In my last post, I talked about how hard won most of my me-ness has been in the face of a shitty (understatement) early life. What I rarely talk about, though are the benefits of said shitty early life, and there are some.
I always hesitate to offer this perspective, though, because I never want to be mistaken for minimizing the negative (soul shattering, really) impact of sexual and physical violence on a child, so I’m going to ask you, as you read, to remember that I am in no way saying that what happened to me was a *good thing*. Rather, I am saying that, because I’m a bad ass, I created goodness where there was none.
I’m an edge walker.
This comes as a direct result of having examined my family of origin’s ‘squeaky clean on the outside’ appearance and deconstructing it. It was very important, in my childhood, that everything *seem* okay. I was encouraged to keep my mouth shut (don’t tell!) about what was wrong in the family home in order to preserve appearances.
Thankfully, this led me to really examining, comparing, and contrasting the difference between how things seemed, and how things were. I uncovered misogyny, racism, homophobia, mean-spiritedness, and close-mindedness.
I ran in the other direction as soon as I was able and embraced queerness, multiculturalism, feminism, kindness, and open-mindedness.
I walk several edges as a result of my childhood experiences.
I am queer, and can love men and/or women, though I do tend to find myself attracted to the masculine in either gender. I am open to alternative lifestyles, like polyamory, kink, intentional communities, etc. I reject any ‘one true way’, and have explored my spirituality deeply as a seeker and a mystic. I embrace self-love as a hugely important tool for healing and recovery. I have developed dragon scales that let me try and fail and try again until I get from here to there. I’m resilient as fuck. I live out loud.
I don’t necessarily belong any one place. I dip in and out. I’ve embraced my magpie tendency to cherry pick what’s shiny for me and discard the rest. Thankfully, I’m just edgy enough that I don’t just cherry pick the easy stuff. In fact, sometimes the harder stuff *is* the shiny stuff, as anyone who’s studied with me will attest to.
Walking the edge means no world is closed to me.
It means I can be fully in the world, fully embodied, open to whatever danger & delight (and they often come together) arise for me. I am quick to utter a holy yes to what feels good. I’m quick to utter a holy no to what feels wrong. I stand up to be counted, stand up for, stand up to with ease. I flow between worlds without apology, in full ownership and command of my complexity.
I would not be who I am today had I not experienced the things I experienced.
That doesn’t mean I’m *grateful* for those experiences. I’m not. I’m grateful, however, for my own apparent inherent ability to transform those experiences from what could have ended very, very badly (as it does for many survivors who do not make it through at all) to something that is *waves at all this* instead.
Some people find me haughty or full of my self. I get it. It honestly doesn’t bother me to be perceived that way because it weeds out people whose self-esteem requires me to be less than I am. I am a bit full of my self. Who else should I be full of? Some people find me self-absorbed, a navel gazer, all too interested in my self. And it’s true that I give equal weight to the importance of my own life when weighed against the importance of everyone else’s. In my term as an edge walker, I’ve learned that I can’t serve from an empty cup, so I do everything I can to keep mine filled to the brim and overflowing.
There is nothing (safe, sane, consensual) I won’t try.
There is no (safe, sane, consensual) pleasure, sensation, experience, delight I won’t indulge in. I am all for it – all of it – and I don’t believe I’d be this way if I hadn’t had to deconstruct what everyone else told me about what’s okay and what’s not. I don’t believe I’d be as willing to be as non-conformist as I am, and I really value how much living outside the box marked ‘acceptable’ has brought into my life.
When it comes to my story – a story that includes stuff no one should ever have to experience – and my own unraveling of all of that, there’s this, too. So if you asked me “If you could wave a magic wand and make all that disappear from your history, would you?”, I’d probably say no.
This is how I became me, and I won’t throw this baby out with the bath water.
Here’s to danger, delight, and walking the edge.