Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The night lust drove me home

Hell has three gates: lust, anger, and greed. Bhagavad Gita
  When 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?"

"Not tonight."

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.


Maureen said...

May I say again how much I admire you, Louise. It takes being at one with oneself to open a door and allow others, especially those you don't know, to see behind it. You've done that here with honesty and courage. What we began to see when you first cracked the door startled but by the end, when the door finally was fully opened, what we saw was a demonstration of strength and, more, of hope. Namaste.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Thank you Maureen.

Nameste to you too my friend.

Anonymous said...

i am still thinking, processing your story and words. but, i would like to let you know that i appreciate you and your sharing.

and...wow, you write really well!

love to you

Glynn said...

You tell an ugly story with beauty and grace. The honesty is scalding, as it should be. Thanks for sharing this.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Thank you nAncY and Glynn. What is amazing about that night is I was there to learn -- about what it is like for young girls on the street, night after night, selling their bodies. I never had to get into a car and drive off with a stranger to service him. All I had to do was stand there and open a door. And still I crumbled beneath what I observed.

I was there to observe and became part of the action, which became part of my healing, part of the reclamation of my self.


Joyce Wycoff said...

Louise ... I wish there were a way to tell you how much you inspire me! You are so very courageous and your words are so honest and beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Louise there is such power and pain in this post. I'm still taking it all in, but am so touched with your story, and thankful you chose to share it.

So honest and courageous... wow!

M.L. Gallagher said...

And you inspire me my friend ((Joyce))

Thank you.

Cheryl said...

Louise, just wow! I was glued to every word and cheered each time you slammed that door!! For every moment you chose to honor your inner wisdom (and outer worth), you opened a door for the rest of us!


Kathleen said...

What Glynn said.....

i am storm. said...

I am so fortunate to know you. Thank you for the story of your strength and compassion. We are all better for there being such caring and dedicated people as you in the world.


Helen said...

No one should ever have to go through what you did.

You are worthwhile and always have been.

God bless you.

Bernadette Pabon ,Teacher, Director of CCD, Author said...


JoAnne Bennett said...

Wow, such a poignant post Louise. I found myself going back in my mind to one particular painful experience in my own life and knowing now why it triggered such an overwhelming response from me. At the time, I wasn't ready like you to face how it made me feel. Thanks for sharing!