It occurred to me as you sat next to me, as we rode back to the city, that I do not know what it feels like to get weak in the knees. The described jelly-like feeling that makes the flesh, and depending on how potent, the spirit melt when in the presence of someone. When thoughts of another body take up … or over the mind. I smirked at myself at the thought. I just learned something new about myself. Something…powerful. (Stay with me, you’ll understand)
Not over anyone have I lost myself completely. Let me scratch that! Losing oneself over someone, I will NEVER do. Losing myself for someone, I might choose to. Losing oneself OVER and FOR another are not the same. When you lose yourself over someone, your entire world perambulates around, within, on and beneath them. When you lose yourself for someone, the planet of your existence does not revolve within their solar system because you ARE your own solar system. You ARE your sun and your moon and your Venus and your Mercury. When you lose yourself for someone, your solar system stretches out… intentionally or unintentionally to give and take between both systems. There is choice in this engagement. However both suns need to burn just as hot and the moon needs to cool just as dim else one system will intentionally or unintentionally be taken over or take over the other. Losing yourself for another usually means you get to keep semblances of yourself, no matter how small. It will always be there for you to call on, and draw upon when you need to or want to. Now that we have the difference clearly etched in our minds (I hope we have), my main point is that I do not think I have ever lost myself over another. My knees have never failed me but I have had flies in my stomach. I would have said butterflies but those are usually too pretty to take up habitation in the acid filled darkroom we call a stomach. They would not survive there. Flies however are notoriously persistent and ever present.
Once as a teenager, I felt flies in my belly. They tickled my insides when I thought of this boy I used to banter and fight with. We’d been apart for a few months and when I got back, I guess I had changed. Before I left, I was sharp-mouthed with him. When I got back, he did things and said things and played me songs and looked at me in ways that tickled my insides. He pumped my gut with flies. He was the first to ask “will you be my girlfriend?” The flies in my gut betrayed me. I should have waited longer than I did. Maybe a day at least. Two or three even. To be coy you see. I barely made it past a few hours after I’d told him “I’ll think about it!” I called back to say “yes!” His arrogant and cocky lips told me he knew I would say yes. He really knew what to do. He knew how to evoke the gods of the sonic waves to throw me into a trance. One that sucked out the logic of sense from my budding teenage brain. Music IS my primary mumu button. But it MUST be the right kind.
When he called my grandmother’s phone one random afternoon to play for me D’Banjs’ Fall In Love, I thought, is this what falling in love feels like? Is this what being loved feels like? The intentional thought of the most mundane materialized through action? It was the first time anyone had done anything of that sort for me. There had been other ‘ishes’ that I had been in with people I felt comfortable with who I did care about and who wanted me. It felt really good to be wanted. It feels great to be wanted. It felt nice to be held. Later I will learn as I grow that the way I was held then, I should not have been. The people who were engaging with me then, should not have engaged with me. I was a child; they were children too… just old enough to be considered legal adults per the constitution. Teenagers/young adults’ clout of being able to “mess with” x y z number of girls was a flex for their kind.
As my brain grows limbs to walk its own path, I think about how fucked up it is, the things we’ve encouraged our young boy-men to be, to do…to believe. The fucked-up things that happen under the guise of ‘boys will always be boys’. How fucked up it is that as a girl or woman, I must shoulder the responsibility of guarding myself. Girlhood and womanhood have no manual. The closest thing to a manual is having another woman or girl guide you using the red ink and tears in their life chapters as a map for your path. I had no map. I will become the map for my younger ones.
For years I would believe it was my fault for spending time in the ‘safe’ cocoon(s) that were created by these childmen. For years I would think “why and how did I let him touch me the way he did?” For years I would cringe and feel dirty thinking about how one of these guys would fondle my breasts and put his dick in my hands and ask me to stroke it. For years I would not be able to tell anyone that one time as we sat and watched a movie at a neighbor’s and I leaned into my male cousin, he would reach down and press my breasts. For years I would not tell anyone that when I was younger than 10, and I played with the children of the family whose driver gave me a ride to school, their son would stick his fingers in my something and because I did not know what was happening, I let it happen. For years I would not tell anyone that I never wanted to upset the people who so provided ‘safe spaces’ for me. If they wanted to kiss or touch me and I did not feel comfortable and they got upset, I would concede and then feel like the devil’s shit. That the first time I had sex was without my consent. That there were many unmentioned thank yous and debts I paid with my vagina because I felt I had no choice. Indeed, in the realities of those days I did not have a choice.
For years, it would always be my fault! I would blame myself for not knowing better. Sometimes, even now, I blame myself. Not as much. I was a child. Home was not safe. I NEEDED to get out. I wanted to be loved. I wanted softness and warmth and a place to express my curiosities. I wanted a space where the people meant to protect and guide me would look at me and tell me how proud they were of the efforts I WAS putting in. Not a space that regurgitated continuously how much of a ‘useless fellow’ I was despite how much my body broke over and over again in labor to that space. As imaginative and colorful as existence is for me, I cannot paint a picture of my life devoid of physical pain. (I have two therapists and a mentor to work through the emotional and spirit level shit). To be broken over and again, physically.
I wanted a place with no pain. I want a place devoid of pain. A place filled with softness and pleasure.
His room cocooned my physical body. Often dark inside, the rest of the world faded away. His room sheltered me, temporarily from the ghosts of adult hands cutting through nothing to arrive on my cheeks. Physical pain. Broken over and over again. Sometimes with a cane. I hid it a few times, you know. I was not about to go down without a fight. I could not hide the hose that connected the gas stove to the cylinder though. I felt that vividly on my skin. The ghost still lingers but barely.
His room cocooned me. His mother always made sure I was fed. His father, I think, suspected his son was more than sheltering me. He did not want me there with him..alone. Why did he not say something clearly? But it would also mean he didn’t trust his son? So when this boy, the first boyfriend, sent me love songs and actually ASKED me to be his girl, it felt different. It felt nice. He was direct in his want of me. No one had been direct. Not in their want of me or in their disdain. They always implied through actions and meandering language. Perhaps this first boyfriend is the first and only time I lost myself over someone.
Outside of him, I’ve lost myself in confusion. I have lost myself in uncertainty. I have not found all of myself. But I have found enough to hold in my hands the most delicate parts of me. Cocooned from physical pain. Cocooned from slaughterhouses fronting to be cocoons. Cocooned by the wings that I made grow from the wounds on my back from the canes that landed there over and over again.
Sitting in the rickety trotro that made an ungodly number of stops, I reflected on the night before. YES I initiated a way to get your girlfriend out of your space so I could have you under my thumb without disrespecting another woman. YES I knew she was there. Our friend had told me. But you said she was not supposed to be so I made it easy. I would show up (with our mutual friend of course) and we would BE. She would have two options, to join in with the vibe which would be great, or she would feel out of place and leave. She left. The last time we were in space, pheromones were tense. The sexual tension could be sawed into splinters. I was partnered and my partner and I had not agreed on an open relationship so I would not act on it. Besides, just because we had sexual tension did not mean I necessarily wanted to be sexual with a man. I have not fucked a man in four years and I do not miss it.
Seeing you this time was good. We fooled around like we usually do… not the sexual kind naaahhh… just ridiculous banter about how you have convinced yourself that I am a witch. I c orrect you and tell you that I AM a g(G)od/dess. I do not feel our chemistry from before. Maybe it’s the gas in my belly taking up so much space the flies have been squeezed to a corner. I would still look at you from beneath my eyelashes because, why not. It is one of the many ways I cast one of my minor spells. I realllllyyyy like casting spells…I am finding out. You will look at me and shake your head. I still do not feel our chemistry from before.
When it is time for me to go, you play-tell me, you will follow me to the hotel. I pull on my witchcraft and do not say yes but change the cadence and tone and pace of my voice to seemingly imply that perhaps it is not a bad idea. This is all a game really. I do not want you there. I am tired. You are tired. We agree on this. Today, I tell you that had you followed me, we probably would have not slept. We probably would not fuck. I do not have any desire to fuck a man at this point in my life. We would not sleep because we would talk so much shit. We have a whole year of shit to cover. We would lose sleep. We would be tired from the work we are supposed to be doing the next morning. Work that I am paying for. I still don’t feel the chemicals of the chemistry.
In my hotel, thoughts of you do not make my insides flicker. It does not even make me smile in anticipation of want. What I do smile about is how I concocted to get your woman out and I did. In the bus back to the city, the chemicals are STILL not chemistrying. I care about you. But as I sit here right now, I am realizing, perhaps the ghost of the chemicals that we chemisted is one I held in my head. It is one I made linger. The ghost was one I animated and the animation really did not want to be here because it was not here. The chemistry from last year, that was real. I realize I made its ghost real too. But it never had a ghost, not even a shadow. I sit here realizing that I feel absolutely nothing for you. I feel nothing… nothing for anyone. Some people though, I will MAKE the choice to INTENTIONALLY foreground them in my life. To take those everyday actions to show them that they hold very special places in my life. Amass the moments that become memories we smile and laugh about. You are not one of those unfortunately. You do not take a back seat. But you are just not a priority. And no matter what or who, I….YES The g/God(dess) that I am, will always take priority first. Now this is why I cannot lose myself OVER anyone.