hair better. I also recommend not using those female branded razors that everyone has, they get the job done and everything, but I've always preferred the Mach 3 it designed to take of coarser hair, it tends to be cheaper, and it fits on the venus handle if you already have one, I've always found them to give me a smoother shave, on any part of my body. Also, make sure you take a long shower or bath before hand. Finally, be careful not to nick yourself, pull things tight, become a contortionist if you have to, but I have a friend with a permanently notched labia as a result of a hasty and sloppy shave job. So be careful!

2. Waxing

Pros- Lasts longer then most methods, stubble is softer
Cons - expensive, ingrown hairs, may require nudity with a stranger, hair has to be at least 1/4 inch long for it to work

I had my legs waxed for years, and eventually my bikini line as well, but I've never gotten a brazilian. I consulted a friend who has. She said it's pretty painful, especially the mons pubis, but she thinks it's worth it. Hair grows in 3 2 weeks cycles, so for this method to be affective, you have to go either every two weeks or every 6, and you can't shave in between. Now the main thing to remember with waxing is that, if done wrong, it can lead to all sorts of problems, so if the place doesn't feel as sanitary as a doctor's office, don't let them near you. If the waxer does not put new paper on the table, put on new gloves, and uses a a new stick every time she goes to apply wax, DO NOT LET HER NEAR YOU. With waxing, this is not a place to skimp, generally the more upscale a salon, the more likely they will be cleanly/sanitary, though this is not always the case, so pay attention, and if something feels off, trust your instincts. Also, a brazilian will require you to be up on all fours and on your back with your legs spread in front of a total stranger, so it's not for the faint at heart.

3. Hair Removal Creams

Pros- Cheap, easy, can do it yourself, lasts slightly longer then shaving
Cons- Smells bad, ingrown hairs, may cause chemical burn

I'm not actually recommending this since on every brand they have warnings everywhere not to put this stuff on your vulva, but the honest fact is I've done it. I don't have sensitive skin, so I've never gotten chemical burn, but my roommate used it on his back and did, so really, don't do it. If you insist, don't put it on your labia, mons pubis only, but really, just don't. If you do, I'm taking no responsibility on you getting chemical burn on your most sensitive areas.

4. Electric Razor

Pros- Quick, no ingrown hairs, don't have to do it in the shower
Cons- Can be expensive up front, can pull if not charged

This is the method I'd settled on in the last few years. There is the full range of electric razors ranging from over 100 dollars to 15ish. I picked up a little con air one for 20 bucks at Ulta about 2 years ago. The little thing happily trimmed my hair close but not shaved completely since then. However, since a run in with my roommate's back hair, it has offically died and has been functioning as an epilady, slowly pulling each hair out individually. I need to replace it, but it proves that you don't have to go for one of the super expensive models for it to last a while and work well. I highly recommend it if you don't want to fully shave but prefer to trim you pubic hair short.

So, take these options, with of course full, natural bush also being an option as well, and weigh the pros and cons for yourself. Try anything and see how you like the feeling and the look of fully shaved, trimmed, natural and see what you like. And, don't forget, if you don't know, ask, if you're unsatisfied, give direction.