I get the strongest urge at times to utterly destroy myself, to hurt and hurt and hurt myself, to shred myself to bits. To punish myself. It's as if I've internalised what they said to me - you deserve it, you like it, you were meant for this - worthless! Bitch! Dirty girl! Slut! Whore... and on. There's a part of me that feels horribly dirty and damaged beyond repair, which makes any attempt at change seem utterly futile.
My therapist said to me, when you encounter evil of the type you have experienced, most people go with one of two options: destroy others, thus perpetuating the evil, or destroy themselves. I took the latter course. I believed the badness, the hatred and aggression, and the dirtiness, which belonged to the men who used me, to be mine. There were no boundaries: nothing was mine, nothing was sacred, there was nothing that couldn't be smashed and tainted. Their words circled in my head, their hands possessed my body, their body fluids in and on me, my pain their orgasm. They consumed me. Not surprising then that I was confused about what was their stuff and what was mine. Degradation after degradation, beating after beating, rape after rape. It was always my fault - my fault I got hit for not cooperating, for showing him up, for making him angry, my fault I got raped because I deserved it, liked it, was a slut anyway, had it coming to me.
They told me it was my fault, and I believed them. Their voices were louder, more persistent, more cruel, playing on my fears, on my insecurities than the small whisper in my head that said this isn't right, what they do and say isn't right. They told me I was dirty and it fit my experience: I felt dirty, a collection of holes to be fucked and cum on and in. They told me I was worthless: I felt worthless, disposable, when one man after another used me and then left me, a battered wreck, to clean myself up, to make myself decent for the next fucking. They told me I liked it, and I thought, no I don't, but I found myself saying I did, colluding, to try and stay safe, try and avoid any more violence.
I felt at times I simply can't take anymore - anymore shouting, anymore beatings, anymore punishments. Anything but that, I'll do anything. And I did. The shame stays with me, the self-blame stays with me.
To survive what was happening, I used to tell myself it doesn't really matter, I don't matter, this body isn't really me. Unable to remove myself from that situation, just to survive, I ended up internalising the attitude of my abusers, denying my own feelings and rights and humanity. Knowing I might die there, but powerless to change that, coming close, I detached from myself, and said to myself, so be it. So tired, so so tired of the fear and the pain and the daily horror of being sold.
It's a slow and painful process to say to myself that I do matter, that what was done to me does matter, and to really believe it. There remains a behaviour pattern in me that makes it much easier to say, particularly when I'm tired and struggling and hurting as I am right now, it doesn't matter: none of this matters and neither do I, and hurt myself again. To detach from this body, as I did then, to separate off, let the body take the punishment, and self harm. I get this overwhelming urge to purge myself of this evil, to be rid of it, to destroy every last bit of it, but this evil left its marks on me, on Angel, in the form of scars and body memories, association. To wipe out the past would be to wipe out the body, to wipe out me, to end myself.
I have come to understand, though it has taken time, and the urge to hurt myself, to punish myself remains strong, that this is misplaced emotion. I don't want to erase Angel, and I shan't. I just don't want to feel dirty anymore, feel shameful anymore, feel worthless anymore. I still feel powerless in the face of the sex industry. But I can see that this is not my shame to bear. I can see that the dirt and the guilt and the blame lie with the men who used and sold me. The feelings, though, oh the feelings! They take a little longer to catch up. As long as I keep doing the right actions - talking about this stuff, writing about this stuff - I don't have to act on it. I didn't get clean and sober to fuck myself up another way.
You know what needs destroying? The sex industry with all its lies and abuses. I fully intend to do everything in my power to aid that process.