The Soundtrack of My Life – 22 – Love for a Child

I just want to preface this next post with a warning. This deals with some sensitive content around “sexual abuse” trauma, and if you are at all uncomfortable with such topics I do ask you to stop reading. I don’t want to trigger anything for anyone. This is, above all, a safe space. So, if you wish to continue I very much appreciate your continued patronage of my ridiculous little life.

This song was from one of those albums that completely defined an entire “era.” This came out right at the time that my husband and I had finally “split.” After 4 years of cheating on him and getting caught, we had decided to break-up. The only caveat being, we would still live together and sleep in the same bed. What we were doing at the time was staging what our future relationship would turn into. For all intents and purposes we were “broken up.” In reality it was an open relationship, but my husband and I were so opposed to that kind of “gay culture” (at the time) that we had to call it something else.

Out of this entire CD, there were 5 songs that just hit specific points in my husband’s and my relationship and some of my past experiences. This song, “Love for a Child” made my husband think of me. It told the tale of how, I’m assuming, a young Jason Mraz grew up just a little too early under the distracted attention of his disengaged parents. The line that specifically spoke to my husband was:

“…and making love at far too young an age
And they never checked to see my grades
What a fool I’d be to start complaining now”

It’s true, I was exposed to sex much, much too young. As a result I became overly sexualized and started to believe that I was only good for what I could offer sexually. I’m certain it is what set the foundation for my sex addiction.

The first time I was sexually abused was by a neighbor kid when I was 3. I have snapshots of what happened with him, but the one thing I remember with clarity, was my mother’s rage from finding me buck naked in the backyard. She had only checked on me because the neighborhood boy left in a hurry and I hadn’t been trailing behind.

“Why are you naked?” She had shrieked.

I remember following her back into the house, staring at her back. Her dress was beige with different colored strips and she was wearing flip flops.

All I can recall was after that event I was no longer allowed to play with that boy. Why, I didn’t know. Being the good kid I was, I followed the order.

It’s weird because that entire neighborhood was rife with kids down to do sexual stuff. When I got older there was a boy who would only ever want to play with me if he wanted “something.” He had a code name for it and I knew, once I heard that phrase, that it was gonna happen. He called it “working bears.” Which… As a gay adult man is funny to me. Bears… come on.

Once this kid got what he wanted he would turn on me. There was one time where this asshole got all of the neighborhood kids to gather on the lawn of the house across the street, and they called me a faggot. That is not an exaggeration.

My saving grace was getting out of that hell hole. My mom’s department was moving from Southern California to the Central Valley, and my mom jumped at the opportunity. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I knew, even at nine years old, that a fresh start has limitless possibilities.

While I wasn’t sexually assaulted by neighborhood kids in our new town, I was teased and bullied. So, progress, right?

I was mainly teased for being fat. I was also weird. I had adopted the mentality really early on that I rather be strange than normal. I would say “thank you” every time someone said, “You’re weird.” The need to conform to what everyone else was doing was something I never believed. That is, unless, it was awesome. (Aka power rangers bitches!) Otherwise I marched to the beat of my own drummer, and usually kids don’t like that.

The internet made making friends way easier. I had a ton of online pals who had similar interests and were also a little kooky. It was in the digital space where I found my community.

What I also found was internet pornography.

The problem with having technologically illiterate parents is that the kid ends up setting all the shit up, and therefore learns how to manipulate the programs to do what they want. Even though my parents had me on the setting for “child safe” content, I knew exactly how to remove any restrictions. And when my hormones were raging during puberty, I would change my browsing capabilities to include adult sites and I would spend HOURS perusing every photograph.

This was all gay pornography, by the way. Never once did I search for images that featured women. Why would I want to pretend when my windows of opportunity were so short? Let’s get right to the good stuff. The only problem is then I would have an identity crisis with post coital clarity. It’s super fucked up to have religious dogma mess up your orgasm. And I firmly believe it affected my ability to even relax in the moment now. I feel this immediate urge to not be where I am. To cleanse myself of my “sins.”

Good lord I am a mess.

Finally after a few years of this ritual I needed to know if I really was “gay.” The only way to do that was to take what I had seen in pictures and put it into practice. At 13 years old I started reaching out to gay men on-line to meet up for sex.

There were only two who were willing.

The first one knew that I was a chubby pre-teen and he still agreed to meet with me. I had arranged to meet him at a Wal-greens around the corner from my house. There he would pick me up and take me back to his place. I logged off, jerked off, and found the terror in my ridiculous plan.

I logged back on and told him that my dad was a cop and I was going to turn him in. He freaked the fuck out on me. I panicked, again, and then told him that wasn’t true. He responded with this filthy e-mail saying how he was going to find me and kill me. I deleted it, but I should have turned that shit into AOL and regret not having done that to this day.

This episode left me frightened from another attempt for a about a year. Then the draw to do something about my desires pushed me to try again.

The second person I spoke to was “Scott.” He was an over the road trucker, in his 40’s, who agreed to meet with me. I lied about my age, but even when I was “honest” about being “16” he still agreed to meet with me. (God, my rage is building.)

Like an idiot I agreed to have him pick me up at midnight at the end of my street. I thought that this was safer than him picking me up at my actual house. (I didn’t want him to know where I lived!)

Like a hooker waiting for her next trick, I waited out on the corner.

Sidenote: no shame to sex workers. I just say that because of the irony of the scene.

Scott pulled up in his beat-up, aquamarine Mazda sedan. I got in and he drove me to his house just a mile down the street from my own. He snuck me in, and as we were on our way to his room someone started to come out into the hall. He yelled at them to get back in their room, to which they immediately did. He ushered me back into his room and we did stuff on his water bed.

Shortly after I met him for the first time, he dropped me off and I walked back home saying, with “absolute certainty,” that I was definitely not gay. I did not enjoy that. He smelled, he was hairy, he was old. I was not into it. With hindsight I know now it’s because I didn’t enjoy it with him. Even though, plot twist, hairy and older are very much my type. Do with that what you will.

While I wasn’t coerced into anything (I sought him out and initiated the conversation) he should not have agreed. Once he learned my age he should have shut that shit down, explained to me that that isn’t appropriate or even legal. He should have known that I was not emotionally or mentally prepared to deal with that choice. But, he did not.

The thing I find so insane is: why would he risk everything to do it? He didn’t know that I wouldn’t have told my parents. I could have turned him in, told them where he lived, or helped with a sting operation through instant message. All of these I should have done, but that would have meant telling the truth to my parents. Instead I kept it to myself to deal.

I look back on this with regret. I took from myself something that should have, at the very least, meant something special. Instead, I treated my first sexual encounter as a case study. One where the results were skewed and that, inevitably, didn’t hold any weight in my future choices.

I wish I could say that I never went back, but I met up with this dude three more times. Each time more repulsive than the last. My “favorite” had to be my first time performing penetrative sex on him in the back of his semi, parked in a Rite-Aid parking lot.

There is this video going around TikTok that states: we are who we would have felt safe with as a kid. The truth in that statement is unreal. These encounters turned me into a grizzly bear when it comes to kids and sex. If I hear someone has been harmed I get very, very angry. I want to do everything in my power to protect them from the mind fuck that comes with it. I want to keep them from ever having to deal with that kind of trauma. The only way that will ever happen is that we must sit down with our youth and have very honest and open conversations. Without them it makes sex this secret, sinister thing. One in which we need to feel shame in. And while that is not always true, there are shameful acts (as depicted above), it should come with no emotional baggage.

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