The Secret Room.
Last year Joan of Dark gave me a copy of a book called Post Secret. It began by a man who started a community project, handing out postcards to strangers and leaving them places people would find them, asking people to write down a secret they had never told anyone, and mail it to him. The response was overwhelming. I always wanted to send him one that said "I have a secret but it won't fit on a post card"
I have a Secret Room in fact. It's filled with things that I've never told anyone. I know it's there, but even I don't go in there. Every so often friends have knocked on it, or noticed it, but last night one of my Derby Sisters didn't just notice it, she kicked the door down, came inside and effectively said "What the hell is all THIS shit???"
I won't tell you the entire conversation but it was about sex, and lovers and it ended by her asking me why I looked so ashamed. Well, it's because I've got this Secret Room that no one knows about.
There's no locking that door back up again.
Here's what's in there.
I started this morning with a lot of crying, which moved onto writing Joan, then finally talking it out with another Derby Sister, and I want to write about it. All of it. Which ain't going to be easy but maybe I can clean out this room and get on with things.
I've always felt different even really young, than the people around me. I could never imagine being with a man, when we talked about being married I always said I wanted to marry a women, and of course got told THAT can't happen, you'll marry a man, which even then made me feel really WRONG.
When I was 11, the nasty next door neighbor started abusing me sexually. He made me promise not to tell, all the sorts of things child abusers tell their victims, only, I will tell you, you don't FEEL like a victim, you feel totally and completely responsible. And like no matter how much you wash, you will always feel him. It ended when he asked me to send my sister away and I said to my Mom he wanted to see me alone, could she keep my sister inside and later asked me what he wanted. I told her.
They called the police, he denied it, there was a trial, he was convicted. And then my parents told me never to talk about this, never to tell, never ever tell anyone. I didn't. We moved away after that to a new state, a new school where all the other kids were REALLY different than the ones I grew up with, and of course, I felt really different than any of them.
I found Figure Skating. Spending hours on the ice before and after school made feeling so alone at school, and at home much easier. On the ice, I knew what I was doing, I was in control, I was beautiful and I could put every little thing into jumps, spins, and movement, and get praise, support and applause for doing it.
I didn't have to think about things. Didn't have to confront the fact that things were REALLY bad at home, I didn't know why then, but my mother was an alcoholic sinking deeper and deeper into that muck.
They divorced, she left my three sisters and I with my Dad. That ended skating. Music took it's place, I learned the Violin and listened to music in my room every night for hours, and wanted more than anything to do nothing but play music for a living.
I still saw my mother, but she really didn't seem like a mother and had pretty much decided I was her "friend" she could confide in, talk to come to for help. She'd take me with her to parties, bars, and her main goal seemed to be attracting male attention, and she would tell me how to dress, what men found sexy. I remember quite clearly her telling me one night when she had a date over "be nice to him, he's rich". He didn't spend the night looking at her.
Another night when she was too drunk to drive home, she sent me to stay with another man she liked who took me back to his place and raped me. Of my virginity. I will tell you, it doesn't have to be a stranger with a gun in a back alley for it to be rape. And it doesn't have to involve violence. And oh yeah, you feel like it's your fault, even tho you said no, over and over. And you're really ashamed and you never ever tell anyone.
By that time school REALLY didn't seem to have a point. Reading anything and everything I could did, but classes? The other kids? When you have this many things you can't talk about you can't pretend after a while. You lock it all up in a Secret Room and leave. I left high school after 10th grade, aced the GED and started going to University, but I had no idea what I was doing.
At 18, my Dad told me I didn't fit in with him and his new wife and family and I'd have to leave. He told me I would never make it as a musician and I was living in a fantasy world that was going to crash down around me.
I left. He was right, I didn't fit in. Spent some years working and hanging around the music scene in Minneapolis, but got out when my friends decided heroin was the new cool. I met some people at a bar one night who worked at the Renaissance Festival. I'd started listening to alt Irish music and fell in love with it.
I remember quite clearly walking down an alley with them that night, on the way to an afters party and stopping and saying "Hey I don't know any of you" and a big handsome man looked down at me and said "Don't worry, we're cool" and I believed him completely. And they were.
I gave him my heart and had a boyfriend for 5 years, and didn't think too much about the fact that I never seemed to want to have sex, or feel anything when we did. I didn't think about the Secret Room. I met my new best friend Betsy, who I met because she was ALSO dating my Boyfriend, the fact that it didn't bother me ought to have told me something.
I met my Boss shortly after that, and moved away to be his assistant, and learned about family, and love and work, and was finally for the first time, working with my brain and doing something I loved, with a writer who gave me more love and support and friendship than anyone ever had. I formed bands, got good at music, started gigging, and leaned that being on stage was the safest place in the world. And I didn't have to think about sex, or a lover or why I couldn't seem to have one.
I don't drink anymore, and I've written about that. Let's just say I did drink, a lot, and it was a really fine way of hiding from the Secret Room. For a while. Until it bites you in the ass.
I think it was during this time the light bulb finally went off in my head and I thought, "HELLS, was this the problem??? Girls? Really? ME?" Yup. I wasn't dead, I could have those feelings. But with another person? A lover? Noooo. Way to scary. Let another person see me, touch me, tell them what I wanted? HOW????? Where do people LEARN this stuff????
Last night one of the questions my Derby Sister asked was "have you ever even had sex with a women?" Had to say no, it was really hard, I mean, who wants to admit this? I felt ashamed, scared and kind of like a failure and loser, that this was something I couldn't do, something most people take for granted as a normal healthy part of life.
The Derby SIsters have been knocking around this door since I met them. Derby is not shy, refined or afraid of doing or saying anything. They tease me about my nearly complete lack of sexual knowledge, which is generally funny, but sometimes deep down I'd get the feeling that I really wanted to talk about some things and figure them out. Which I've been doing in bits and pieces, including looking at that Secret Room and wondering if I'd ever have enough courage to look inside.
In Derby not being touched is not an option, and now, for the first time ever in my life, I can let people touch me, both literally and mentally. I'm not afraid to say things out loud.
You can't know what it finally feels like to feel NORMAL. And right.
And to look at these things that happened and say: THEY failed. Not me.
I owe my Derby Family a LOT. Those women are the most amazing wonderful, supportive, loving, SAFEST women in the world. They'll knock you down on the track, yell at you, tell you in no uncertain terms exactly what they think of you, say anything they want out in the open…. and have your back forever.
I owe them most tho for being the ones who got into the Secret Room.
This is that room.
It's not so scary now.
And it's not Secret anymore.
Love, Quiche MeDeadly