R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I was at Christmas dinner with my family, and we were talking about how my parents think my older brother claims to be a half inch shorter than our father out of respect, as they appear to be the same height. “I raised my kids to be respectful,” my dad said. For just a moment, Tiny Me brightened with the possibility that a rare and secretly longed for compliment could be coming our way. Then, nodding to me he said to his brother, “so I’m pretty sure that one is yours.”

We were, in fact, raised to be respectful. It was probably the number one thing our parents taught us. A blind respect, for anyone older than or related to us. A respect that overrode our own feelings and needs. Is the crazy aunt calling you ugly again? Well just deal with it, she’s your elder and deserves your respect. Did that old man you’ve never met demand a hug? Better give him one (and stop that crying in the meantime!) because he’s lived longer than you have. Is everyone in the family not-so-subtly calling you a slut because you’ve been divorced and have the audacity to bring a date to a family function in the hopes of not dying alone? You probably are one, and it’s their right as esteemed family members of the older generation to tell you so. Appreciate it.

My dad isn’t completely wrong, though. Not about me really being my uncle’s (though insinuating that your wife slept with your brother when he was 16, in front of her, is another sweet holiday gem for another time.) but about me being disrespectful to him. I am. I roll my eyes at his stories. I call him an idiot. I don’t make my son hug him. I even do the unthinkable and stand up for my kid when my dad makes fun of him. That’s like two of us disrespecting him at once. I’m surprised we haven’t been banished.

I just got real tired of him molesting me, really. When I was young and he used his power over me to sneak his hand into my nightgown, or to make comments on my lack of noticeable breasts while trying to open my shirt, I stayed quiet. I had to. I was terrified. But then, little by little, I started fighting back. It didn’t work right away, but at least I had a voice. A scared, tiny voice that people still ignored, but it was there. Over the years, it got louder. One day, I even called him a piece of fucking shit. To his face. Because, lets be honest, that’s what child molesters are. He tackled and beat me, but it was worth it.

I don’t talk about my dad in a lot of detail, out of respect for someone that doesn’t actually exist. I don’t have a dad that loves me, and I don’t see that I ever will. But just in case he should appear, I’d like him to see that I’ve done my best to spare his feelings. Ever trying to be the good daughter, still convinced deep down that it was my fault, because I’m too sassy and weird.

I don’t talk about it with my mom much, out of respect for her. She chose him, over and over, and what’s the point of making her feel bad about it? Will my childhood change? Nope. Will my siblings come back for holidays so its not just me, trying for an unknown reason to repair a family that won’t even admit it’s broken? Probably not. Best to just leave it in the past, right?

I don’t tell many people in my family about this, out of respect for an image they hold onto. He’s their brother that fixes the roof. He’s their uncle that tells weird jokes and farts a lot. Even if I thought they’d believe me, why ruin this man they think he is over something that happened decades ago?

But then. I remember her. This tiny girl, who loved to dance. She wanted to be a ballerina. She lived to feel the music in her tiny body, twirling and leaping until she was out of breath. She thought the world was magic, and that she could be part of its beauty. Until they told her she was wrong. She had to do what they wanted, how and when they wanted it. That what she felt didn’t matter, it was only their convenience that did. So she stopped. Now I do things out of respect for her. She’s not older, she’s not an esteemed member of society, but she’s important.

For most of my life, I’ve tried to avoid confrontation and the mere possibility of hurt feelings by going along with whatever everyone else wanted. I don’t pick places to eat, movies to see, or adventures to go on, because someone might disagree, and it would be uncomfortable. When you’re constantly afraid of being disrespectful, everything becomes that way, even when it’s not. Having an opinion isn’t rude. Wanting Taco Bell isn’t a slight against someone else’s character. (An affront to your taste buds, perhaps, but not actually a personal insult.)

Tomorrow is my birthday. It’s the one day a year I make all my own decisions, without a thought to anyone else’s feelings. I eat where I want, dress ridiculously, laugh loudly, hug strangers, and do whatever I think of in that moment that makes me happy. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.

I’ve been striving to live like every day is my birthday. Maybe not complete with dress-up karaoke every night, but more the idea that I am important enough to weigh in on discussions the other 364 days a year. Everyone deserves that respect.

 

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Slutiversary

The Thought Slut was born 2 years ago today. So let’s take a look back, shall we? If this were a sitcom, this would be the Clip Show Episode.

The idea came from venting that being single meant I had no one to share all the useless trivia that was cluttering my brain. Really, even “trivia” seemed too fancy for what was going on. I was finding it hard to focus on work, personal conversations, taking care of my house, because OH MY GOD I HAD THE BEST TURKEY SANDWICH, and there was nobody to tell.

So, I came here. I took 30 whole seconds to pick some colors and a terribly unfocused picture for the header, and that was that. It was one of those things I said I was going to go back and redo later, but as you can see… I didn’t. I’ve changed a lot over the last 2 years, but not that much. Procrastinating is still my main skill. Right before self-depreciation.

But really, a lot has happened in my little Slut Bubble since 2015. (That one just popped into my head. Get it? Popped? Bubble?! I’m ON FIRE!) I’ve grown a lot. Though I still have more to do, I’m proud of how far I’ve come. It would be easier to see if I wrote more regularly, but trust me, it’s leaps and bounds.

Today, I’m still single (though I have made some jumps into not-singlehood here and there) and much more comfortable with it. I’m still figuring out what I want, and how to identify it. I am getting much better at knowing when something isn’t what I want, and walking away (I once dated a guy I couldn’t stand for over a year because he didn’t do anything terribly wrong. I haaaaated him, but he wasn’t abusive or unfaithful, so I stuck it out. FOR OVER A YEAR. Again. Leaps and bounds.) Sometimes, it makes for entertaining stories.

This brings us to the New Story Line segment of our Clip Show Episode, where I get to introduce you to a new character. Let’s call him Douchey McToolface. Because I’m a grownup.

So… Douchey and I met online (don’t roll your eyes at me!) He sent me a message that was a list of reasons he thought we’d get along. I’m a sucker for lists, and it beat the guy whose opener was “Damn sexy! Come sit on my face and I’ll eat my way to your heart? ;)” (alright, you can roll your eyes now.) I responded, it lead to actual conversation, he spelled things correctly and used multi-syllabic words, and I was cautiously hopeful. We arranged a meet up about a week out. He specifically told me this was not a date, this was simply a meeting to see if we had chemistry and should pursue dating from there. Great! I liked this idea, as well as all the talks we had about establishing a good friendship first, and not rushing into things. Cue the happy strut.

Meeting happens, things go well, but ultimately he is not actually down for taking it slow as originally stated, and tries to tell me after 1.5 dates (we hung out twice in the same day. I don’t know what that means, or what is and isn’t a date, apparently, so let’s just go with that.) that I need to “stop holding back” and just give in to whatever urges he has imagined I have. Because he can read me so well. Yeah. I say no. I’m REALLY FUCKING PROUD of myself for this. Baby Slut would’ve assumed he knew more than me, and gone along with it anyway.  But not anymore! I firmly told him I was taking things slow… and he told me I was wrong. Yep. Wrong. It completely dumbfounded me. So, I ended things. Amicably. Perhaps too much so, as he text me a day later asking if we could still be friends. Well sure, who doesn’t need more friends?

My new bff then began texting me passive-aggressive complaints about how hard being single was, and how he wished he could just find someone that could “make a decision and stick with it”. (Now I’m rolling my eyes right along with you) Then… he sent me an excerpt from an erotic novel he is writing (which he apparently started after we went out, as he told me then he no longer writes… ) The context was that the protagonist, based on him, was facing the woman that had transformed him from wanting meaningless sex to looking for an actual connection. Booky McToolface says this, “I want to taste every inch of you… and not just your skin. When I say that I want you, it is not some purely physical concept. Your eroticism to me stems from the very core of who you are. While your shell is appealing, it is what lies beneath that has me yearning to taste you.”. My response? “Uh, nobody says ‘eroticism’ to another person in real life.” The part I didn’t text him involved a lot of near-vomiting.

I was hoping my disinterest would be enough to make him wander away, but receiving a text message poem at 5:30am three days later told me I was wrong. And, because you’re already on this ride, here’s that, too:

I don’t know you,
I know your face because I see it when I close my eyes.
I know the small curve of your lips when you smile.
I know the gleam in the corner of your left eye
Only the left one
That pops up when something brings you joy.
See I don’t know you
But I know the value you place in words
The way you long to have someone value you
Someone who sees the pretty face, yes, but sees the beauty BEHIND it too.
I don’t know you,
But I know that there is something missing
A piece of you
A real piece of you not fulfilled.
I don’t know you
But I do know that I want you
I want to be that piece to make you whole
I want to be your beacon as the night encroaches in
I want to hold you safe as the winds bear down
I want to protect you…
See I don’t know you
But I want to.

Pretty much all this did for me is cause me to question what the hell is wrong with my left eye?? I’m hoping it was just that I was constantly giving him the “What the fuck crazy ass shit did you just let loose out of your mouth?!?” look and he mistook that for the face of the newly joyful. I have no fucking idea.

I’d like to say that after this I told His Mighty Doucheness to leave me alone. But nope. Took me another two days, and multiple texts about how dating was the worst. Then, I finally hit my limit. I did not avoid confrontation, was not passive, I was full on aggressive. He, of course, countered that the fault was mine, and I was simply taking it all wrong.

But a little over two years ago, I dealt with another douchebag extraordinaire. One with a lot more experience. I learned a thing or two, including that I am, in fact, whole. I am not missing any pieces, I am not in need of protection, and I can damn sure save my self. So his gaslighting and blame shifting were no match for this slut right here. Our heroine emerged victorious once again.

Who knows where I’ll be in another two years. But whatever my appealing shell and I are doing, I’ll be doing it my way. And maybe if I remember, I’ll even write about it.