I bought myself a massage last week. It was from a friend of mine who’s been doing massage therapy for over a decade now, and it was the first time I’d ever let anyone who I wasn’t actively fucking touch my body. Ever.
Jesse’s touch was amazing. He is very skilled at what he does, and knows how to work with a man who’s body is akin to that of a mountain gorilla. He didn’t pull any hairs, and recognized where on my body there was tension and stress. What I wasn’t prepared for, and what I’m still trying to process, is why I’ve been so resistant to letting someone, a professional in the art of massage therapy, touch my body.
I am a survivor of abuse. Child abuse, from both my father and grandfather, and sexual abuse and assault from both lovers and random hook-ups. I’ve had my body manhandled and hurt by other male figures in my life, for most of my life, in fact. I say ”have had” as though I’ve been a passive recipient of these actions, which is the part I’m still grappling with as I type this, but that’s neither here nor there. Not yet, anyway.
What is here is a man who has desperately needed to learn how to stop flinching at the touch of another.
What is here is a man who’s finally recognizing, after twenty years of being out, and forty-four years on this planet so far, that his body is his own, and that body autonomy really fucking matters.
Thank you for sharing this. I think that, even if intellectually we know we are not to blame for the abuse that was perpetrated against us, we still feel as if we must have done something—or not done enough—to cause the abuse. You’re a great guy and I’ve enjoyed getting to know you over on that Bird App. I’m sorry that you ever were made to feel “less than.”
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