I haven’t written a blog post in almost 2 years and it’s been 3-4 years since I blogged consistently, but this is something I felt called to share. The sisterhood wound runs deep. Real deep. Betrayal, heartbreak, very conditional love, humiliation, competing, jealously, judgment and rejection all leave a scar.
I remember being 17 and walking into a nightclub (back in the day when no one really cared all that much if you were underage. I’d been drinking alcohol and hitting clubs for years now) and my friends were no longer my friends. I was slut-shamed for sleeping with a guy who I haven’t actually slept with, in fact, I said “no” and as someone who found that difficult, not because I didn’t want to say no (many times), but because I thought I had no choice but to go along with what a man wanted. To be accused of something I hadn’t done by my own circle of friends and then to be thrown out of the friendship group was devastating.
I thought if a man wanted to have sex that you just had to. Maybe I’d lead him on or something or gave him the wrong impression? I cringe at this thinking now. That then I didn’t understand consent. Having a childhood of sexual trauma and abuse in my own home meant I didn’t know any different. I also had no idea what rape culture was or that it existed in our society. Yet, a part of me started to realise and rebel at times to all that I’d ever known. I realised on this occasion that I could say no and so I did, I said no. I felt empowered, I did it, I said no. Then I walked into the club that night and my friends called me a slut and refused to speak to me, saying we know you slept with him, he told us how you were easy and we don’t hang around with slags. I stood there all dressed up in the middle of the dancefloor feeling incredibly alone, rejected, intimated, broken, humiliated, betrayed, and devastated as they stood with the guy and he just smiled looking smug. I tried to tell them I didn’t sleep with him, that this didn’t happen but they wouldn’t even acknowledge me. They left me. They wouldn’t hang around with me after that. I wanted them so badly to know the truth, that I didn’t do it. Back then I didn’t know that actually, friends don’t do that, that whoever I choose to sleep with does not lead to shaming and rejection, AND if you haven’t actually done something or if something has happened to you, that they believe you, that not all woman turn on each other.
At 19 I told a friend that I said no to the guy we both knew but that it happened anyway, she stopped speaking to me after that so maybe it was my fault? That’s what I told myself and so I told no one else. As you can probably tell I never used to think a lot of myself. I’m glad to no longer be that woman who doesn’t love herself (although I have so much love and compassion for her) and so I’ve brought the blog back to start having these powerful but vulnerable conversations again, no matter how difficult they may be, they matter.
Most of my old blog posts can still be found although I have to say after years of doing the self-love work that my opinions of many things have changed as well as many of my interests (I used to often blog on things like makeup and other things that I have no interest for blogging on now). My eyes are constantly being opened to things that I once over never questioned or even saw. We evolve, change, wake up and learn. It’s both harrowing and empowering.
In school, I remember the girl who would accuse me of staring at her every time I looked up. I became paranoid and so I just kept withdrawing more and more. I have struggled with eye contact ever since, or maybe I always did struggle with eye contact and it worsened. Sometimes I still do. Only years later did I realise she had to be looking at me to know I was looking at her. I’m not sure that I was ever even looking at her if I’m to be honest though. Let alone staring. In fact, if I had to guess, I was so intimated at school I doubt I stared at anyone. Although I did daydream a lot which I think was just an unconscious way to cope (I still do it now, not necessary as a way to cope anymore, my mind just wanders, but yes I do struggle with small talk, I’m not gonna lie) and perhaps sometimes when I was in a world of my own, perhaps it could have looked like I was staring. In reality, I was just probably somewhere else, in my own world just trying to make it through. Who knows. Regardless it was bullying, but instead of me really realising this, I just became insecure and self-conscious. I worked hard to try and do the right thing at school to fit in so I could just get through it as I struggled inside. School didn’t feel safe to be me nor did home living with a man who abused me. I often wouldn’t speak, I was painfully shy, and always in fear I’d do and say the wrong thing.
At school, I remember having to walk in front of these two girls (because if I walked behind them they turn around and I couldn’t bear to look at them as they taunted me as I walked back to school after lunch). I remember this one time they threw rubbish off my back, but I was too shy or maybe embarrassed to tell anyone. To speak out. I blamed myself, what’s wrong with me?
Recently, last year, I came out as bi after hiding it for pretty much forever because my experience taught me, it’s not like it’s safe to be yourself, Kirsty. It’s certainly not like you can trust other women or people to have your back. I got put into the dog house with the silent treatment with one of my oldest friends until she finally said that she apparently knew anyway and how she was hurt with me (of course this was all done privately, online publicly, where people could see, she was proud of me). I thought what your hurt for me being bisexual? For me not telling you? For the way, you found out? Did I have to prepare you because my sexuality was clearly so difficult for you? Did I owe you my sexuality? Was I not allowed my privacy and to only share it if I wanted to? Was this all a condition of our friendship? I told her how I never told her because of her offensive homophobic comments that she’d made over the years whenever a woman liked women or a woman simply complimented a woman. She told me how it’s cruel not to do that otherwise they might think they have a chance with her. I couldn’t believe her words, I thought so this is why you make those comments? You think I’m gonna hit on you, that I can’t control myself? My heart felt broken. She even said that she realizes how hard it must be for me to bisexual and that’s why I was basically reacting this way, as in upset. Never seeming to realize that being bisexual is not hard, not for me anyway, it’s the discrimination and shaming from others that’s hard, that creates internal shame. It’s how people treat you when they know or you fear they will if they knew that’s hard. I wasn’t upset over being bi, I was hurt over her cruel treatment towards me which apparently was for my benefit (so I apparently knew she was off the cards as it would be cruel for me to think I had a chance with her). I’m beyond exhausted with the stigma that because I’m bi I fancy everyone. Not to mention how hideous this is when it doesn’t take a genius to work out I’m very much loved up and have been for a long time. That I did not fancy her, nor have I ever, not even slightly. Not that this should matter, but in this case, it does add to the ridiculousness of it.
I remember walking into the event where in front of everyone I was gonna find out my best friend at the time had gone behind my back to rival me and that’s how she choose to let me find out. In one of the hardest seasons in my life, when it felt like everything was falling apart this is how she decides she’ll go about it.
And, it doesn’t end there. I could go on and on with countless stories in my life where other women have brought me on my knees with rejection, shaming, and mocking.
But, I want to wrap it up here and say, if you struggle to trust other women I see you and you aren’t alone. To this day I still struggle to let other women in, very few I do and I always worry when I do, it’s perhaps too much. Am I talking too much, taking up too much space? Am I listening enough? Being a good enough friend? Did I say and do the right thing? Do they actually like me, can I be myself? Can I trust them or are they just after something? Can I go there for support?
I’m glad to say I don’t operate out of that anymore and whilst all these fears are still there and they indeed come up I actually have women in my life that actually I get to be imperfect around. Who really have healed so much for me and gosh I’m so grateful for these kind of women in my life. They truly make the world a better place and I hope if they read this that they know who they are (although I do try to tell them often because I think it matters to heal the sisterhood wound). Women who love me for me. Where we can both own our mistakes (if it happens, it’s rare). When if I’m talking online or in person about sexual trauma, sex, being bi, whatever it is on my heart, however, I’m expressing myself and being the wild woman I am, which is really just about being true to yourself, it’s celebrated, encouraged and when we feel triggered we work on our own shit and we imperfectly ask for support when we need and desire it. I talk openly about things like sex, sexual trauma, pain, being bi, self-love, the wild woman because these are things it took me years (and sometimes decades) to get to a really good place with. I wish I’d known someone who was so open to discussing these hard things.
These things are often difficult to talk about because to society they are just a bit too much, taboo, cause judgment, and take a lot of vulnerability and so we don’t talk about them and thus painful things just keep bloody happening because we are silent as we worry about the judgment of others. Often when someone does speak out we accuse them of attention-seeking. Ugh. The irony is these people tend to be those that say I’m here if you need someone to talk to. So I’m either gonna talk about it or I’ll bloody support as many of those that do that I can whilst taking care of me. I can’t tell you how many people went radio silent on me when I came out as bi, those that said they’d always be there for me, went off the radar and I’ve barely heard from them since. It was eye-opening, painful but I’m grateful for it.
The big thing I learned and I know this gets thrown around a lot so excuse the cliche but be yourself, so those who are gonna love the real you can find you. Being yourself is honestly I think the hardest thing, many of us don’t even know how to start with this, but it starts with self-love because no matter what you’re with yourself and without a level of love for yourself it doesn’t feel safe to be authentically expressed. Self-love is simply the relationship with yourself so you start there and you let what is no longer serving you, fall away. It’s messy and hard but it’s freeing and liberating. Healing and powerful. It takes a lot of self-compassion and courage but the alternative way to live is tiring, miserable, and unfulfilling. It feels like it’s been my life’s work and that’s why I teach it because gosh I needed it and the truth is I think we all do. So it’s why I keep doing it because whilst it’s hard, the alternative was killing me. That dark pit was deep and so I hope you know that you’re never alone, even though the journey is often lonely, messy, and challenging that there is a community of other women who feel you.
If you need, want, or desire a community and you vibe with me and all my woo because I won’t be someone else for you (that chapter has ended) then I have a free community on Facebook, click here to join. On the 6th of May we are doing the Wild Woman Rising Challenge, join us if that’s your jam.
With all my love,
It Did Do Harm – An open Letter to Grandparents & Those With Adult Children
(Blog post on generational trauma)