As you might have noticed in my poem last night, when my head is in this much of a mess, it automatically looks back for extreme coping strategies. Once upon a time selling myself for sex, being off my face on god know’s what, and drinking until I was unconscious were all the only methods I had to block out pain.
I am in enough pain and anxiety that all I can do is dream about that again. It was a miserable place. The last time I fell that low was only in August this year, and more seriously in March. I’d wriggle into my thin, almost non-existent dress, plaster on stupid amounts of make up (lots of mascara and eye-liner to overshadow the fear in my eyes), and I’d go into town. Or, I’d get the train and go into a much bigger town about an hour and a half from here – that way I wouldn’t bump into friends on a night out, and have to explain what I was doing.
Always the cigarette. I wouldn’t call myself a smoker but in that situation the cigarette is my best friend. It can keep me looking busy, also looking efficient. Many a long hour were spent leaning against a lamp post, or wall, in the pouring rain, stupidly trying to shelter my damp and lifeless cigarette with my hands. I liked the rain. It disguised my tears. It also meant men took me sooner – ‘out of pity’. In such a desperate mindset, I couldn’t wait somehow to be taken away. I was terrified, of course; would I ever get back? Would they hurt me? Would he actually be some lunatic and I’d be dumped in a ditch? Who knew. But I did know this: if he objectified me enough, then my mind would fill with black numbness. There’d be no pain anymore. My emotions would cease into nothingness. I would just become an object, and lie there whilst he did whatever. Sometimes I’d even smoke a cigarette whilst he/they/she had sex with me. I know, classy huh?
Sometimes, I’d be taken to some well-kept flat, or hotel. I would always be more nervous here; there’d always be a higher demand for me to do stuff, and to be ‘perfect’, and the men were high enough in status that they felt safe from being suspected. I guess most had a partner, as they were also far more concerned about making sure my lipstick was removed before kissing them. Being an abuse victim, and also in fact gay, my mind would shut down the moment anything got intimate. I turned myself into an object. This was easier in the grotty flats, or in the back of vans and cars. In the more well-to-do settings, they wanted a woman. That’s what they called it – “be a woman, for god’s sake” if I wasn’t doing it right. This sickened me. Be a woman? Be a fucking woman? Is this what you think women do, that this is all women are for?? Be a fucking man. It angers me more now. Him telling me to be a woman. Couldn’t he/they see I was vulnerable and crying? How about they be a man and get me help, even if I didn’t need/didn’t feel I deserved it at the time? Frankly these ‘men’ in suits often wanted the sicker and more repulsing things to be done. They liked role play. The men in vans, or cars, or grotty flats mostly wanted a ‘quickie’. Unless they were the more dangerous kind. Then it got scary. Very scary.
The money? I had no interest in. Quite a few men/women liked this so didn’t insist on giving me the money, obviously. I didn’t keep any money. I wasn’t doing this for a job. I was doing this to save me from suicide – that was the fundamental problem here. I had reached such a low point that it was either I jumped off a bridge, or I lay down and let myself become an abused object again, just so my mind could shut down. Also if my self-worth was in tatters, it felt like a worthy punishment.
Afterwards, I’d often drink quickly and heavily, so that the next day I woke up and could pretend it was all a nightmare.
There is nothing more lonely than wandering strange streets at night, shaking with cold, smoking on your only loyal companion, and in a position where you’re desperate for anyone to pick you up and take you somewhere. I often never asked. I’d just get in their car, and wait to be told what to do. Sometimes they’d kiss me, and in kissing me they’d pass a pill over. I would wake up blurrily in a room, half-conscious and hanging off the bed, whilst a group of drunk men took it in turns to have sex with me, cheering each other on and waving their bottles in the air, before throwing up somewhere. I would lie there, numb and unmoving, staring out of the window and crying silently with shame, desperation, loneliness and fear. In those moments, I wanted to die. I wanted to drink myself to death. They’d remind me with drunken slurs – “you want this don’t you?” What could I say? I’d walked the streets. I’d got in their vehicle. I never said no. I just stayed silent, and did as I was told, and waited for the moment my head hit ‘oblivion’ and everything disappeared into nothingness.
It would be enough to get me through the next day, though I’d cry until my throat was raw and walked around feeling hollow and disgusting, yet fragile and child-like somehow. I desperately wanted someone to just ‘know’, to be blessed with the knowledge, and to not judge me, or try to fix me, or not be angry, or not sit there like ‘what do we do?’ or anything. I just wanted someone to wrap their arms around me and say “I know. And it’ll be okay” so I could cry all the pain onto their shoulder and never go back to the streets. But I refused to talk. And I refused help. Out of fear and shame. But it meant my desperate silent wish could never happen, due to my own fault.
People tell me now I’m an inspiration and I’m strong. I feel neither. I survived and I have a voice, that’s all. But when I hit low, I hit it bad. I resolve my issues through selling myself, and letting myself get so hurt that my mind just goes blank. Empty. Nothingness.
I want that now. I want to be on the streets, but I can’t go. It’ll hurt people now. But I don’t know how else to resolve this. I’m just blurrily passing through the day in shifts from extreme unbearable pain, to emptiness, to thinking I’m dead and watching the world, to despairing that I’m still alive. I know on the streets lies a solution. I know danger is also there. And I know if I’m raped even once more, I may as well be finished.
So I’m stuck, instead. And I’m just staring at my feet that are refusing to move, and thinking… what now? What next? When does this end? When will my heart stop? When will the blankness come? When can I die?