The thing about internalized misogyny is it sure kept a lot of things from hurting.
I want to say I’m proud of having woken up to understanding feminist issues, to seeing rape culture everywhere it exists, to seeing events in my past that I had previously dissociated from as the assaults that they were, to seeing former lovers as the abusers they were. But the truth is, I can’t unsee any of it, and it hurts. I see women nowadays who are totally checked out, essentially engaging in unconscious rape apologism – not just in the media but in my real life too – and I realize how much my little spiritual sex educator bubble is not at all congruent with the world around me. In those circles, I’M the crazy one, I’m the sensitive weirdo who can’t just chill and accept that that’s how it is. And I remember being in my mid-20s and being just as unaware of what was happening to me, and at once I am both sad and envious. I may have more awareness now but I am far less equipped to suck it up and function in the world the way I used to be when I too laughed at rape jokes and thought that maybe I was out of line for making a male friend feel awkward for having fingered me in a club while I froze and dissociated.
We all really talk up the value of enlightenment but we really downplay how difficult it is. I’m actually a little angry at some of my educator friends who encouraged me so hard to stop glorifying my dissociation and to start becoming embodied, because they didn’t warn me how difficult it would become to do very normal things like walk through a crowded club or even turn on the news. Embodiment gets sold as this ecstatic feeling of being free with your lovers, feeling your orgasms more fully, asking for what you truly want in bed. Nobody warned me that I’d be stripped of my coping mechanisms too, and that failure to provide a caveat sometimes feels just as endangering as the assaults themselves.
The thing about my submission was that I made my dissociation work for me. The thing about my twisted problematic fantasies was that I created a fictional world in my head where everything was okay, and now I don’t have that anymore, and I don’t feel okay at all.
It’s not that I’d take it back, and even if I wanted to I couldn’t. It’s that ignorance was in many ways bliss, and we don’t talk about that enough.