An awakening to Sex & Lust, before I even knew how to talk
A memoir by 3-year old me
I have no idea when the healthiest time for a sexual awakening is for anyone, but I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to be before you can even speak. As children, I guess we don't really have too much choice about the order we do things. And yet, the burden of living things out of order is our responsibility.
At 32 years old, the 3-year old in me is finally allowing me to share her story. You can call her Dindin, and this is one of the only stories she has kept from early childhood - a memory as vivid as daylight:
She wakes up. It's dark & quiet except for hallway lights that feel very orange. They're bright, as if beckoning her somewhere. With saliva on her face and sleep in her eyes, she walks down the hallway. She's feeling a little lonely, a little sad. Where is everybody? Where's mom? Where's kuya (older brother)? It seems everyone is gone. "I'm left behind?"
So she walks to find someone who can give her comfort. Someone she knows in this place that feels so new but is apparently the place she's now supposed to call home. She walks into what she knows is mom & dad's bedroom. She knows this because it has the biggest bed in the house.
She sees a woman and a man underneath the floral pastel comforter - a comforter that was to be her favorite in years to come. They're moving rhythmically and facing each other. The woman is making sounds she isn't familiar with yet. Her heart starts to hurt and she doesn't know why.
She walks closer. It's dad! The one person in this new "home" she knows. But who's this other person? She sees him, but she doesn't get the comforting feeling she usually gets from seeing him. There's no warmth here. He's on top of a young woman I don't know, moving back and forth. What's this game? And how come it doesn't seem like any fun? They're not smiling and they're making sounds she isn't familiar with yet.
This woman has straight black hair, thick eyebrows. This woman is beautiful and she eventually realizes, this woman is enjoying herself helplessly. What's happening? This is all wrong! Where's mom? Where's mom?! They continue, unaware of their silent witness.
Dindin continues to watch, horrified but stuck. She feels like she's betraying her mom, the one person she's sure of in this life. She feels like she wants to join in. She feels like she wants to feel what they feel - whatever it is. Dindin awakens sexually. I awaken sexually. And it's to my father fucking another woman in my mother's bed when he was supposed to be waiting for me to wake up from my nap.
I'm 3-years old and I'm sexually awake. A timeline for my life has now been set of desiring raw sex and intimacy, of feeling the wrongs done to my mother so strongly that I have to leave home, of cringing at my Father's touch and his admonitions of "no sex before marriage" up to today. A timeline has been set for me where I want so much to look like this young woman he's deemed worthy to fuck - and nothing like my mother who's genes I carry. I want to look like her so that I will never be betrayed.
My inner child and I continue to hold each other in grief. There's so much stuff that we saw but shouldn't have. Dindin became an adult too quickly but she stayed stuck at 3. Dindin is a childhood nickname, that in my culture, you usually grow out of. I only started going by my real name, Celesdina, at 32. I'm an adult now - an adult who airs out the house of memories and allows the wind to help her take them.
"I'm here", I tell Dindin. I know how you feel. Thank you for heling me feel. Thank you for keeping that memory for me until I was ready to see it. This grief you've held for me has been waiting for me for 29 years. Welcome, dear friend.