Skyler Mechelle: Being sexual after my sexual abuse

My abuse has nothing to do with how sensual of a person I am or who I am attracted to sexually
Content TeamBy Content Team  •  Mar 19, 2017 at 9:52am  •  Consent, Rape, Sex

Reclaiming my sexuality and sensuality after years of incest from both my mother and father, alongside being trafficked in my teen years, has been quite the endeavour. However, contrary to uneducated belief, the only common factor between sexuality and trauma is the level of silencing they both endure. My abuse has nothing to do with how sensual of a person I am or who I am attracted to sexually, but it has undeniably influenced my navigation around these two very taboo topics.

 

“Nobody but me can tell me what I feel. Nobody but me can tell me who I love”

I was raped by father for over 15 years, and I like women (and men). I am a woman who believes the best and most vital part of navigating life post-trauma is in the reclamation of self-autonomy. Re-conditioning the story in my head, that is separate from the abuse itself, that tells me everyday that I am unworthy, not enough, too much, and can never fit inside the world – that only my abuser’s will understand and love me – is akin to re-conditioning the story in my head that tries to fit my sexuality within a box. Nobody but me can tell me what I feel, even if I were completely lying about the trauma I have suffered from. Nobody but me can tell me who I love, even if I were completely lying about the sexual preferences I hold. Our stories and our sensual nature are both fluid, but our emotions in response to both can never lie.

 

After walking through a huge chunk of the ‘deep stuff’ (the nightmares, repressed memories, reporting, etc) that took roughly 3 years of consistent, sacrificial commitment, I began to transition my focus from finding a safe space to heal that allowed me to surrender myself to the grief of being torn open by my once-normalised abuse, to entering into the most intriguing season where I begun to figure out and discern what I needed and wanted from life post-trauma. Who I was, aside from what I endured. What I have come to accept is that no matter who I love, what job I hold, what my economic status is, or how far I run, nothing can lessen the weight of my abuse, just like nothing can forcefully separate me from my fluidity in sexual attraction.

 

 

Being bisexual means that I have seasons where I am completely head-over-heels attracted to men, and sort of blasé towards women, and seasons where I only have eyes for my own gender. This alone has been one of the most challenging aspects of my sexuality because, despite what I want to tell you, there will always be a survivor in me that craves control of the situations I experience and the emotions I feel. My trauma was stable, despite being the horrific mind-fuck that it was to be raped and drugged and trafficked by my family, because it was the most consistent aspect of my life for 18 years. Life post-trauma is the opposite of consistent, and exploring my sexuality is no different.

I will be totally honest about the fact that I have never consensually engaged in any activity with another person, male or female, nor did I engage in any sexual acts during this exploration. Walking through my delayed sexual development, because I was never able to explore it during my childhood, ended up bringing up far more clarity to my abuse than I expected. And, in order to honour myself, I chose to walk it out solo. Not everyone does, but for me and my trauma, this was the best option.

 

From Anne of Green Gables to Hunger Games

I began by exploring books, staring with beautifully innocent YA novels where there was an exploration of relationships of both a platonic and romantic nature. Using the character’s development as a guide to something I truly had not been privy to in my life before. I am talking Anne of Green Gables to Hunger Games shit. Books that allowed me to graze over the assimilation-into-the-real-world component of most of my trauma work and instead gain an understanding of what it would have felt like, for me, to experience youthful crushes to healthy platonic friendships. Since  I was past my teenage stage of life, nearing twenty, I needed to tap into my developmental years elsewhere in order to reclaim some of what I missed.

Being sensual beings start the moment we are born. Our bodies are our home, but unfortunately the lack of education and authentic communication around our experience of ourselves consciously and subconscious teaches us that being mature means being disconnected. Children touch themselves, explore their scent, understand their bodies and their nature far more than adults want to admit. They are the first to accept someone’s love life, the first to be clear about what feels good or feels unsafe, and the first to know what they want. Healing from my trauma allowed me to explore the innocence of being a child, as much as it allowed me to tap into the maturity of being a sensual woman, and neither side is more important.

It has taken years for me to come home to myself, after such an intense history of exploitation and manipulation of my body. To feel safe in my skin, reclaim the innocence of my childhood, and experience the depth of my womanhood. In the strangest of ways, I am grateful for the way my trauma has led me to experience myself. I will never fit inside a box, I will always be fluid, and I will always know how to return home to body I was born into.I was raped by father for over 15 years, I like women and men, and I am allowed to talk openly about both.

 

Skyler Mechelle is a budding author and advocate, traveling the world and sharing her harrowing story of abuse. Her commitment to ending the stigma of what life after trauma looks like, feels like, and can be not only serves to validate those who have experience abuse themselves, but those desiring to understand it.

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