Breaking the silence…
by Ms Dentata
I’ve been outta the blogosphere a bit.
I’ve had a pretty intense on-again off-again all over the show breakup. It’s now officially over. I’m going up to the old house to pick up the rest of my cleaning products and have one last angsty smoke staring out the windows at the glorious view of the southern bays. The view I kinda imagined sitting and staring at all year, or doing crafts with the kids in front of, or making out with Beardface in front of.
But now I’m living in a house on the Terrace with another sex worker, who’s doing post-grad study and generally excelling in being the best, most communicative, nurturing, and lovable flatmate ever. The view may not be as great but the feeling of safety and emotional warmth inside my home is a very good experience for me.
This comfort is more valuable than ever because I’m starting to really find therapy challenging… mostly coz we’re moving on from dealing with the day-to-day living with PTSD, which is getting easier, and have started talking about my experiences of sexual violence. It’s pretty intense.. and hard for me to learn to be the one looking after myself rather than having a romantically involved partner who I (in the past) would have turned to at the first sign of flashbacks and nightmares to support me through it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to be learning to deal with my mental health primarily myself (and I still have a huge support network), but it’s hard to not have the significant other I’ve had for all of my significant problems in the past!
I’ve been noticing I’ve been generally feeling a bit anti-social and introspective these days, finding I now prefer to stay at home and wear a dressing gown and listen to music than go out and experience drunks being drunk. I’ve also found that attending big social gatherings and ESPECIALLY situations with lots of drunk people are becoming harder for me to deal with. Some days I’ll feel like nothing more than sitting and having a beer with a group of friends, relaxing and having a quiet drinking evening together. But the thought of going to Courtenay Place and fighting thru the drunk hordes– I think my time of appreciating that is over.
However, the big group event I am really looking forward to is Slutwalk this Saturday. There has been so much going on in feminist online discussions and in the parts of feminist internets I’m involved with on the organisation, politics, and representations of Slutwalks worldwide, and playing a passive part in this debate (reading, but not contributing to, these discussions) was causing a bit of stress for me. I felt a lot of internal pressure to figure out what I felt about the debate, and what my perspective was.
And then, after a particularly long, boring and depressing day at work, I went to sign-making with the WYFC at Aro Hall on Saturday, and I had a moment of clarity. I realised I’m really really looking forward to this event for personal and emotional reasons, and I am going to take as long as I need to process the surrounding Slutwalk debate. I am going to put on something brazen, I am going to tease my hair up big, and I am going to carry my sign. Because feeling a sense of feminist solidarity, feeling that I am taking a public stance, that I am reclaiming my identity as a promiscuous and assertive and exhibitionist womyn and my right to not experience violence, feeling that I am using my voice strongly in the face of the discrimination and victim-blaming that has been screamed right in my fucking face, pushed down my raw throat for the last 6 fucking years of my life while I have been trying not to lose my shit, being able to just stand up and yell ‘I do not deserve to be raped’… it’s one of the most powerful things I could do for my mental health right now.
And for that sense of empowerment alone, I will be attending slutwalk and I can feel right in my bones that it is going to be a very good thing for me.