For as long as I can remember I've known that I was different. I would volunteer to be tied up in childhood games, at night when I went to sleep I would cocoon myself tightly in the blankets until I could hardly move. I remember playing some sort of damsel in distress game with the girl who lived across the street and failing miserably to grasp the concept. We had been kidnapped (or something) by the "Bad Guy" and were now being held captive. I remember my thoughts being something along the lines of an eager, "so is he going to do something horrible with us?" to which the response was, "no the prince will rescue us first" (my reaction to the revelation that we didn't want to be captives was to suggest we just escape ourselves instead of waiting around to be rescued).
For nearly as long as I can remember being different I can remember knowing that this difference was Bad and Wrong. I knew this so surely that I tried to squash the difference, and I hated myself when I couldn't. It would squeeze its way out, filling my mind with thoughts that disgusted and excited me all at once. And the fact that they excited me disgusted me even more.
This fusion of budding sexuality, shame, and guilt surged within me for several years before sucking me into the nightmare that, looking back, seems like a logical result of my painful insecurity and self-loathing.
I was sixteen, at a new high school, horribly shy and alone. "Hook a loop of fear-paralysation into a mind frantically denying its need to surrender, bait a touch-starved, curious adolescent with affection from a pretty older boy, and watch a psyche fragment into a perfect rape victim and a panicked, impotent observer. Respectful and loving submission was unavailable, unthinkable, unallowable, so all I had was deer-in-the-headlights capitulation, where my sexual drives and my terror and his unceasing pressure conspired to shove me into a closet in my head." I froze - couldn't speak, couldn't move. I think he was oblivious rather than malicious, but maybe that's just what I tell myself in order to retain some shred of sanity. I have never forgiven myself for my inability to respond, or for what came after. At the end, when I could speak again, the only words that came were the ones he wanted to hear, not the agonized scream that lived deep inside me for years before I finally let it out. After all, he was nice enough about it, he just never noticed I was gone.
A good girl, a normal girl, would have said no or pushed him away, it would have been rape. But I didn't, because I couldn't, so it was just sex. Because really, if there wasn't something wrong with me, if I wasn't such a terribly sick freak, it never would have happened. And so I stayed. For five years.
It wasn't all bad, but most of it was. And it got worse as time passed, became explicitly rape. I learned how to say no, and how to push back. One day, four years later, the wall just snapped. I threw him halfway across the room. I never let him touch me again, even though it was a few more months before I left without ever looking back. I learned how to fight for myself. And somehow, by learning how to articulate and defend what I did not want, I managed to come to terms with what I did.
So don't (anyone, ever) tell me that my submission is like abuse or my partner is an abuser. Don't be surprised if I bare my teeth when you suggest that I can't make that distinction. I've been to that hell, I shed my humanity to the gate-keepers along the way. And then I came back.
With me I brought back clarity of vision. Believe me when I say I can see the difference.