I have been thinking about my face lately. When I was younger, I was at dinner with my mother and relaxing my face when she snapped at me. “Why does your face look like that? You look miserable.” She pouted and squished her face in mockery. I don’t know if I was miserable even then or if I was resting my face as I had claimed. Maybe my neutral was not blank but sad.
I read in an article today that every six minutes a woman is raped and I wondered if that took into account women who were raped repeatedly by one person. I wonder if I would have taken comfort in the article if I had read it ten years ago. Knowing that after only the first six minutes, there was another woman who would understand me in an unnameable way, in a secret dimension. Every six minutes I could have made a new friend in misery—would that have made me feel less utterly alone?
To be honest, my disconnect from childhood trauma is a little incredible. Often when I relay it to people (new therapists, group workshops, new lovers) I do so as a third party.
“I love you so goddamn much. Open your mouth just like I taught you. Good girl.”
My jaw would unhinge like a non-venomous snake, my face stretched into a mask unrecognizable—skin taught and eyes wide. After every time, I used to feel like my face stuck that way. Why couldn’t anyone recognize or acknowledge my hideous transformation? Little girl to miserable monster, half human half devil.
My roommate showed me this YouTube video of a chimp prying a frog’s mouth open to facefuck it, and I couldn’t verbalize why I was so deeply disturbed. Everyone was laughing and I ran away to vomit. I couldn’t sleep that night. I know it is a frog, but do you know what it’s like to have your mouth pried open? When it was done, the chimp kept the frog like a fucktoy. Except it was a living creature, maybe not cognizant of it’s experience, but I don’t care.
When my mouth was pried open, I looked like Halloween. Like I was screaming. And a person is a person was a fish was a chimp is a frog is a toad is my prince. And god, I hope I’m not a fucktoy and that my face is not a mask. Sometimes I smile so wide it stretches beyond my ears, around the back of my head, across the universe. Sometimes I curl into a ball and shut my eyes so tight I will collapse in on myself and take all matter with me.
“I can just tell that he doesn’t like me as much as I like him,” I confessed. Diane asked me if this was just because I am more passionate than the average person. I contemplated my perceivable value and where the moment comes to factor convenience and worth into his decision. Won’t you spend the night? I wonder how long I can accept action without intent. But a person is a person as a frog is a toad is a kiss and a prince, and my fantasy has always been that once I gave him everything I have, he would still want me anyway.