Hell has three gates: lust, anger, and greed. Bhagavad GitaWhen I was a little child, an uncle abused me. It didn't happen, my mother decreed, not out of vindictiveness or a desire to hurt me but rather out of a need to protect herself from fear and sorrow and a truth she couldn't deal with. As I grew into a woman and found the courage to look at those events long ago, I found the duality of my journey. In my consciousness rising, the question arose, "If it didn't happen, what happened to me to make me so ill at ease with myself? It must be me."
I craved, I yearned, I lusted after the truth about me. And, as happens to many who suffered abuse at a young age, to compensate for my disbelief about what had happened, I disowned my body and separated from my psyche. Lust drove me to understand. Lust drove me to hurt myself. Lust drove me into unloving arms and painful situations as I craved to find the real me beneath the lie I could not escape, "It was all my fault."
And then I had daughters, two of them, and the truth came howling in with the ferocity of a double barrel shotgun blasting the tentative walls of my resistance to smithereens in one resounding crash. Their childhoods were my responsibility. I could be a good mother if I gave up lusting for knowledge of what's wrong with me and embraced the miracle of my birthright to be all I'm meant to be. "What happened to me as a child was not my fault. What happens to me as an adult is my responsibility." became my mantra and I stepped timidly into the waters of self-revelation, seeking to reclaim my soul and my wonder of the miracle of my birth.
And still I struggled.
I lusted for what I couldn't find within me. I yearned for what I didn't know how to touch. I craved for that which no one else could give me to make me whole.
Love of me myself and I. All of me as One within me.
And then, one night I stood out on the street dressed in skimpy clothing, kewpie doll make-up and false eye-lashes fluttering to disguise the fear in my eyes as I went eyeball to eyeball with man after man named john who drove up to my corner of the street, lusting for the elixir of my body enveloping theirs.
I had been coached. I had spent countless hours researching what I was doing. I had interviewed prostitutes and johns and pimps. And still, I had no idea what was in store for me that night.
I stood on the corner, exposed, frightened, terrified. Further down the street two under cover police officers watched, protecting me. Keeping me in their sights. And still I felt alone. A piece of meat on display for wandering johns to encircle, examine, vet. Yes I lust for you. No I don't.
I was 'prepared'. But nothing could prepare me for the dirty feeling of being lusted after by men who trolled the streets searching for escape from whatever demon drove them there.
Nothing could prepare me for the sorrow, the pain, the abasement that drove up in family sedans, baby-seat in the back, Best Dad license plate in tow.
I was humbled. Shattered. Released.
For years I had struggled to own my body, to reclaim the fragments of my being that had separated, that constantly disengaged whenever I came upon one of life's turmoils and felt unnerved by the encounter. For years, I had known my defense was to separate, to become the observer of my actions, the watcher watching me do whatever I was doing that hurt me. And it hurt.
Through therapy and group encounters, breath work, body work, Gestalt therapy and a trunk load of self-help books and affirmations, I lusted for release from what ailed me within, only to keep coming up against my desire to watch me watching myself hurting me in some self-denigrating way that confirmed once again, "I can take it. It's not my fault. It's just the way I am. I am worthless."
And then I stood out on the street, my body exposed, my limbs trembling as I approached a car and asked, "You looking for some fun?"
And he replied. "What ya got?" The john behind the wheel. The faceless man who lusted after me wanted to see my wares. And I denied him. I stepped back from the curb. Back from the open door, slammed it shut and stated my choice. "Not tonight."
Dust to dust. He drove away and a little bit of my body returned to me.
I did it. Again and again.
"Hi. Looking for some fun?"
Step back. Slam door.
I kept doing it and kept finding myself beneath the power of that door closing on some faceless man's lust for me.
It was unexpected. Surprising. Amazing almost.
With every door slammed on some john's proposition lusting after me, I found my voice and my courage to say, "No. I deserve more than answering some nameless craving for more pain, more grist for the mill grinding me into dust. I am worth more than I have given me in the past. I am worthy."
It was the night lust drove me home to where I belong within me.
It's another Blog Carnival Tuesday! Sponsored by Bridget Chumbley of "One Word at a Time" and Peter Pollock of "Rediscovering the Church", today's word is "lust". I wondered what I would write on what I found to be such a challenging word. I am surprised by what came out when I trusted in the process and let myself sink beneath the surface to where lust opened the door to possibility of another place beyond the hell of where I was at once upon a time. For a day of great reading, amazing ideas and writers, check out the others' contributions here at Bridget's place.