Friday, July 29, 2016

The Past Opened Up

Life has been so beautiful.  You know when things are cruising- you and your spouse are communicating well, life is blissful, wonderfully in love - the world is at peace.  I ought to know that all HELL will break loose in that moment.

That is exactly what happened last week.  I went out with my girlfriends and was having a tremendously great time- when the conversation moved in a direction that I did not expect- bisexuality. I was a bit uncomfortable with the conversation, but I really try to be open minded so I let her talk about what she is going through and let her be her.  What a beautiful gift to give a friend- They are ok where they are! But I really wasn't ok inside.  I started panicing, worrying.  Edmond and I stayed up till 3am trying to process why I was so triggered.

Over the next few days memories started flooding my mind- moments in time that I had long buried and tried to forget, praying that it really wasn't me that lived that moment.  You see when I was 9 or 10, I went on to a friend's house for a play date- innocent enough- I have kids that age and they do play dates all the time.  Only my friend and I didn't just play ponies, barbies and board games.  She taught me foreplay and love making skills.  I liked it enough to introduce a few friends to this new game.  The "play" lasted a summer- and made an appearance at my birthday slumber party where a few friends told me how they didn't think it was right- they weren't comfortable.  I think that was the last time I played that game.

The sexual arousal I experienced with girls was confusing.  I stole a couple pictures of busty bikini baring ladies my mom was throwing out of dad's Sports Illustrated magazine.  I kept them in my drawer and told myself that I liked to look at them because the swimsuits were really pretty.  I sat uncomfortably close to other girls.  I was fascinated with grown women's cleavage and would stare at it.  I remember my mom finding the pictures and her asking me if I liked girls not boys.  I laughed at her- and made sure to modify my behavior.  Because really, all I wanted was a boy to like me- hold my hand and maybe kiss me.. But I was always interested, fascinated, aroused by the female body.  Never once did I connect my sexual introduction by a female to that arousal by other women...

By the time I was fourteen all that was buried deep. The memory resurfaced during college when I began dating Edmond.  I went to my bishop to "confess" and to make sure I was temple worthy- I felt so much shame for what I had done and what I did to my friends (I never even considered that what was done to me was a form of sexual abuse, all I felt was shame for what I did)- I didn't want that to hold me back from a future temple marriage.  The bishop assured me that I was good, long forgiven and not to worry about it.  Spiritually I was clean. Maybe Satan was bringing it up to hold me  back from my real potential as a daughter of God. A great concept that I held on to firmly, desperately.  Anytime the memory arose, I said, Satan, I am clean!  But emotionally the wound was still open.

As I look back on almost 19 years of marriage, I can see how this experience has shaped my intimacy with Edmond- certain things are off limits or just don't happen because they were part of that shameful "play." This impacted my friendships- I was always trying to make up for being the friend who actually hurts others- I had to be the perfect friend, compassionate, listening, helping.  EVERYTHING to make up for what I had done.  It sure impacts the clothes I am comfortable wearing.  Some clothes (bikinis, plunging necklines) are shameful, sexual, lustful pieces of clothing and should be used for the bedroom only, and girls- especially teens- who wear them are only doing so to elicit arousal and attention from teenage boys. Add in LDS taboos and modestly entrenched that sentiment.

So here I am, trying to figure out what I think, what I feel and what I want. (sigh) Trying to figure out that I am still okay and lovable. The best, most wonderful part of the situation is how supportive, kind and caring Edmond has been during the process.  Holding me when all I could do was cry. Gently rubbing my back as I try to get this all out. Accepting that I may be attracted to women and not caring one bit. Loving me just the same.

And then I understood. Edmond's gift of love, acceptance and support- love I didn't feel I deserved or warranted- was the same gift I had given him 3 years ago when he confessed his addiction issues.  When I loved and accepted Edmond and helped him through his addiction, I never understood the magnitude of just being there and being kind.  Edmond's generosity, kindness and love has lifted me and helped me each day.  In small and simple ways he blesses my life.  I feel loved, I feel honored, I feel accepted.  What greater gift can we give the people we love?

Kindness. Love. Acceptance.

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