I don’t feel safe.

Last night I had a dream.  In it I was assaulted by my father — no, my therapist — no, my father.  I was in his office in a loose white t-shirt and a pair of shorts.  My bare legs were exposed to his gaze.  I lay on a twin bed pushed against the wall, my cheek pressed against a pattern of white, cobalt blue and orange stripes.  Very 70’s.  A window and some ferns dotted the walls amongst bookshelves.

I was heavy with sleep, safe as a slumbering child.  My eyes fluttered open as my father — no, my therapist — walked towards me.  I smiled to myself knowing we would start talking.  I trusted him to sit in his green leather chair and rest his ankle on his knee.  Only he didn’t.  He passed the chair and filled my line of sight.

What I thought was the weight of sleep revealed itself as fear, oppressive and paralyzing.  I struggled to sit up, to gain my bearings, but my therapist — no, my father — closed the gap and lay behind me.  His weight strained the bed and I rolled back against him, helpless to gravity.

He breathed on me.  I imagined that he closed his eyes and filled his nostrils with the scent of my clean hair and I shuddered.  He let his arm rest along the curves of my body and his hand innocently, accidentally, rest where my legs joined.

But he and I both knew it was no accident.

I screamed, but no sound came out.

I sobbed, but no tears fell.

I only shook and died behind the barrier of my skin, the walls of my soul.

His hand pressed down on my plump skin and again I howled in terror and helplessness.  This time a sob escaped my lips.  This time I was able to tear away from him.  But I was only just now awake and my legs were weak, my eyes shrouded by the blur of tears.   I was painfully vulnerable.

He came towards me again and touched my breast through my loose white t-shirt.  My nipple hardened, braless.  He touched it again, smirking at my paralysis and my horror.

I pressed my back against the wall wishing it would swallow me, desperate for air, for my muscles to work, but I was immobilized with the searing cruelty of what my father — no, my therapist — was doing to me.

I wept and flung myself from side to side, but not really.

I bellowed and yelled and cursed his filthy, lying, betraying piece of shit life, for hurting me in a brightly lit room meant to be safe, but not really.

I willed it to stop, willed him to die, willed it all to go away just so I could breathe and suddenly… it did.

I lay panting in my bed.  The fan whirred above me.  The room was cast in midnight light.  My father really was dead.  My therapist was history.

I could breathe, but was I safe?  It doesn’t feel like it anymore.

Fucking dreams.

40 thoughts on “I don’t feel safe.

    • It’s an illustration of how I currently feel about my blog and writing and sharing here. Dreams are marvelous like that. However, to clarify, while my father never did that to me, he really was a filthy, horrible bastard in real life; and my therapist was a benevolent man who never hurt me.

      • It’s so disappointing that you’ve been made to feel this way! I understand completely, but it’s terrible that what was a safe place isn’t any longer. It felt wrong liking the story because of it.

      • I understand – I hoped that was over. I guess if you can not be threatened by exposing yourself to those people that matter, then the threat disappears. Only you can know the cost of that. It’s just not right for you to have to go through anything like that. I’m sorry to hear it is worrying you to the point of bad dreams. XOXO, J

      • I’m not afraid of exposure, I’m upset that my space is no longer safe to expose myself. I trust that person when they told me my secret was safe. It’s just that I no longer feel safe here. Make sense?

      • It makes complete sense Hy. I’m sorry that you lost that. You’ve given so much by sharing your stories. I hope you get that feeling back somehow. hugs, Jayne

  1. Ugh. I’m sorry for this, Hy. I’ve been down a similar dream state recently. Dreams can drag us places we never want to be, or we crave for. I’m not sure I wouldn’t give up the second to never have the first.

    As far as the rest, whenever – or if – you’re ready, of course.

  2. Pretty bad dream, Hy… but it was just a dream so why wouldn’t you feel safe? I do so hate sometimes how one’s subconscious can really mess with you and more so when in the light of day, there’s no real threat – just bad memories.

    Dreams can be one hell of a bitch – but they’re still just dreams.

  3. I’m sorry your stress and worry is assaulting you, even in your sleep, my darling. I have nothing to offer you except comfort and reassurance. We all (those of us who hide our identities) worry about being discovered, and when someone does what that person has done, it is a disgusting “rape” of our privacy, our security, and in a way our bodies too–especially in the way that you have opened yourself up here.

    This person is nothing more than slime. But just know that… even if the absolute worst did happen… and they outed you… (I don’t even want to think about this) it can only hold power over you for so long, and only in the ways you let it. I know that’s not reassuring (like I said I would do!) but… think about how worried you were about TN knowing about your blog… then think about his reaction. It’s different because you know him intimately and you love each other, and it’s different because you’re worried about your career, and you have a child to support… BUT people can only have the power you’re willing to give.

    Your little “friend” included. It’s not advice or comforting, but it’s the truth.

    You are beautiful, inside and out. You have done nothing but share a diary of sorts. You are worthy of happiness and love. That person is not worthy of your time. I love you, sweet stuff. If you want to chat you, of course, know where to find me. <–there's the good stuff.

    xoxo

    • I just feel shy, stifled, frustrated. Like I’ve truly lost something and I’m unsure of finding it again.

      I agree with you about giving away power and I am reconciled with that. I am no longer fearful, but I feel violated. And this little comment reply to you doesn’t begin to express all my feelings about the situation. I may post about them… I just really don’t feel like sharing anything anymore. :(

      Thank you ever so much for the love and support, Fay. xx hy

  4. Oh Hy….the dreams are just that, but unfortunately dreams are the surreality that we generally cannot control, either within them or before we sleep or once we wake…& for the most part can be so terrifyingly real….I’m sending you all the hugs I can & hope that you’ll be able to either come to terms with your current status or change it….bear hugs to you….

  5. Hy,

    I’m curious. Would you feel this way if you were aware that other readers knew of your true identity but didn’t confront you on it? The reason I ask, is that for all of us that have anonymous blogs we have to assume that at some point someone we know is going to run across it. If the concern were so great about anonymity then we’d all have private blogs and/or wouldn’t share all the gritty stuff.

    I can’t help but wonder if it is just the way the person went about it that is at the heart of the problem. Let’s face it, It was classless and rude and was done in a an aggressive and threatening manner. Had this person actually wanted to make a point with you as they stated they could have done so by privately emailing you, but instead they used your forum, your safe place, your home to piss on. Maybe because of that it now feels tainted.

    I say bust out some bleach girl, scrub his or her stank away and take your home back.

    xoxo

    • To be fair, I did message her privately about it, and didn’t try to expose her. All the publicity my message received was from Hy’s discussion of it, and then later, my responses in the comments. My message also included a suggestion that she pause and think about the ethics of deceiving her previous lovers by writing about them on her blog (which is not actually secure.) Just because she is no longer deceiving her current lover doesn’t mean she is absolved from the previous deceptions. The issue wasn’t even about getting consent from them now (too late, anyways.) I feel that Hy has a responsibility to deal with the issue of consent on her blog and justify herself as to why she doesn’t seek it.

      And let me lay this out here: I am a woman and also have an anonymous sex blog. I get permission from everyone I write about. I acknowledge that some people don’t do that, for a variety of reasons. I sincerely and vehemently disagree with those people in almost all situations. If you can’t tell someone you’re having sex with that you’re anonymously publishing their private moments, then you just shouldn’t do it. Many of the bloggers that Hy links to either do not publish anonymously or clearly demonstrate a concern for consent. Hy doesn’t. She publishes anonymously and does not receive consent from her lovers, and does not seem to care much about the ethics of her blog at all. To me, she represents a clear case of someone whose ethics derive from the potential consequences to herself. And in my opinion, those aren’t ethics at all; just pragmatics.

      To be honest, when she posted about “finally” revealing her secret blog to the blog’s primary subject for the past year, I was angry. Angry that no one made the point that she should have told him about it before she spent more than a year cataloging the details of their sex life. He was fine with it, but would her other lovers be? The ones that she no longer has personal connections to? Or would they think she betrayed them and defamed their character? No matter what, she didn’t have the right to do it in the first place. So I made the point to her, privately, and with a barb. She chose to publicize it. (Although, admittedly, I’m sure, out of fear for my intentions. Which I should have stated more clearly. I acted rashly, and wish I had been more judicious.)

      And, it didn’t occur to me to explain to her how I discovered her identity. I just now sent her a message explaining where the hole was. But honestly, it doesn’t matter all that much. If someone as unskilled at snooping as me could find her identity in a matter of minutes with no special tools, then I imagine anyone could do it. Nothing is ever really private on the internet, so we should write as if we will be forced to take responsibility for our actions.

      • I had guessed that you were a woman. That you have a blog I hadn’t. Either way, I’m not sure it gives you a right to judge others and what they do or don’t do. Which you did by taking a name that implied your were the voice of conscience to a liar.

        You are completely entitled to an opinion on whether you agree with what someone is doing, but I don’t think you or anyone else has a right to judge, to feel superior. Everyone makes mistakes.
        I don’t know when you sent a private message to Hy. All I know is that many of her readers saw some comment from you, on her blog, threatening her by revealing initials and other private things. Maybe you thought you were doing it privately but mistakenly wrote it openly? Would you too be fallible?
        You are accepting you made a mistake, saying that you should have acted less rashly. I don’t see how exposing Hy on her own blog, making her feel threatened could be construed any other way than as an attack, so have trouble seeing how you could imagine she wouldn’t FEEL threatened. And even more trouble seeing how you could feel like, by exposing her, you acted righteously.

        I also think what you are doing is judging her on the person she was when she first started her blog, and judging her for mistakes that were made long ago. What you wrote here makes me wonder though. You stated a little while back that you don’t expect Hy to ask for consent from all of the persons she has previously talked about on her blog. And the one person she has been writing about for the past year has now given consent. So what do you suggest, practically, she should do?

        You also say that no one made the point that she should have told him a long time ago… I think Hy made that point herself, repeatedly, I have read it many times over the 4 months I’ve been reading her. And she’s said how much it’s been bothering her that he didn’t know about the fact she was writing about him. Maybe that’s why no one felt they needed to make that point, she was well aware of the problem herself, so I personally didn’t feel the need to ‘rub it in’, though I did encourage her to tell him. I really don’t understand what could make you angry.

        Some while back, I think it was Nick that said that Hy’s blog had helped a lot of women. I am one of them, and though I may not agree with everything she has done (I haven’t even read everything she ever wrote, so couldn’t say, really!), I can say that reading her blog, what she wrote, made me feel empowered as a woman. And that was highly needed in my life. So I am quite thankful for her writing what she did.

        As for what you state, about the fact nothing is really private on the internet, I tend to agree with you. Which is why all of us that have an anonymous blog try to protect our identities.
        I suppose that we have a different approach to life. If I had become aware of anything that might threaten anyone’s anonymity, my first reaction would probably be to make them aware of where the hole is, rather than feel I was entitled to use it to show how much superior to them I am. But such is life, all we can do is learn from our mistakes, and maybe from that others make too.

      • Ok, more context. I stumbled across Hy’s blog originally because she was ranked as a top sex blogger. I was writing about gender, sex, blogging, ethics and defamation law at the time, and I was trying to find bloggers that met three criteria: (1) they claim to be real, not fantasy (2) they describe details of individual lovers (3) they apparently do not have consent from those lovers. Those people are important because they are potentially liable for defamation claims, provided the lovers are not public figures and they chose to sue. What protects bloggers that meet those criteria is anonymity, which is a hot topic in the philosophy of law and ethics right now.

        While doing that research, I was curious about liability when anonymity is intended but not accomplished, and if someone can be said to be liable for defamation if they had the intent to impugn character, but not publicly. My argument was that existing case law doesn’t cover this, because the intent to defame is not demonstrable, even if defamation was the result. I.e. blogger exposed > lovers exposed > lovers decide to sue. Although they would have standing, there would be no precedent to determine intent to defame. Realistically, these things would be decided by the judge on a case by case basis. When that happens, there are two schools of thought: the judge decides by an internal, universal “moral” sense, or the judge decides based on constructed ideas of gender and sexuality.

        Hy was my example of a female blogger liable for defamation that intended anonymity but did not accomplish it. My conclusion was that she would likely lose a defamation suit because she violated both standards of universal morality and gendered norms. On the other hand, a male sex blogger meeting the same three criteria would lose the suit on universal morality grounds, but win by gendered norms. (Of course, I was assuming judges are old conservative white men who think sexually active women are sluts, but young men are just rascals.) So over the past year, I’ve had some background frustration because I even found a case like Hy’s. I really wanted to be able to say that women don’t do this, and it’s only men, and so defamation law is inherently sexist. Alas, women do it too.

        With all that context as a background, I continued to read Hy’s blog intermittently since then. I usually find her very thoughtful. What made me mad from that last post, was that she seemed so oblivious to the ethics of what she was doing, and the potential consequences. If I ended up being her lawyer, defending her against a defamation suit, I would complain, “Why didn’t you give me something to work with to defend you?! Why didn’t you show me that you care about preserving the character of your lovers?! Why didn’t you demonstrate some ethical compass?!” And I was in a bad mood, and feeling like I’m fighting a fight no one cares about.

      • I’m drafting a post to respond to you/this — it’s still all marinating — but let me be very clear that I’ve always struggled with the ethics of it.

        I really wish you’d notified me the second you found the chink in that armor you told me about. I’ve been inadvertently exposing people I’ve been trying to protect for over two years and it makes me fucking sick!

        I chose not to get consent so that I could write, I mean truly write the raw, engaging, vulnerable stuff that people come here to see. If I didn’t have anonymity, this blog wouldn’t exist. And maybe that’s your point, but frankly it’s not what I decided to do. I want to write this way and it’s obviously extremely important to me considering I risk a lot if discovered. I struggle with the dissonance in my life daily, but I keep it to myself.

        However, I agree with you that I have an opportunity to discuss this topic with a wide audience and I plan to. I have never thought I was guiltless, but I stand by my choices (except the one or two which expose me).

        The men in my old blogs mostly knew I wrote about them and didn’t care, though I never shared the URL, and the ones who had it loved reading about themselves, but it wasn’t a good blog. Hyacinth wasn’t really there. It was just some chick glossing over hot sex.

        My very first post here about shitting on someone tells you immediately this blog will bare everything. I felt (& still feel) that anonymity enables that. But like I said, I am crafting a post on this, though I can’t tell you when… This whole thing has really fucked me up.

      • I feel like my small response will only kick the hornets’ nest some more, which is why I haven’t responded. I need the space of a post. I’ll wait to respond more until then. And please, email me at hyacinth.jones@hotmail.com with anything you’d like to share privately.

      • Well, thank you for your explanation. It makes a little bit more sense now.
        I understand what you’re saying about the need for a lawyer to have something to work with.
        However, I don’t see how people that don’t really know us could even find out about being written about. I’m going to take a personal example. I had a one night stand. Someone met in real life, who didn’t know me before that evening and who I most certainly won’t ever see again. He knows only my first name, I his, if he can still remember it. I don’t have an address for him, he has no clue of even which town I live in. If I were to ever be exposed, I don’t see how anyone could find out it’s him. The only person who could would be him. That’s if he finds my blog by chance and reads English. And even then, he could only suppose, wouldn’t have any proof, since he doesn’t have any background on the rest of me.
        Will I ask for consent?! I wouldn’t even know where to begin to look if I wanted to do so.
        Will I still write about our encounter? Most probably. Because I don’t think there is much intimacy to begin with, considering nothing more than bodily fluids was exchanged, but it was an important occurrence in my life. I want to be able to tell my feelings about this encounter.

        It seems like, aside from TN, who has now said he is Ok with it, this is exactly what Hy has been doing. She got consent from the people she met with repeatedly, though she didn’t for the people that didn’t count and who didn’t really care about her. At least that’s how I feel it is.

        I do agree with you that when judged on character, we women risk more than men. This is also why these blogs are important, because they are changing the way the world looks at women, one person at a time. And telling us women it is Ok to be sexual. Even though society keeps telling us we are bad persons if we are.

        It’s getting late in my side of the world, I’m not sure my thoughts make much sense anymore.
        Good night everyone.

      • You were just one of around a dozen different sex bloggers that I found who have readily/easily exposed identities through the method I described. You just happened to also be one that I continued to read. I didn’t email you directly before because email exposes a lot of information, which I would prefer to keep private. Same goes now. Plus I value discussing all this openly.

        I understand your motivations. People think that ethics are opinions and feelings. I hate that viewpoint, and I am constantly frustrated by it on anonymous sex blogs. Ethics are the real, accepted norms of human decency established through community affiliation and enforced by mutually-understood consequences, mediated by power. Disagree with a community’s ethics? Cease your affiliation. (Unless you can’t, then try to undermine it. Or revolutionize it.) Here are standard American consent guidelines that are used by people who are not protected by anonymity (researchers) but publish about other people without consent:
        http://answers.hhs.gov/ohrp/questions/7268

        1 and 3 don’t apply. 2 would be roughly analogous to your case. To be eligible, you have to meet these four criteria:
        “(1) the research involves no more than minimal risk to the subjects;
        (2) the waiver or alteration will not adversely affect the rights and welfare of the subjects;
        (3) the research could not practicably be carried out without the waiver or alteration; and
        (4) whenever appropriate, the subjects will be provided with additional pertinent information after participation.”

        … Sorry, I had to stop and giggle about how clinical this discussion of sex-pooping just became. I think you meet the first criteria through making this anonymous. You clearly meet the third criteria, as you mentioned it was your primary motivation. I just can’t stop laughing about the fourth criteria (“hello Jake, I just want to update you about some poop that is relevant to our last interaction”), but I think you… mostly meet that criteria with a few exceptions.

        But you really violated the second criteria, and did it perpetually. By not seeking consent, you usurped your lovers’ rights to privacy. A right, I should point out, that in our national community is the basis for the legal protection of womens’ reproductive rights when applied to the government. So what I’m trying to say is, unless you disagree with the principle of preserving individual privacy, you’re contradicting your own ethical standards, and are avoiding the consequences (condemnation) through the exercise of power (anonymity.)

        I’m not trying to make you feel bad; I’m trying to demonstrate an ethical logic. I’m more interested in your readers, and the community of anonymous sex bloggers. And I’m sorry that I decided, in irresponsible haste, to build my soap box out of your safe place.

      • JC,
        I hear a lot of things in what you write. The three that pop through my mind right now are as follow:
        The first is a question (or a number of questions, really!). I’m a curious gal! Why do you think you chose to continue reading Hy’s blog and not some others? Is it because you liked her writing? If so, did you wonder why? Could it be that it’s the freedom of it you enjoy? If so, do you realise that she could only be so free at first because she didn’t ask for the consent you’re wishing she had? Or is it because you realise how good a writer she is, explaining why she is one of the top bloggers and why you found her?
        The second thought is that it’s not really Hy you’re angry at, rather it feels like you’re angry at society’s double standards for men and women, where they are judged differently just based on gender. Being a woman myself, this pisses me off too! Or maybe it’s the realisation you made that, yes, sometimes women also write about lovers without consent. We’re no better or lesser than men, just different. Although you apparently were hoping we were better and your hopes got shattered.
        Here is the third thought. You say yourself that you find Hy very thoughtful (maybe that’s why you kept reading her?!). I agree. I think the way she describes her sexual encounters is mostly self-centered, which in this instance is rather a positive thing. She doesn’t place judgement on her partners, just mentions what worked for her and what didn’t. I also remember reading in some place or other, whether a post or comments I cannot remember, that she has indeed taken steps to protect the anonymity of her partners. For instance, she has made sure to remove all pictures she had taken of TN before getting his consent. And went through her posts to make sure that he wasn’t easily identifiable. If you were her lawyer, surely that would demonstrate the fact that she didn’t intend to do harm and tried her best, within the limits she had given herself, to protect her ‘research subjects’ (since you reference science as a comparison tool). The intent to protect was there. That must count for something on the ‘standards of morality’ grounds. And that would certainly be something that showed you, her lawyer, ‘that [she] care[s] about preserving the character of [her] lovers?! ‘that she ‘demonstrate[d] some ethical compass’. At least that’s what it looks like to me :-)

  6. Ever read Carl Jung? He thought that dreams often represent the dreamer’s successful integration of the scary parts of their personality. In other words, bad things in dreams are often a good sign. “….interpretation of sexual dreams is inherently difficult because it may be that the dream sex is nothing to do with sex at all; it may be a personal issue of a very different nature. For example, if I feel someone is trying to penetrate my emotional barriers, I might dream that they attempt to rape me….” [http://www.docdreamuk.com/SexualDreams.html] and lots of other places on the Web; Google “carl jung rape dream” if you are interested.
    On the ethical question, people write memoirs all the time, taking the precaution of disguising the identities of the people in their lives, without asking their permission. I am not a lawyer, but law does depend on logic, and assuming you have taken steps to preserve the anonymity of your subjects so that their friends, acquaintances, or family will not recognize them, I don’t see an ethical problem in your blog. I definitely see artistic merit in it; I’ve been impressed over the last couple of years, at your ability to write about your internal growth, using your sex life as the external subject. Do what you feel is right, but I think that lots of people have been helped by your blog, and the main person you’ve exposed is yourself.

  7. Pingback: Blogging and anonymity » My Dissolute Life

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