Sometimes I still feel unworthy
**Trigger warning this includes stories about adult and childhood sexual abuse**
Play and listen along
I‘ve avoided writing this because I didn’t feel like crying today. But this week of mercury[merchurry] retrograding has triggered tf out of me.
Reminded me of the traumas that are buried so deep, sometimes I forget their there because there are parts of me that are still painfully difficult to believe.
Sometimes I still feel unworthy.
32 with the world at her feet. Sometimes I still feel unworthy and it makes me feel so weak.
At 32, there are some things you could not pay me to believe. Like how some people struggle with imposter syndrome or unattractiveness. That type of sh-t doesn’t phase me, cause I always feel like I belong, because I belong to my mf myself. And I’m fine af and you cannot convince me otherwise. I love the f–k out of me.
But worthiness. Bae bay, that thang right there sometimes gets to me.
Even though I am actively choosing me.
Notes on worthiness, accountability, trauma, wholeness and patterns
I have often felt unlovable and neglected for much of my life. By the time I reached my grandparents house at fourteen I had already felt so damaged and bruised. That even the love they poured back into me couldn’t undo what had already been done to me.
One day a few months before my grandmother passed, I was driving home from work having one of our daily “talk me home” conversations my grandmother asked me the one question I had tried seventeen years to avoid, “Dominique who did it?”
She read everything I wrote. She say, “Dominique I see your writing, and you never talk about it and it ain’t gon heal till you do.”
“Dominique who did it?”
“Grandma, it don’t matter who did it. It matters that they did it. The act itself is what matters.”
Grandma, this healing is for you.
I was habitually molested growing up. The earliest recollections I can remember is around age twelve visiting one of my favorite cousins and her brother forcing me to touch and suck his dick. Sometimes, I can still remember the musty stank of his teenage room. My cycle came that same year and I remember hiding that too. I remember telling my favorite brother-cousin about what the other cousin did to me and he asked me to perform it on his baby dick too. And me not knowing anything differently, I did it again in shame afraid he would tell someone else.
And then before that it was those “hide and go get it” games friends and cousins played out of curiosity that I know now were natural. But there were no conversations back then on “healthy touch” nor consent.
So essentially, we were all groomed.
But the one that has troubled me the longest and caused the highest source of pain, is being molested by my stepfather. And I have tried for so long to protect that man, that in return all I have ever felt is unprotected, neglected and abused.
I am so tired of holding on to this secret, for the sake of my mother. But she knew and she didn’t protect me too.
And it hurts, that for so long, I thought I could earn love. Be more valuable in love. If I performed for love.
What I know now is that this is a love of desperation.
And all I ever wanted was someone to love and protect me and I couldn’t get it. I was a child protecting adults on things a child should never know. I have bare witness to every type of abuse–domestic, sexual, physical, financial, substance.
Sometimes I wonder how I made it out and thank God I wasn’t taken out when I wrote a play in my black and white composition notebook at twelve years old, called “God, Please Take Me Out of this Hateful World.”
I was always worthy of sex with men it seemed. But never worthy of being seen. Sex whether wanted or unwanted. Has been deeply associated with shame and trauma for me.
In my early years in college. I was selectively and at other times un-selectively promiscuous. I can’t count the number of one night stands I have had. And I didn’t really care. Much of my trauma at that time was medicinally cared for through sex and alcohol.
Incidents over the years like losing my virginity that was already stolen from me at twenty one, felt like being raped all over again but instead of being a dark musty room I was in
in my red chevy cobalt car in the darkest woods with someone who was supposed to be one of my cousin’s friends. And then it happened again in the Bahamas and after the club one night in Tallahassee.
What I know now is that anyone who touches you without your consent or permission is wrong, is wrong, is wrong. I don’t care how old you are, what you got on, how much you had to drink, what you consented to then changed your mind.
Empowered consent I realize now was the missing component for me.
I never felt empowered in my choosing.
Because I wasn’t given a fair opportunity to be empowered in my choosing. Sex, being in control of my own body and permssion with my choices were not available to me. I did not have a choice. My choice was inflicted upon me.
So how does all of this impact 32 year old Dominique?
I have made a lot of f–cked up a– decisions from wanting to be considered worthy and loveable.
I have often given too much, too soon. I have chosen a marriage that felt safe and reliable, but still neglected. I have had poor boundaries with people. I have had sex because someone else wanted me to, instead of the pleasure I desire. I have often sacrificed my worthiness to have the label of being liked and valued. I have performed in work and in love to be chosen. And yet I have actively been choosing men that are unavailable to me.
I have a pattern of choosing men that are unavailable to me. And I didn’t realize it until two days ago when over drinks with my sister-friend Roxane told me.
That sh-t hit me like a ton of bricks of ahh haas. That even after seven years of working through my sh-t, I still felt unworthy and it was obvious in the men that I was choosing.
Being with unavailable men feels sometimes safe to me. Because they often aren’t looking to control me. Being with unavailable men, feels at first real easy because they often neglect me. I know neglect real well. Being with unavailable men, feels positive sometimes because I am a busy person with many roles and I want someone who is purposely going after their own goals.
The one real lesson I have right now is that being with unavailable men causes me to question my worthiness. I start asking myself, “Why am I not good enough? What is it about me that they are not choosing me?” Never enough to actually make me change who I am in order to be with them, but often I participate in their half a– versions of romance to get some of what I want, but not all of it. Or I do it for a lil while and then block they a– when I get sick of their sh-t.
When a man I’m interested in says to me straightforwardly or off handedly through their words or their actions, “I don’t want you in this way. I don’t want to date you. I just want to f-k you.” I need to believe them. The first time. I don’t have to convince myself differently. I don’t have to perform for love. I don’t have to convince them of my worthiness to be chosen by them.
I am whole and well. And I deserve love that is whole and well.
Brokenness does not reside in me and I don’t operate from that lense anymore. And yet wholeness is a new framework for me to navigate. But I have all the confidence and ability to know I must hold my own self accountable by choosing differently. I can see it. I can spot it. And I can do differently.
I will not repeat these cycles and patterns.
I will not feel shame for wanting sex, physical touch, emotional support or affection.
I will be poured back into and cared for romantically, as well as I care for other people.
I can have what is available to me. But not ANY Damn thing.
Love and romance can be incredibly easy.
I am not afraid to walk away when it doesn’t align.
I will not be neglected in love.
I will be loved purposely, outloud, consistently.
I will remind myself, as Kaneisha says, “tread softly”.
And to give myself the grace to know the difference between unworthiness and love.