Coming back to old knowing

The first official non-NaMaMo post, here eleven days into the new month. I think I said, at the end of the last post, that I’d be back here tomorrow — that I’d still be coming and posting. And it turns out that I was wrong: I needed a break after the intensity of the month; after thirty-one days of thinking about how I was going to write about my orgasm as I was coming, I needed some time to get out of that sort of meta-masturbatory headspace, and think again about coming just for me.

Too much interrogation of my sex, of how I’m doing it, of what I’m doing wrong and what I want to do better (too much allowing myself even to think in terms of wrong and better when it comes to sex!), and I begin to feel like I’m back home in Omaha in the house my stepfather built, and that’s not at all the sort of coming home we’re supposed to be talking about here on this blog. So I took gave my fingers some days off; in the shower, for the better part of a week, I just showered. I took the writing, this project of returning to the wholeness of my erotic embodiment, back offline — and now I want to share with you some of what I wrote just this weekend:

Thirty minutes to write until the laundry is done. I read Eric Maisel while I eat breakfast: He says you must create from exactly where you are, in the middle of your everything — keep writing. Drop everything. Make a schedule and keep it. There’s no “getting away from it all” — the only way to create is to figure out how to do it in the middle of your everything. (And isn’t that true for these layers of recovery, too?) 

On Friday, I told my friend that I’m beginning to look around the edges of the lens of Incest, I’m beginning to wonder what exists of my sexuality not shaded or shaped by trauma. I tell her, Incest has been the lens through which I took in my entire life, and I thought I would be that way forever. Incest shaped everything, colored and bent everything; there was no pat of me not affected, not permanently altered.  

I saw the world through/as Incest, even before (could it be?) I saw the world through/as woman, through white/Caucasian, through middle-class: it was my assumption and breath, was my body and blood, my blink. The chalk taste that lined and limned the inside of my mouth, my tongue, the scrape that bit and bore at my shoulders. Incest was my base, by assured knowledge, the playing field, it’s where I always started from — always and first. How could there be any way around that? 

You understand about the kind of lenses I’m talking about, right? I’m talking about the way we look at the world, those experiences or identity that affect and shape how we see the world around us and that we expect to shape and affect how the world engages us; I’m talking about a constantly-worn pair of glasses, often that we don’t even know (aren’t expected to know) that we’re wearing. Think about gender, sexuality, race, class, national or regional identity, ability, physical size, education, political belief system, friend network, community, experience of trauma — we have so many lenses that, subtly or radically, alter how we view the world, how we experience our every day. Incest has been the lens I look through first, consistently. 

What I’m talking about is this: Incest has been my clapboard, it’s been my house. It’s been the sum total of my sexuality. Of course, that’s not entirely fair — but can I be honest? Incest has been the root reality of my sex, the place I come from. because I have so few memories of sexual experience prior to my stepfather’s indoctrinations and abuse, I cradled sex and shame together (which, as an American woman, would have been my birthright anyway); I experienced my sex as entirely inflected by Incest — the grace note that wouldn’t go away, my entire sexual foundation, lodestone, education. 

I am beginning to ask, now, if that’s actually true. I am beginning to question that lens, I am noticing that I have the ability to look around its edges, to view (and thereby engage) the world with a different valence. 

What does a lens do? Focuses. Colors. Textures. Opens or closes. Commutes. Centers or blurs. Shades or clarifies. It changes what and how we (can) see. What if this Incest lens isn’t soldered around the insides of my eye sockets (like Molly Millions‘ mirror shades were)?
What if I can take them off? What if I can choose not to look at the world through Incest? 

I am not ready to remove my Incest glasses — I am afraid of who I will be without that mantlepiece, without that wedge and megaphone. I can’t quite imagine who I could be without them on. But I have a strong experience right now of peering around the edges into the body of my sex and finding brought colors there, new morning sun, finding heat and breeze, Finding my unincested body, a girl child with skin and nerves and bones, a girl child with hope and silence, with the fairy tale romanttic desire to be swept up and away, a girl child who played bondage games with a neighborhood friend — who had a sexuality before Incest. One that preceded Incest. 

Ten years ago, I wrote: “Incest is the coffee I drink, all the air I breathe.” 

Today I am inhaling this possibility: that might not be true. Incest is not the air I breathe, not the food I eat. It is a lens, an experience, a knowledge, it is a knowledge my body holds.  What if Incest is not the only way of knowing anymore?

I’m off to spend a bit more time with this body, fingering into what unIncested particles are percolating around under my skin. Be as easy with you as you can be. Come again, just as you are.