Pride, 2016

Pride 2016.  Her facebook page rolls up in my newsfeed.  Her face bunched up in a selfie with Mrs B.

’17 years together. Happy Pride!’

I hover.  Heartbeat rises. Then I click ‘like’.

Then another.  She’s in a pub with Mrs B watching Mrs B’s team play football.

‘The things I do for love.’   She declares. I don’t ‘like’ this one.  Even in an attempt at magnanimity, that would look too false; I’ve always hated sport.

A thousand thoughts cross my mind.  That ’17 years’ minus the two with me, and the two with the famous lesbian novelist, and the six months she spent with my ‘heterosexual’ married boss,  does not leave Mrs B and B with ‘17 years‘… But we’re post-Brexit, post–truth now.  Everything is just another discourse!

(re: U2)

 

You said you stood up for every known abuse, That was ever promised to anyone like you.

This is getting harder to write.

We had an obvious power differential all along, partly because I had B on a pedestal; more generally because B had a fallback position of the wife and home she never left; but also, oddly, because she was a gold star liberal feminist lesbian who had no clue what it was like for women who had sex with men to live within the patriarchy (of whose existence she had no doubt).  Perhaps because she had chosen to live in a particular type of lesbian bubble for so long, she had no empathy and nothing but judgement for the political and sexual negotiations her less-Sapphic sisters were dealing with every day.   In retrospect, I think it was this last qualifier that made her such a bully when it came to understanding anyone’s sexual position but her own.  She had even lost perspective that the experience of sexual abuse was not the exclusive preserve of heterosexual women.

I’d like to contextualise her attitude and actions further, but can only describe some of the impact of that.  In practice, her attitude manifested itself in disbelieving my experience of sexual abuse.  She held me culpable.  So for example, when the doctor locked me in his office, and even with the chaperone I’d requested present, (she looked away as he did what he did), he did something to me entirely unnecessary for the examination, (gloves on, gloves off…), even then, B questioned me.

Why had I let him do this… how could I be sure it wasn’t necessary … was I clear on what had happened?

She did not give me the dignity of accepting my point of view.  Accepting the authenticity of my experience.  And regarding sexuality, this was always the case.  She made the rules, and I guess in one of these rules in her head, there was no such thing as abuse of power or coercion; if there was no blood or no black eye, everything was consensual.  I was culpable.

This fits with her overall sexual modus operandi.  Entirely apart from calling me a ‘prick tease’, she felt entitled to sex with me, without offering any commitment that our unsatisfactory arrangement could ever change.  She called me ‘controlling’ because eventually I said I had to stop the sexual relationship because it was destroying me being only a sexual partner with no autonomy in where or when or even whether I saw her.  She did not think there was anything wrong with our sexual arrangement, being solely on her terms, even though I clearly wanted something more – she blamed me wanting more, not accepting that the inequality that she had created was a manipulation.  She thought that as long as a physical sexual act was taking place, and there was no physical violence, there could be no question of wilful inequality, no sense of coercion.

She was sex positive* in the way that if I slept with her, I was consenting to be the subject of her duplicity, lies and ongoing deception: ‘anything goes between women’ she said.  If I dated a man, and he didn’t hit me before he did it, anything he put in my body was fine; it was my choice.  In the same sense that if I’d had my clothes off and my legs in stirrups in a locked room, that doctor could do anything he wanted to me.

* I am not suggesting all these acts were ‘comparable’ ‘sexual’ acts.  In B’s mind, everyone has complete sexual and physical autonomy, unless physically coerced through a violent act, and therefore, she deemed me actively culpable, if not consenting, in the acts of abuse I had described to her.

(re: Beth Orton)

..so fare thee well, goodbye, I got so angry, now I sit here and sigh. My love, always, we should rejoice in these Titanic days

She taught me a lot.  When she fucked me over when I wouldn’t be her fuck toy anymore, she taught me, eventually, that I sometimes make wrong choices.  She taught me that she was a wrong choice, albeit a choice, and that I had some responsibility to take for that.  She  treated me like I was less human than her, because I let her.

All the times she shut me down because I hurt from what she did to me, I let her.
I felt for her pain, but did nothing to mitigate my own.
I remember the earliest days when I’d established in my head that she had more to lose than I did, because she still lived with Mrs B, and losing that (and the million pound house by the Royal Park) would be a greater loss than anything I had to lose … I think now this shows that I was thinking only of the possibility of a happy ending when I put this half-arsed theory together, because in reality, being single and having invested entirely into a relationship with B, I had everything to lose.  And I lost.  I digress.

I let her never spend a night with me.  I let her never be seen with me in the places that were important in her life.  I let her never introduce me as something important in her life, I let her keep me as her accessory, but never with the status I craved.  I let her keep the legitimacy from me I craved.  I let her never give me certainty.  I let her friends hate me, and the world make me the home-wrecking whore.  I let her tell me that I was the one who would not commit.  She said I would lure her in and throw her away, like I did with C before her, she said … She told me I was playing at being attracted to women and would leave her for a man in the end.  Funny that she never committed.  That she waited until I was ready to give up everything for her and she ran.  That she went back into Mrs B’s waiting arms into the sunset, and it is me who is still on her own, three years on …

Ultimately, I lost my job.  And soon I will be boarding a plane taking me to the other side of the world.  Where I will be going entirely on my own.

I lost a lot more than just ‘stuff’ though.  More than all of this, I let her belittle me and tell me I was never enough.   She drew me into her crazy world where she said she couldn’t be with me, because she had to be with Mrs B, but that I was mad because I saw a direct conflict between the two lives she was leading. ‘It’s not a competition’, she told me over and over again.  And then picked fights over nothing because … I don’t know really, maybe she wanted to push me away, maybe she wanted to show me she was in control, who knows, maybe she felt guilty that I was so besotted with her and she was lying to me and always knew she was going to fuck me over in the end, and sometimes it just overwhelmed her… maybe she just hated me deeply …

So it was.  I’d boarded the Titanic, lived Titanic days.  Today I’m acknowledging I’d been an agent in that, though I cannot quite rejoice in it yet.

(re: MacColl, K)

They smashed up things and creatures …

“… and then retreated back to their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…”

It has occurred to me to be destructive in a way I have never been before.

I know this feeling will pass.

But today I am so distraught, I am angry, and can think only that I became involved in some poisonous pact which has an intensely destructive power.  I was an interloper.  I should never have doubted that.  So B and Mrs B have come out intact through this, and I have not only been smashed up and left dismembered, a broken boat there on the rocks, that didn’t see the lighthouse, but both B and Mrs B are standing by toasting my demise, stronger together than ever, revelling in their nonchalant power to destroy.

Received morality would probably say I deserved everything I got.  I’m paying a high price.

(re: Fitzgerald, F.Scott)

I never knew time pass so slow, I wish I’d never met you or that I could bear to let you go…

At dead of night ’til break of day
endless thoughts and questions keep me awake
It’s much too late

You didn’t phone when you said you would
Do you lie?
Do you try
to keep in touch? You know you could
I’ve tried to see your point of view
but could not hear or see
for jealousy
I never knew ’til I met you

 

Crisis has hit already with you.

I have now lost track of all time, and even the time that was ours.

I told you at the start I was insanely jealous and what I’d done before.  You wouldn’t tell me what you’d done, and proud to the end, I left it at that.  I am wondering though, how when you are so violently jealous yourself you could do this to me.  That you could go home every night to someone else and I would cease to exist without you, that my life would stop because then I couldn’t breathe.

My crisis is thus: I don’t have anything material to offer you, and you’ve doubtless much to lose now.  You are not shifting for me, and of course I know you would have shifted straight away if I had the country house and the Aga.

But this isn’t the crux.  I think you are in control of me.  While I could accept that I would never have any more than the snatched glimpses and the illicit rendezvous, you told me I wanted more, you told me you wanted more, and made me want more, even as I couldn’t admit to myself I wanted that.  But you had to have me absolutely, and you worked away at me until you did.  Then offered me nothing in return.  I’ve needed you so much, and you haven’t been there, and I have had no choice.  Every time I see you it breaks my heart now because I cannot feel fulfilled knowing that loss is inevitable.  My heart is burnt out already.

This should have been our time, when we wanted each other every second of every day, and we made something together; when we found out what it was that squeezed our lungs so hard we couldn’t breathe, what clenched our cunts with words and looks and thoughts alone.  But now I feel we already missed that boat.  My heart sinks at the thought of the loss of you every time you come around.  My home is no longer my home, just the place you might entertain the thought of me when you itch, and so I scratch.  You walk away every time and I have no control of that.  Nor over what we do.

I dreamt about you when you first told me you loved me.  And you were dancing around like a maniacal pixie and I could not catch you and you floated away just out of reach, but close enough for me to see your enchanting smile.  This is what I have.  All I have.  And I have no power and you break my heart.

I really don’t understand you and what you do, and how you feel about me.  Most of me thinks you are playing a game where you watch me break, and if I go too far you always reel me back.  Because you need to be loved by more than just one person.  That part of me doesn’t believe you love me, because I think I know how you love others.  Your capacity for falling in love is so much greater than mine.

But I have fallen in love with you.  And I’m petrified of losing you.  I hate the changes we go through because I do not have the emotional experience to comprehend what is happening to us, and what might one day happen, other than what my experience tells me is inevitable loss.  I know I have never felt what I feel for you before, nor wanted what I want with you.

(re: the Pet Shop Boys)