Sleeping with a ghost

(This needs a lot of work)

I was a late bloomer.

I say that as if it explains all this. As if I’m such a late bloomer that 30 will be the year I finally get what sex is all about.

But the fact remains that when I was 14 years old, the original me — the me I was to become, not the underfed teen who still refused to wear a proper bra and pretended she was a boy  — died, and I became a ghost.

Let’s start over.

I have a lot of problems, and they’re all about sex.

Maybe not on the surface, but once you deconstruct them — yep, there’s sex. Freud would be proud.

Given my origin story, it’s not surprising that what gets me off is kind of weird. It’s even difficult to put into words. Well, not that hard: It’s connection.

But … it’s the dark side of connection. If you’re pouring your heart out to me by text about absolutely heartbreaking personal details, chances are … I’m in bed. A succubus of the mind.

Then again, sometimes all I need is a sad but romantic movie, which — why else would those exist?

When I feel truly safe, sex is an afterthought; a natural part of me like eating and drinking that I just intrinsically know how to do.

When I don’t, I’m an angry ghost. Angry at myself, for going through the motions. For feeling like I should be able to want it. For making the other person be the one to realize that I don’t want to go through with it. For watching them leave and staying very, very still under my sheet.

***

I was coming off two years of poorly enforced celibacy and I blamed that for our lack of sexual spark, along with your SSRIs. But that wasn’t it at all.

You wanted me to have enough passion for both of us, and I could have. It broke my heart to choke you, knowing you were thinking of death as much as life, knowing how much that made me want to choke harder and harder, until my passion drained out into the ether, and what could have been true connection fizzled into play-acting.

You wanted me to love you so hard that I hurt you, and I could have, if only you’d been around to be hurt.

You wanted me to watch, hoping that in the process I would truly see you.

You wanted me to be in love with you, so that you would feel real. It didn’t work when I tried to fake it, cooly, calculatedly. I had to fall in love with you for real if I was going to succeed in making you feel real.

And so I did. But as I poured my love into you I realized that it was passing right through. A ghost has nowhere to keep such foolishness as real feelings.

***

I feel like a real person now, for the first time in the parts of my life that I can remember.

It’s a new feeling, rougher than I was expecting, deeper than I’ve yet to fathom — and yet inherently not “real,” as it’s most likely the result of finally taking antidepressants as prescribed.

Being Real has put into relief the ways that I wasn’t Real before.

was the one who couldn’t accept love. For whom no amount of love was Enough.

was the masochist, who wanted all of your past lovers to attend. The exhibitionist whose past partners stood leering.

I was the ghost.

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