You walked into my hotel room after our second date and I wanted to tell you something.
I wanted to explain the disconnect between my body and my mind. I wanted to inform you that I have spent most of young adulthood outside of my body, struggling with bulimia and mastering the art of disassociation to stay alive.
I felt you needed to know that years of exploring what resides in my head through various inpatient holistic treatment stints and ignoring my body has resulted in a differential in the maturity I have when opening these two parts of me.
My mature mind wants an open individual, and for some reason, I thought it was you, but I am also not naïve. I knew this request came at a cost and that I must open my immature body to you. I decided to let you proceed past your soft kisses that make my body want more—although they fill me with the anxiety of what is to come. I saw this evening as an opportunity to work on my ever-present discursive thinking. I wanted to loosen up, bridge the gap, and I hoped that you would support me in doing so.
You touched my thigh, and I thought:
Where do I put my hands?
Am I too tense?
How should I react?
What will you think of me if I don’t respond?
You kissed my nipple, and I thought:
Should I be feeling more?
What sound should I be making?
Are my thoughts blocking my pleasure?
Are my thoughts blocking your pleasure?
You tried to go down on me and I stopped you. I said that I am not comfortable with those I do not know well getting that personal with me, and that I wouldn’t enjoy it. You said I needed to relax. I said no. You said I needed to let go. You said you loved doing it. You said I had nothing to worry about and continued.
My mature mind knows I can have boundaries, but you thought they were flexible, ignorable, changeable—because you know how to communicate with your mature, open body. I felt guilty for drawing a line in the sand. I started to question my ability to verbalize what I do not want. I internalized your words. I needed to let go. I needed to stop thinking. I was the problem. You used your mouth for what I specifically told you not to, and I think:
Am I clean?
Will this ever feel good?
Why do my words carry no weight?
What makes you feel more equipped to tell me what my immature body needs?
What sound should I make to stroke your ego, so you stop?
I thought: If I run my fingers through my hair, breathe heavy and moan, will you feel you showed this immature closed body how to experience pleasure, accomplishing some task you were never asked to complete?
When you came up, you touched my torso. You gently circled your fingers on my back, and in the process, my mind melted away. Small circular hand movements send a tingling up my spine and into my head, relaxing me. Backrubs were something my mother did when I was growing up to soothe my consuming anxiety and to this day it brings me in from the edge.
After what feels like two short minutes, you stopped and moved your hands to more exciting parts of my body. You claimed to be so skilled at creating a connection through bare skin and open bodies, so much more aware of my needs than I could ever hope to be with my closed body. So why did you stop?
Your innate capacity to sense my anxiety, to discredit and negatively frame the way my open mind interjects itself into the physical realm, should have allowed you to pick up on my one display of genuine pleasure. You moved on to fucking me because I asked you to. I wanted you out of my space, and I know this will happen when your open body orgasms while using my closed body and now dissociated mind.
As you penetrated me I think:
When can this be over?
Will you enter our next shared space with reciprocity in mind?
How do you have the audacity to explain to me that you view sex so differently from all the other men your age who just want to fuck?
How are you enjoying this?
When you finished, you asked me why I am so stuck in my head. You asked me why I could not be free tonight like I was the night before in the underground tunnel where we kissed. I told you that I am working on it. I told you that I have difficulties being in my own body and allowing someone else in sends an automatic signal to my brain to shut down. But, also, that I have slowly become less distant while being physical with others.
I showed you my open mind, this beautiful mature piece of me that has allowed me to heal old wounds from my past in a way that my heart and reproductive organs could not. This skill I have cultivated to reflect on and articulate my feelings and experiences that have made me the person I am today is the only reason I am alive next to you in this bed right now.
I spoke for five minutes when I could talk for days about my story, that may seem taboo to some, but to me is full of beauty and value. You respond to me with nothing. You tell me to be less in my head and more in my genitals, and I think:
Why did I say anything to you?
Why are you reinforcing that my open mind only has worth when it is part of a package that includes my fucking open, relaxed, accessible body?
Why did you even bother questioning my context?
I asked you to stay the night. You claimed that your plans started too early in the morning and that sleeping in my bed would not be a practical decision. You proceeded to open my hotel door to leave at midnight. I let the word sorry escape from my mouth. You paused and turning back, asked me to repeat myself, as if you did not hear me clearly the first time. I said it again, and you let out a quiet laugh, said goodnight and closed the door, proving your mind is just as closed as my body. I cried when the door shut, a reaction I typically will not allow men to elicit from me.
You left me on my bed alone, vulnerable, consumingly present in both my body and mind and I think:
You did not deserve to open my body.
Author: Taylor Peters
Image: Courtesy of Author (the tattoo on her back is the awareness symbol for disordered eating)
Editor: Travis May