My Inner Catholic Girl: Part Three

Posted by on Jul 25, 2018 in My Inner Catholic Girl

My Inner Catholic Girl: Part Three

In Part Two of this Inner Catholic Girls series, I wrote about integrating my two Inner Catholic Girls.

In the process of doing that, I discovered a third one.

I guess if you sit long enough, write long enough, you’ll get deep enough in your psyche to hit pay dirt.

Because she’s the one I’ve been searching for all along.  She’s the one with the sexual shame.

My hope is that by sharing her story, it will have a cathartic effect not only for me, as I move forward with the promotion of my erotic memoir, but for anyone else who wrestles with sexual shame.

As I’ve watched the #MeToo movement unfold in the media, I felt so much awe and compassion for all the women who were finding the courage to come forward with their stories.

But it was their story, not mine.  I’ve never been sexually harassed. Or so I thought.

I was nine …

…and had my first crush on a dark-haired, brown eyed boy named B.J. who was in the other fourth grade class at my Catholic grade school.  One day during morning recess, I remember it was a Friday, another boy from that class named Chuck handed me a note that said, Will you go with me? 

It was from B.J.

I was excited, but nervous too because I didn’t know what exactly ‘going with’ someone entailed. The red blush across my freckled cheeks triggered Chuck who saw his opportunity to be the bully that he was. He took it upon himself, over the course of the day, to give me his interpretation.

Will you go with me? evolved by lunch into Are you going to go to second base with him? I was nine. I didn’t even have breasts. My stomach was so churned up I couldn’t even eat.

He kept pressuring me for an answer and each time I hesitated, the question got harder to answer. By the end of lunch he was talking fingering and pushing for third. I ended up saying no just to get rid of him but Chuck was on a roll. Before P.E, the last class of the day, he was demanding: Are you going to go all the way and fuck him in the park tomorrow?

The initial excitement of thinking that B.J. had a crush on me too, had progressed, at his buddy’s hand, into something sordid, aggressive and scary.  My cheeks burned hot and my stomach hurt so much I had to sit out while the other girls learned the Irish jig. I was so grateful it was Friday so I could leave it all behind.

But of course it was right there waiting for me on Monday morning. Even my mother, a nurse, was convinced I was too sick to go to school. She finally got it out of me, like only a mother can, but I watered it down and told her simply that a boy at school was teasing me because I was too embarrassed and humiliated to repeat the words he used.

The next day I had to wait in the hallway while she talked to my teacher. When the adults were done, Mrs. Nash escorted me back into the classroom which was twice as big as normal because the retractable wall was open between the two fourth grade classes for a joint lesson. Everyone was staring at me with my red swollen eyes. Ten minutes later, Chuck was called down to the principal’s office.

The shame had so many layers. I was ashamed that I had somehow attracted the sexual aggression because of my crush.  I was ashamed that I couldn’t handle ‘going with’ someone.  I was ashamed that I tattled and got Chuck in trouble and everyone knew it.

Looking at this memory through the lens of an erotica writer of 53, I think how strange it is that a sweet, innocent girl who was harassed by a sexual bully is the one who has been carrying around the shame of it for 44 years.

This is mild, kid’s stuff shame compared to the stories of  harassment and assault of the #MeToo movement. Victims expressed that they didn’t speak up because of shame.  Perpetrators expressed shame (at least some, like Matt Lauer) when they were caught.

So what is all this societal sexual shame and where the hell did it come from anyway?  And I don’t think we can pin it all on Eve or the pilgrims.

Regardless of the source, we need to heal it.  It has been festering like an antibiotic- resistant infection in the heart of our collective sensuality for far too long.

I have a memoir of beautiful, soulful erotica that is steeped in love, nature and spirit, the kind of erotica I always looked for and could rarely find, and I’ve been hesitant to share it for fear of triggering other people’s shame and thus launching mine off the charts.

So enough.  Enough of sexual shame. What I know of the Law of Attraction is this: continually talking, thinking and writing about the way things are only reinforces the neural pathways and vibrations that keep attracting more if it.

So right here, right now, I’m changing my story.  I’m going to think, talk and write about the reality I want to create. Finally, a way my healing artist and literary artist can work together: to inspire others to heal their sexuality by watching me heal mine.

So here it is, my new mantra: I joyously and confidently embrace the sacredness of my sexuality and in doing so, inspire others to do the same.

Amen.

4 Comments

  1. This is potent and True stuff, CC. #MeToo on this. I guess we also would’ve been sisters in 4th grade. BTW, just for my copy of Seduced by a River. So glad it is back in print.

    • Hey Ruby,
      You too? Does it still affect you? I had to really dig deep to find my Third Inner Catholic Girl and I feel so much more confident and free now that I’ve written about her. Thanks for reading and allowing your fourth grade self to hold space for mine.

      And many thanks for supporting Seduced By A River. I’m so glad it’s out of the closet and back out in the world with the new heart rock cover. It actually sparkles!

  2. I’m so impressed our you excavated the source of your sexual shame. A part of me is reading this as someone who also has an inner Catholic girl with lots of sexual shame. Another part is reading this as a mother who hopes to raise her boys with a sense of sacred sexuality. I’m interested in the shame that kept you from completely disclosing to your mother what happened and if there could be a rewind, redo what an attuned mother could do in that situation to heal the wound there and then (if possible).

    I love the mantra. I will repeat it often. Thank you for writing and sharing. Your writing helps me.

    • Great question, Judith.

      I think a big part of the shame that kept me from full disclosure was that I’d never had any dialogue with anyone about sex before. I got initiated by a sexual bully. The ‘Becoming A Person’ sex education class didn’t happen in my Catholic school until fifth grade. This was 44 years ago. Kids are exposed to so much more sexuality in society now.

      I don’t have kids but to try and answer your question, I guess having an open dialogue about sex with your kids might help. Empower them with knowledge when they are young so they aren’t learning about it from a sexual bully.

      I don’t envy you navigating those waters with young boys because yes, sex is sacred, but it’s also wild crazy and fun. Understanding how to embrace it all with joyousness and respect~I think many adults are still trying to figure that out.

      You have the right intention.

      As far as healing the wound right then~there would need to be a lot of insight into what the wound even is, an awareness children don’t have. I wouldn’t have been able to pin the words ‘shame’ or ‘humiliation’ to how I felt. My stomach just hurt.

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