Friction Burn

Some time ago I received a review copy of Nobody Passes, an anthology on, yes, passing, edited by Mattilda (AKA Matt Bernstein Sycamore). But I hadn’t actually picked it up until last night, and the first essay I turned to was this one, by Stacey May Fowles:

There is a friction burn on my left wrist that I have hidden with a collection of brightly colored plastic bracelets that I bought for forty-nine cents apiece from the local Goodwill. My mother is transfixed by the gaudy accessories as they noisily slide up and down my arm each time I lift my glass of white wine to my mouth, and I realize quickly that my camouflage is fault.

Pay attention to what I’m hiding, the bracelets scream.

“Are you all right?” she asks me as I pull my sleeve beneath the bracelets and over the crimson marking.

“Work. Work’s been busy,” I lie.

In truth I haven’t been sleeping well, but work or insomnia or a packed agenda cannot be blamed. The friction marks and the bruises are to blame for the lack of sleep, and as I casually lie to my mother I suddenly realize that I am more awake than I have ever been.

So yeah, it hit home. Just a little bit. This is such a beautiful essay, describing the author’s trials with coming to terms with her submissive side. Especially heartbreaking is her description of her long-time boyfriend finally leaving her because he can’t deal with her desire to be verbally degraded and physically, as he sees it, abused.

I am a carefully cultivated companion at dinner parties, the good girl you bring home to your parents. My admission of a need to be his whore has suddenly destroyed this well-crafted illusion.

…I wish the piece was available online, so I could simply link to it, but I suppose I should probably just encourage folks to buy the book. After all, there’s a lot of other interesting stuff in it, too.

2 comments so far

  1. Stacey May Fowles on

    I’m so touched and moved by the fact that you enjoyed the piece. It means so much to me to read this. Writing and publishing that essay was a difficult yet empowering process for me, and you just helped me realize why I did so in the first place.

    Thank you.

  2. subversive_sub on

    That’s great! I really appreciate when other people can be that open about their experiences, it is such a relief to read stories like yours and to know that there are other folks going through the same thing, having to carefully remove layers and layers of shame and bullshit fed to us, often by the people we love the most. I had a long-term partner (also someone I thought I was going to be with for a very long time) who was exasperated by what he saw as my conflicting requests for him to be “macho” (his gross misinterpretation of what I wanted) in the bedroom and to check his controlling, jealous behavior outside of it. Still upsets me to think about that.

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