October 11, 2003

Pale Blue Tile

I guess when you lift the saucepan cover off the top of this blog, you don't know what you are going to find inside. Is it serious today? Is it about sex today? Who knows. You just have to dip in the spoon to see.

Here is something very few people know about me-I hate pale blue bathroom tile.

There are many very personal details about me on this blog. I talk a lot about sex, and I have no problem with doing that here. When it comes to sex and sex topics, pretty much anything goes with me (andÖerÖhas done, too). But there are a few things that I will not do in bed: no Fido. No little Lars. Bless the beasts and the children, and protect them from the rigors of the bedroom.

And I will not have anal sex.

This is not because it is a religious problem with me. Itís not because I find it repulsive. Itís not due to the whole silly adage that ďif it goes out the hole, it doesnít go inĒ (if you believe that one, perhaps you should strike off blow-jobs, folks. And since no one wants to strike that one offÖ)

The reason I do not have anal sex is not only do I not find it comfortable, but I was raped that way when I was 19.

I was living with a partner at the time, and one day in the shower, he forced it. I remember that we were arguing at the time. What about, I am not sure-it seems irrelevant now that there are bigger issues. The steam of the shower was strong, the argument was heated, and something made my partner snap. He grabbed me and pushed me against the wall, holding my head against a towel bar (WHY do people put towel bars in the shower? Why?). He was a weight lifter, and much stronger than me, and since I was on the curved end of the bathtub and struggling to hold my purchase on where I stood, I wasnít able to wiggle around much.

And then he forced himself into me. Anally. I remember searing, blinding pain. He grabbed some shampoo to aid in getting it in easier, and the pain was accompanied by stinging the likes of which I had never felt. It was as though I had been sliding down a slide of razor blades and landed in a pool of alcohol. I had this weird, heavy weighty feeling inside of me like I had to go to the bathroom.

He held my face hard against the towel bar and all I could see was the shoddy caulking job that held the towel bar on the wall, bits of lumpy grey caulk with protruding bits. I could see the clear shower curtain, and the open bathroom door.

And the pale blue tile that my face was held against.

I think I croaked out the word no. Or maybe I didnít. I canít really recall, and if I said anything, it is unlikely he heard me anyway. I remember that the front of my body was outside of the spray of the shower and I was freezing. The back of my body was scalding hot from the steam and perhaps the pain, which was very, very real. He finished, and got out of the shower.

And I just stood there.

You know that scene in ďLeaving Las VegasĒ where the prostitute who has been raped anally just sits in the shower and bleeds? That is exactly what I did. I just stood there and bled, dripping out a mixture of bright red blood and semen. I stood there until the hot water went cold, and then I finally I got out of the shower, dried off, and went about my life.

We broke up very soon after. And even though I live across the Atlantic now, a restraining order I have against him still stands. The truth is, I donít hate him and I donít wish him ill. I actually donít even think about him. The last I heard he had married and had a kid. And you know, I hope he has a good life. I donít even wish any vengeance on him. If you rape someone, you obviously have issues-and my hope is that someday he gets his sorted out.

There are a lot of bloggers that have addressed the issue of rape, including Layne, Jim, Jamie, and many others. For a lot of people, rape is something that has been the pinnacle of trauma, and it changes the person forever due to the horrible forced sexual situation. And the truth of the matter is, rape is horrible. It is about complete and utter loss of control. It is about abuse, pain, and anger. It is violation the likes of which you canít come back from.

But for me, being raped did not change my life. It is not something I think about, hardly ever, really. I am not burying it and hiding it, I just wonít let it own me. I know that I handle it a bit differently than most people-neither better nor worse, this is just the way that I played with the hand I was dealt. Everyone handles things differently. I have some issues with my life, but none of them stem back to this incident-for that's all it was-one ugly, horrible incident.

The thing of it is, I took a step back from what happened and said: Yup. That was a bad situation, and I never want to be there again. And what happened was this: he took advantage of my body. He tried to take away my security and peace of mind. He tried to take control and show me that he is stronger than I am. But he doesnít get to have that. I am not going to give this guy my peace of mind.

So he may have fucked my body, but he sure as hell does not have the chance to fuck with my spirit.

What happened afterwards? Well, I bled for a few days, so much so that I even had to wear a maxi-pad. I had a funny crease-mark shape on the side of my cheek where my face was held against the towel bar. But that was about it, and physically and emotionally I just moved on. I have plenty of horrible memories about other things that I re-live and struggle with. This is not one of them. Because I just wonít let him hurt me like that.

The only lingering side effects from what happened are this:

I will not have anal sex.

I get viciously angry at men that hurt women.

And I absolutely, positively hate pale blue tile.


Posted by Everydaystranger at October 11, 2003 08:21 AM | TrackBack

Wow. I found this post while looking through your archives, and it blew me away. Until now, I had thought well of you, as a funny, nice person. The strength you've shown here took me completely by surprise. Words can't express what I'm feeling, but I think I'll be looking at all the other "everyday strangers" around me a little differently now. Thanks.

Posted by: Scott at October 30, 2003 05:47 PM


You're a better woman than I am. On occasion I still have dreams about beating him until he's begging for mercy. And mine was much longer ago.

For you it's pale blue tile. For me it's the Spiderman sheets that were on his little brother's bed.

I fucking hate Spiderman.

Posted by: Kaetchen at October 13, 2003 06:53 PM

LeeAnn-that was a really nice comment. Thanks:) Am not quite sure my blog is bound for the Louvre, but am honored you like it.

Pylorns-about self-abuse...I understand it. Believe me. I'm still there in fact, and perhaps is a post for another day.

Posted by: H at October 13, 2003 08:11 AM

I never really talk to much about this, well I never talk about this because of the sensitive nature. My x, had just come out of an abusive relationship when I met her, so abusive that sex with her even 4 years later was impossible. Not in the sense that we didn't have it, but the fact that anytime she came close to orgasm she'd go through contortions and jump off. Now, me being on my way to my phd in psychology, I worked with her for years I got her off prozac, got her to talk about things, but the depravity he must have done, 5 years later now, has not been undone.

This is not the reason that we broke up, there were other reasons. Amoung some of her issues, when she'd get mad she'd always want to hit herself. Ingrained in her, the thought of abuse. I really won't get into any theory here because I don't want to touch off any arguments. But this subject makes me angry, the men who do it, and the women who put up with it for years and do nothing, and tell no one.

Posted by: pylorns at October 13, 2003 01:17 AM

Holy fucking shit. I am consistently amazed by the stuff I read here. Not just that an innocent thing like blue tile can transmogify into the nastiest, most horrid of things to endure, but that you can be so... open. So willing to tell.
You are one brave person.
Btw, in a footnote-ish kind of way, I have to say that after I read anything you've written, it takes me quite some time to write anything of my own. Sort of a "once they've seen the Mona Lisa, how you gonna keep 'em down with the paint-by-numbers" thing.
Extreme kudos.

Posted by: LeeAnn at October 13, 2003 12:40 AM

Jamie and Melo-hang in there, Girls. You're far from alone.

David and Tom-thanks. I honestly appreciate it. Sometimes, even the most resilient feel a little lost:)

Sue-you have a really big voice in you. Let it out, Sister.

Posted by: H at October 12, 2003 07:29 PM

You indeed are blessed with resilience. It says alot about your character that you hold no real ill will against them.

Posted by: Tom at October 12, 2003 05:44 AM

You are really blessed with resilience.

Posted by: David at October 12, 2003 02:12 AM

Ah, the out-coming.

I'm not sure if rape was the pinnicle of trauma.. but it was pretty fucking bothersome.

Yay for the non-fuckage of the spirit.

And you know, I hope he has a good life. I donít even wish any vengeance on him. If you rape someone, you obviously have issues-and my hope is that someday he gets his sorted out.

I guess that makes you a better person than.. well.. me. :]

Take care. xx

Posted by: Jamie at October 11, 2003 02:05 PM

H! I'm sorry.

I've been raped at age 9. I've very successfully blanked out a lot of horrible memories and I've dealt with it the way you have. I went off men during my teenage years and I've hated men until age 22 and I hate visiting doctors. Unfortunately, the bastard in my case was a paedatrician. I've never been able to not be nervous around doctors since then, despite the fact that my mother's side of the family has 11 generations of doctors. I have nothing against them personally, but I just cant.

Posted by: melodrama at October 11, 2003 10:05 AM

Your ability to be so honest and open is a continual reminder of how huge the wall is that protects my innermost feelings. I'm working on tearing that sucker down and in some small way, whether you realize it or not (probably not since this is the first time I've mentioned it) you're helping. Simply put, I appreciate what you do with your little corner of the www.

Posted by: Sue at October 11, 2003 09:10 AM
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