Femme Writes: A victim. A survivor. A sufferer. August 5, 2010Posted by jeneypeney in femme writes, life, the 'f' word, women's writes.
On the 5th of every month, bloggers from around the world are open to write about rights and issues concerning women. First started by Shine and Marie, we’re hoping to bring a variety of women’s issues to the forefront to make people aware of what’s going on. For the month of July, we’ve chosen to write about Physical and Mental Abuse. Please join us in telling us your stories, thoughts, and ideas on a monthly basis. To read previous installments, click here.
***WARNING*** This post will probably shock 99.9% of you who read it. I have decided to be brutally honest in this post and I am holding nothing back. I haven’t spoken of these things very often or very recently to anyone – some of them I have never mentioned until now – so read ahead at your own risk.
I would bet that most of those who know me would never guess that I was a victim of sexual abuse from the time I was a small child through my years as an undergraduate. Upon first impressions, I probably come by as a well-adjusted, happy, and relatively normal twenty something girl trying to make her way in the world.
You’d never guess that inside I am constantly fighting feelings of guilt, shame, worthlessness, pain… the list goes on.
I wrote about one of the instances of the abuse I suffered as a child before for Violence Unsilenced* – and at the time it was the most difficult thing I had ever done.
I was wrong.
Writing about it a second time, now, for Femme Writes is the hardest thing I have ever done. Why? Because for some reason memories I had suppressed and completely forgotten about are coming back and I’m not sure how to handle it all.
I suddenly remembered it all started in the first grade when the boy I was assigned to sit next to in class would expose himself to me on the playground. Because he thought it was funny.
Then in third grade another boy talked me into taking all my clothes off for him. Because “that’s what boyfriends and girlfriends do together.”
Then when I was 12, the mailman molested me right outside my home – along with several other young girls on our route. Because he was sick in the head.
Exactly a year later, a very close family friend molested and penetrated me with his fingers while he thought I was sleeping. Because he was drunk.
When I was a junior in college, I was forced to go down on a guy at a house party. Because he was pissed that I wouldn’t sleep with him.
The one that finally broke me? When I “blacked in” after a long night of drinking and the boy I had been flirting with all night was on top of me… and inside of me. Because I wasn’t coherent enough to stop him.
After all of this, I went though a long, awful phase where I would get absurdly drunk and sleep with inappropriate people. I didn’t know how to handle all the pain and unwanted guilt I had in my heart and mind. I felt so worthless, unwanted, and broken. Acting out as I did was the only way I could just not feel… even if it was for only a few hours.
It didn’t help that by best friend only judged me for my behavior. She wrote me off as a reckless slut and turned against me. I know I probably deserved it, but I think deep down I wanted her to ask me what was wrong and why I was being so stupid. I just wanted someone to care about me.
I am still learning to get over my feelings of guilt and broken-ness. It’s a process though, and I’m not sure if I ever will truly be fixed.
I was a victim. I am a survivor. But I am still suffering… and I fear I may always be.
* My post has not yet been published as the waiting list is about eleventy billion months long… but as soon as it is posted I well let you all know.
Photoshop my ass! (…please?) July 5, 2010Posted by jeneypeney in all growed up, femme writes, girl problems, life, piss and moan, pop culture, the 'f' word.
On the 5th of every month, bloggers from around the world are open to write about rights and issues concerning women. First started by Shine and Marie, we’re hoping to bring a variety of women’s issues to the forefront to make people aware of what’s going on. For the month of July, we’ve chosen to write about Body Image. Please join us in telling us your stories, thoughts, and ideas on a monthly basis. To read previous installments, click here.
I am not going to lie, I have struggled with my own body image for as long as I can remember. But at the same time, I’ve been absolutely fascinated with the theory of it. I even spent the majority of my junior and senior year of college researching the effects of alcohol and liquor advertising on women’s self-body image for my undergraduate thesis.*
I took a class called Theory of Female Beauty my senior year where we had one assignment in which we all had to select a picture of ourselves and manipulate it to make ourselves “ideal” and “ugly”.
This is the photo I started with:
This is what happened when I gave myself more make-up, bigger boobs, more blonde hair, and smoother skin:
And for a good laugh, this is what I did to make myself “ugly”:
Pretty ridiculous, huh?
To be completely frank, there is absolutely no reason for me to have issues with how my body looks. I am 5’2″, about 130 lbs, with 35, 31, 39 measurements. But when I look in the mirror every morning? I see a less than perfect woman staring back at me who could use a chin reduction and a couple hundred more sit-ups at the gym.
And the most frustrating and infuriating part about this? I hold a minor in Women’s Studies from a prestigious all women’s college. I know this “perfect figure” we are all chasing after is as realistic as sparkly vampires and horcruxes. I know all those magazine covers are photoshopped to high hell and back. I know this.
Ladies and gentlemen, we all know this.
I really wish I had some sort of earth-shattering and mind-blowing way to end to this post – but there is nothing I can say that has not been said before…
Just take a close look at the images I posted – and remember them the next time you see Charlize Theron or Matthew McConaughey looking all sexy and perfect on a magazine cover. It didn’t take millions of hours at the gym and a diet of Fiji water and carrots to look like that – it took a couple clicks and a few brush strokes.
*If anyone wants to read all the mumbo-jumbo I wrote, presented, and defended – shoot me and e-mail and I can send it to you.