light through the layers of his lies

woman in a gas mask, naked, lying flat and looking out at the viewerNote: this morning’s write contains some explicit writing around sexual violence. Just a heads-up: please be easy with you. xox, Jen

I’m in that very-tired place that comes just before bleeding, at least for me. So my thoughts are slow this morning and I’d like another several hours of sleep.

This month’s Writing the Flood is coming up this Saturday, 10/16: want to come out and write?

Some exciting plans are in the works — Alex Cafarelli and I are again going to be offering our Body Empathy workshop next month on Nov 13! Registration is open now — more info soon here and on the calendar page.


For our first prompt last night, I offered these three fragments:

– There’s no way to describe how…

– I’m coming out as…

– The world begins at a kitchen table (Joy Harjo)

(Grab one of these and use it for your own write this morning: we took 20 minutes; please take as much time as you’d like– follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go).

Here’s my response to this exercise:

There’s no way to describe how slow it used to go, the panic, the rising, the waiting. I’m not sure where I want to go with this.

There’s no way to describe how the waiting used to feel, how cold the silence was in our house when my mother was still at work showing picture books and anatomically-correct dolls to her child clients in the sterile plush of her therapist office and her husband was at home with her daughters, wanting and jockeying to make an anatomically-correct doll of himself for us to play with.

I wanted this to be a poem but it’s just the same old story and I’m coming out as not quite ready to let go trying to tell you how it was. This is an awful memory: he was the one who taught me both the hatefulness and acceptability of queerness, the way he’d mock and cackle over gay men he knew, decry their mother issues, their obvious narcissism, and then later, mucfh later, in bed with me(and how much I need a phrase that incorporates the tender brutality of a forced and enforced consent into something as plain and bald as ‘rape’), he would detail his own bisexuality, he wanted to form an allegiance with me, but I couldn’t agree too easily, because of the doublethink and the nausea that caused.

What bed was that in, and what house? Somehow now I’m imagining a bed that never could have been, and so it must have been the couch — I hate worrying into these details, and it’s only in the details that I survive.

I had already met gay people who weren’t raopists, so there was no chance that i would conflate his rabid bullshit with gayness, period. He wanted me to mut my finger in his butt and I’ll tell you that I did it, just one more shitty thing I did to survive. I had learned from safer sex lectures how to be careful, and I leanrd the awful power of penetrating. I never wanted anything of him on me. He made this connection, wathing something in his butt made him gay, and then talked about the consensual sex he says he had with his uncle when he was a little boy.

This was when his stories started unraveling. This was when I began to see light through the layers of his lies. This was when I did as I was told, but kept some handle on the part of me I put away, the part that sat heavy with the stones of his stories, the part that came back after he was finished and I was alive again.

Thank you for your gentleness with yourself today, with all the yous you’ve been, with all you’ve done and do to survive. Your being is important, and I’m grateful for you.

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