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”
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
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.