Spilling it out
Every time I try, it comes out melodramatic or pompous or disrespectful towards people who have really suffered, and I make an excuse and talk about something else. I'm fighting the urge, right now, to delete this post and give the whole thing up as a complete loss.
The abuse I went through wasn't dramatic, but it was pervasive. I can't remember a time when I wasn't bullied at school - although honesty compels me to add that my memories from before the age of about nine are lightly sketched. In primary school, it was mostly thumpings; in secondary school it morphed into taunts that hit with frightening accuracy on my most tender spots. At sixteen, I transferred to a college where I knew literally no-one: for the first time, I wasn't marked out as everyone's target.
I always characterised my relationships as unrequited love, but there was more to it than that. I had a boyfriend who sexually assaulted me to stop me doing something he found annoying. I had a boyfriend who fulfilled every classic sign of an abuser except actually laying a hand on me - a boyfriend I later discovered had raped a 14-year-old girl. I had a boyfriend whose cold anger terrified me, and even now I haven't worked out whether it was because I loved him so desperately or because he had some darker hold over me.
I stopped having boyfriends after that. I had one-night stands with people who refused to even acknowledge my existence afterwards. I had a fling with a man I would call an emotional abuser except that I suspect his behaviour is more or less accidental. I had a friends-with-benefits arrangement with a man who, many months after shaking me off, casually wished Scunthorpe a defeat that would have devastated me once more.
I struggle to deal with the ordinary facts of life that everyone else takes in their stride. I can't remember when I first thought I might be a boy, or when I first realised my mind wasn't the same as everyone else's, but the extravagent grief over little things is there in my very earliest reliable memory. I can no longer work out what's cause and what's effect, even to my own satisfaction, but I can't see a way to make myself not mind without losing the nearest thing I have to a cornerstone of my being.
This story has no moral; this story has no end. I just wanted to get it into the open before I lost my nerve completely.