Originally Posted By: Jeff
turning tricks might have been out of necessity but it was also my choice. Yes I wanted to keep him and I was afraid that if I didn't play the game I would loose him. So it was my choice to continue.

We choose how we react, how we adapt, and in so doing we accept the consequence of our reactions. We take the bitter pill of responsibility in the hopes we are empowered to effect the change we want.

When I was singled out by my older mentor to have sex - even though I did not initially want to, I eventually indulged my reactions to him - my twisted sexual awakening - and thus owned them. I was a dirty little kid at 13. I wasn't a prostitute - but then again - wasn't I? I sold my body to buy my sister (and it STILL didn't work as I recently found out). It's the same thing. We sold for money or love - the oldest reasons in the book. We make our own reality, and sometimes we kid ourselves. Our flesh was our currency as boys - it was our power and perhaps we are united now in our guilt and dysfunction. Our sexual tracks were hammered down and set in dark secret moments we dared not share. And the train runs in an endless oval - circling and searching for a turnout - but it keeps going around and around, stuck in the pattern we laid out long ago. Can I come here and really expect to exculpate myself from sinking a few of those spikes - from setting some of those rails myself?

I suppose, Jeff, it is similar to your dilemma. There is no candy-coating that easily sticks to this. The paradox is simple enough: If I say it is my molester's fault, I exonerate myself but empower him. If I say it was my fault, I empower myself while at the same time convict myself of complicity; I own the shame. And there is no middle ground. Middle ground is for wimps, smacking of rationalization and excuse. Do we not own the marks that were painted upon us?

My late teens and early twenties were endless forays into putting myself in compromising situations with older, stronger men and saying "No" at precisely the wrong time. I am not proud that I left behind a trail of very sexually frustrated men in my youth. I probably said "no" to those men only a fraction of the times that I said "yes" to my perp. Was I was thinking that once the math evened out, I would have effectively "undone" the times I said "yes"? If I said "yes" to my perp 500 times but said "no" to guys after that 510 times, did I undo it? One guy didn't take "no" and I perhaps deserved the pain as much as he deserved the reward. So maybe that "no" counted for 20? Found not guilty by reason of math. How perfectly geeky of me - trying to work my way through this mess as if it was a mathematical proof.

So there - at least I can say I tried to undo the decisions I made. But I could not - and even if I did hit that magic number (whatever it was), I still wouldn't. I was kidding myself then. So what makes me think I'm not kidding myself here? Indulging in a kumbaya-laced attempt to convince myself it wasn't my fault after all? So I didn't have to (almost) sleep with all those big guys (one of them made me do it anyways)?

We all thirst for the perfect answer. What if we can't accept it even when we hear it? Even when we hear it 510 times?

There are no easy answers, nor do I pretend to know them. And I don't even understand the questions I'm supposed to be answering. Maybe we are all just sewer rats huddling together in the gutter, trying to feel good about ourselves, seeking some sort of "normal". But it is in the moments of acceptance of that unpleasant truth that I also feel the greatest feeling of liberation. I didn't ask to make these decisions. Maybe I made the wrong ones, but I didn't ask to make them. Neither, Jeff, did you.

Maybe it's enough to know that we are just trying to find our way.