I am feeling tender as I work on the next Story of Transgression. It’s the first time that a memory brought me to tears. I had to stop writing to cry and get a hug from my Person, and then share the story with them because apparently I never had in our 7+ years together.
I knew that writing memoir would take me deep into hurty places, which is part of why I decided to start with these off-the-cuff Insta-stories. Somehow it’s less intimidating than facing a big blank page and knowing I have to make my heart bleed from places that have been scarred over for most of my life. I have to keep it short and direct here. There isn’t room for feeling out the gritty details. That work will come later as I fill out the stories and craft them into something more.
Perhaps one of the reasons I’ve chosen the transgressive theme is that I need to claim my own power and agency in every story despite the violation, betrayal, or neglect. All but one story (not told yet) that involves sex includes my own consent to some degree. I am complicit in many of the stories because of my brokenness and unresolved traumas. I transgressed by choosing relationships with traumatized, mentally ill, and violent people. Or by choosing sex, because I really like sex. I ignored red flags. I chose the possibility of being seen, loved, or f•cked over my own safety and emotional well-being. I swam deep in the waters of emotional masochism on purpose. I even called myself a masochist for God, believing it was all meant to make me better at love.
The thing is, most human stories don’t have clear victim, heroes, and villains. Most of our stories involve our playing all of these roles as we dance with one another other and the baggage we each carry. We bump into each other with our old stories and hurts and we play them out again and again until we don’t. Until we learn another way. Until we stop playing roles and start being real.
I claim my complicity in my stories because no matter the circumstance of my life, I’ve always chosen to be open, radically inclusive, and to learn from every heartbreak. I’ve made an art of sculpting tragedy into beauty and spinning chaos into meaning.