When I was thirteen, I joined a Star Wars club on IRC. That club became a huge part of my life, but that’s another story entirely. At around the time of my being fourteen, I was “dating” a boy. I met him offline once, and he was very sweet, but there were several problems with our relationship – including the fact that he took a bottle of pills while on the phone with me.
I broke up with him for A shortly after that. The two aren’t unrelated.
A was six~ years older than me. Enough to know better. Enough to know that he shouldn’t have done the things that he did. I met him for the first time a few days after my sixteenth birthday. My rules were easy: no touching below the belt. I wasn’t ready. He agreed.
Within an hour of meeting me he’d broken that rule.
I didn’t know it then, but I craved acceptance. I had become co-dependent on him; I needed him to love me. And that’s what older people did, right? Stuff like that? Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before we reached territory that I was really not okay with.
The first time I ever touched a penis was on the edge of my bed. We were watching TV and laughing. He moved my hand to his jeans. I pulled away. He did it again. Slid my fingers under the waistband.
I touched it briefly, curled up and cried.
I said I had a migraine. He believed me.
That was the beginning of using sexual actions to get attention. He wasn’t an affectionate person; he didn’t cuddle or hold hands or kiss just for the sake of it. All of these things led to sex. He woke me up early sometimes on his visits (this was a long-distance relationship) so I could give him a BJ.
To this day if someone guides my hand toward their pants or asks me to do that, I’m thrown into a violent panic attack.
We went to take professional pictures once. I was feeling lonely and wanted affection; he didn’t want any part of it. He basically said that if I’d wanted anything so badly, I should go buy some condoms. That was the one thing I kept from him, the one last stronghold of my sanity – I did not give him my virginity.
But I gave him everything else.
I gave him the ability to have someone come up behind me. My pride, when he strung me along for a year with phone sex and promises of getting back together after he shattered my world by breaking up with me over email. My self-respect when I begged and pleaded and screamed. My skin, when I began cutting myself.
I have panic attacks for other reasons. If someone tickles me, I throw myself under the nearest object and sob like a broken child, panicking and rocking, an unthinking animal in pain. There are other things about me that came before, like the dissociation. There are things that came after, like That Boy.
But A holds the trophy for teaching me the depths I can go to in losing my respect for myself, utterly and completely. It’s only now that LAboy is starting to teach me what I’m really worth… and that affection can be simple, with no strings attached.