Lemme start with some trigger warnings.
2) Sexual Abuse
If either of those things are gonna put you in a bad, bad place. Please stop reading. Otherwise, you can’t say I haven’t warned you.
I was having a conversation with some friends about my blog, because some of them haven’t read it. They asked me what it was about. That’s a question that I always struggle with; sometime’s it’s funny and I write about cleaning out your butthole, but sometimes it’s sad and I write about boys who don’t want to date me. But I tried to describe it nonetheless: “Well it’s a comedic blog-” and that’s where my friend Bumpy Cakes cut me off. “No, it’s not. You just have a sense of humor while telling incredibly sad stories.”
Alright. So here’s an incredibly sad story told with a sense of humor:
I used to want to be a model. I thought I would be good at it, because everyone told me that I was pretty. ‘Surely modeling can’t require more than being gay and skinny!’ I thought to myself. When I lived in Wisconsin, I once got paid stupid money to eat ice cream and smile without drooling. I NAILED IT. Then I did an ad for a major soft drink company. All I had to do was drink from my bottle without covering the label and look like I was REALLY enjoying myself. I nailed that, too. Except that they had to repeatedly replace my bottle, because I kept chugging it. “Oh, sorry! It’s not my fault that this drink is DELICIOUS and LOW IN CALORIES and ESSENTIAL TO MY LIFESTYLE. Also WHERE’S MY MONEYYYYYY?!”
Then I moved to NYC. Ten-out-of-eleven cows in Wisconsin thought I was really pretty, so HOW could people in NYC disagree? I somehow got into a party with some hot-ass working male models. I went up and started conversation with them and told them I wanted to get into modeling. They approved of my height, my age, and my workout regiment. Then I showed them my abs and they winced. “Oh,” they said regretfully, as if they were looking at a puppy that was too old to get adopted because it’ll probably just die soon and no one wants to love something that’s not gonna live forever. Well, after that experience, I just KNEW that I was gonna be the next Tyra. NOT the next top model; I WOULD BE TYRA. Because I have such amazing abs that I made professional male models CRY. Lez GO!!!!!
So about two years ago, I decided to really pursue this modeling thing. I wanted to go to go-see’s or whatever the fuck models do to get paid to pretend to eat things that aren’t including in their diet. But I needed to build up a portfolio of pictures. My friend Reeves helped me take some amazing modeling shots. He’s the sweetest, hottest man to ever exist. He told me to look at the camera like it was something I wanted. Now I know most men would look at the camera and think, ‘Mmmmmm, sex. I want sex. I’m gonna stare down that camera like I wanna stick my dick in it! *THWACK*’ No, not me. I looked at the camera and thought, ‘CHICKEN TENDERS NUM NUM NUM!!!!! WATERMELON! HONEY MUSTARD SAUCEEEEE!!!!’ That’s when I really started to nail my shots. I was serving STRAIGHT UP SMOLDER. And then Reeves photoshopped out my drool and the insane glimmer in my eye and I was ready!
This is one of the amazing pictures taken by Reeves. I’m looking at the camera like I wanna cut a bitch because I thought about someone revoking my Chicken Tender Rights. Oh SHIT, that got me worked up!
But I wanted to keep building up my portfolio to show modeling agencies that I was an seasoned professional with a whopping two months of experience. So I used a modeling site to find more photographers. I found a guy who said he would take some good modeling shots for me as long as I did him a favor. He said he was working on an artsy piece on the intersection of masculinity and femininity. He would take discrete and tasteful pictures of me naked while wearing heels and panty hose. Oh and my dick would be painted in glitter.
‘Cool,’ I thought. ‘I’m down. I’m all about challenging the traditional definition of masculinity. Let’s fucking do this.’
So I go to this photographer’s apartment with all the clothes I’ve ever bought, because I couldn’t fucking decide; I look fucking amazing in EVERYTHING. Guess we’ll just have to photograph EVERY OUTFIT. Oh well! #beautifulAF
After I walk in and get settled, I ask him about possible outfit choices. He kinda pointed at something nonchalantly and I put it on immediately, instantly inspired by his great amount of enthusiasm for my modeling shots. Then he asked what music I wanted on. I told him I was really into Miley Cyrus, but he didn’t want to listen to that. Instead he put on something slow and moody like an indie banjo cover of “I Can’t Make You Love Me”, ya know, some real panty-dropping bangers. I kind of expected music that I could do cocaine to, because that’s what it’s like in all the movies. But whatever, I could still serve some fierce fucking Watermelon Face to his depressing-ass hipster music. BECAUSE I’M A GOD DAMN MODEL.
We took a few shots, and then he made me put on a fugly baseball jacket. So put it on and served some straight-up bro face. And then he made me unzip the top of my pants. ‘Hm…That’s weird, but he’s the photographer, and I trust him!’ I was giving angles and shadows and hunger, but I could tell he wasn’t really interested. He was just doing this, because I needed it.
After I dropped into the splits for the third time, he decided it was time for that part of the photoshoot to be over. Now it was time for his artsy project. So I started to put myself into my artsy-fartsy mindset. I started thinking about that scary painting of that dude screaming and about that lady who sits in the chair in the museum and makes you cry while she stares at your face. ‘Ah, yes…Zen. I’m ready.’
He asks me to take off my pants and my underwear. And then my shirt. So I was naked, but I did nude modeling college and I didn’t fart ONCE. So I was used to this. I’m a professional. Then he got the glitter and a bottle of something else.
“I have to use lube first to make the glitter stick,” he said.
‘Ah, of COURSE,’ I thought to myself. Every time I tried to make my dick glitter and sparkle, all of my bedazzling work always went to waste because I wasn’t using LUBE! ‘SO THAT’S HOW YOU MAKE THE GLITTER STICK!!!!’ I already felt my artistic mind expanding into the horizon. ‘Namaste, god damnit. Where’s my latte with low-fat cashew milk?’
So this stranger rubbed lube on my dick while I sat there thinking about glitter. He told me my dick was pretty, and I made some comment like, “I WARSHED IT TODAY.” He went on with the lube longer than necessary, but I guess he wanted to get every nook and cranny. Then he applied the glitter. That also went on much longer than necessary.
Then he gave me panty hose to put on and my bright pink heels to match the glitter. And then he posed me in a way that I was sitting against the wall with my knees up while he photographed me. He had assured me that my face wouldn’t be in any of the pictures; that was the only reason I had even agreed to this in the first place. Then he made another comment like: “Mmmmm, I can see your butthole.” And I said something flippant like: “Well I’m glad it’s exactly where I left it! Right behind my SAGGY BALLS!”
God, I’m so good at this professional model banter.
And that’s when I started thinking: ‘…God? Are you there? It’s James. Just wondering…. What have I done to be here? Why am I here with my dick doused in glitter while an old creep stares at my unkempt grundle and comments on the state of my asshole? I went to church camp once! The youth leader me and the other boys that it was a sin to fuck animals. And I haven’t fuck an animal! Not even once! So why am I here??’
I was pulled out of my daydream conversation with God when I noticed the photographer was rubbing his crotch. (I assumed his dick had gotten tangled up, a problem that I frequently have and I have on more than one ocassion asked my male friends, “Do you ever feel like your dick is an accordion?” But they just stare at with with deep concern, so I stopped asking.) He said he was getting “excited”, and he asked if I wanted to see his penis. I was still sitting on the ground with my back against the wall and my feet on the ground but my heels were so tall that my knees were practically in my mouth. I couldn’t really breathe, I didn’t really know what to say. “Sure…”. He unzipped his pants to reveal he wasn’t wearing any god damn underwear. What the fuck, bro? And then he inched closer and asked if I wanted to taste it. “…Okay,” I said. So he put his dick in my mouth and moved it around while I sat there for a little bit. Eventually I moved my face away. He told me I could shower, and he gave me a towel. After I got all the glitter off, I came out, and he was lying on his bed naked. “Come here, and lay down,” he said. So I did. He put his hand on my penis, and he took my hand and put it on his weird floppy dick. This went on for about 30 seconds until something inside me exploded. I felt sick. I sat straight up and said, “I gotta go. I gotta go. I gotta go.” I was shaking. He asked if everything was okay. I just kept packing up all my clothes and I reassured him everything was fine. ONCE AGAIN: I reassured him everything was fine.
I ran out his door and onto the subway. I felt myself unraveling so I reached for my sunglasses and I slipped them on my face as the tears started boiling over. I stood on the train and sobbed quietly to myself as my tears burned down my cheek.
“You’re okay you’re okay you’re okay you’re okay you’re okay.”
The next thing I knew I was sitting in a Chipotle. I have no idea how I got there. I looked down and saw a burrito bowl sitting in front of me. So I ate it while I cried. How many times have I fucking cried my eyes out at a Chipotle?! And you really can’t properly taste a burrito when you’re sobbing into it. It mostly tasted like boogers which, sadly, is a taste I’ve outgrown. #puberty
I went home, and I told my close friends what had happened. Thankfully, I was also in therapy at the time. This is what they told me:
“This is not your fault. He was in a position of power, and he took advantage of you. He molested you.”
“But I didn’t stop him. It’s my fault, because I didn’t stop him,” I said.
“No, James. It’s NOT your fault. He took advantage of you. HE did this to you.”
But it’s hard for me to remember that sometimes. Sometimes I just blame myself, and I don’t want to tell people this story, because I don’t want them to judge me and call me names. When it first happened, I knew that I could only tell people that were worthy of hearing my story. I could only tell people that I trusted enough to have the appropriate response. Because the scariest question to be asked, especially by someone I love, is this:
“Why didn’t you do something?”
“Why didn’t you leave? Oh, I would’ve hit him if I were you. I would’ve bitten it right off. Oh man, if that happened to me, I really would’ve done something.”
Oh, you would? Well that’s awesome for you. Ya know, in my head, I’m a superhero, too. In my head, I have the perfect response to every insult. In my head, I beat the SHIT outta anyone who tries to rob me of my beloved iPhone. In my head, I kill anyone who ever tries to molest me. At least that’s what I thought. But then it happened, and I wasn’t a superhero. I was James. That’s it. Not a superhero who doles out justice and defeats villains. I was just a normal guy who ran away and cried.
What makes me so mad is that I’ve worked my whole life to improve a terrible self-esteem. Terrible self-esteem. When I was little, I used to tell my mother I wanted to die every night. I would cry and cry and repeat that phrase to her: “I wish I was dead.” I saw how much it hurt her for me to say that. So I stopped saying it. But I used to lie in my bed thinking of ways to kill myself that wouldn’t make a mess for my family to clean up. I just didn’t want it to be messy and a burden for my family. I just wanted to be gone. To not exist.
I was 10.
And I worked so hard to combat that part of my brain that tells me that. I’ve had two rounds of therapy. I used to cover my face and talk to myself in public to tell myself I was okay. I used workbooks and journals to reprogram that part of me that told myself I was ugly and worthless. I’ve worked hard. REALLY fucking hard. And it’s a constant battle. Some days are harder than others. And some days I can forget that I was ever so sad. I’ve let go of people from my life who weren’t fighting on my side. I’ve said goodbye to people who put me down; I’ve let go of people who told me I was unattractive and untalented, who told me I couldn’t sing, who told me I wouldn’t achieve my dreams. I’ve dismissed people who posed as loving boyfriends who were undercover gremlins whose sole mission was to demolish my self-worth. I’ve fought tooth and nail. I’ve slayed demons on my way to the top of my personal mountain Fuckerest. And then. After 14 years of fighting, one photoshoot unraveled all that. And THEN. To be asked, “How could you let that happen to you? Why didn’t you do anything?”
Well I’m fucking doing something now. I’m writing this.
It still hurts a lot. A lot a lot. I thought I was over it, but then I was at the gym and someone was staring at me, and I got uncharacteristically angry. I left the gym, and I cried outside. All this last year, people have been commenting on my darkness. Then I started to realize that it’s been affecting me ever since.
When people check me out in a bar, I wanna pluck their eyes out. When someone grabs my ass, I wanna rip their arm out of the socket. And when someone in a position of power takes advantage of my subordinance, it makes me want to fucking give up. Oh no; this is not an isolated incident. No. It’s not the only time I’ve been sexually harassed.
So I’m prickly and cold? So be it.
If you wanna be scared of me, cool. Boom roasted! Or whatever the kids say now. If I’m unapproachable, cool. How bout dem apples. Snapchat THIS. (What’s Periscope? Is that an app for peeking up boys’ shorts? I don’t know; I’m 26.) Do what you want. Telling my story isn’t brave. It doesn’t FEEL brave. I’m recounting events that happened to me. I just hope this does something for someone else who feels like no one understands them. And if you decide to quit modeling, cool. I won’t ask questions. Because sometimes your dreams don’t come true because someone shits on them and no matter how many times you wash them, they still kinda smell like shit. So maybe you don’t love the things that used to be your gospel. And I don’t want someone to take that away from me. But you don’t always have that option. Sometimes people rob you and you just watch them run away with your iPhone or your dog or your baby or something else that you really love and you’re sure gonna miss. But robbers are selfish and unkind and they don’t care about what you want. Otherwise they wouldn’t ROB YOU.
I know I’m not alone in this struggle, but sometimes I wish I was. I would rather be alone in this suffering. I would rather that no one else has to go through that. I used to turn up the shower as hot as I could handle it and stand there. Once I grabbed the loofa and scrubbed my skin as hard as I could handle. But I can’t make it go away. All I can do is own my story, and realize that this story doesn’t define me. It’s part of my narrative, but I am more than that.
About a week later, I went to his Facebook page just to make sure he hadn’t posted any of the pictures. But I couldn’t get to his profile, because he had deleted me as a friend…. He deleted me. Cool cool cool.
I’m not a superhero with a superhero response. But if I was, this is what I would say now, after the fact:
I do not belong to you. You are not entitled to any piece of me. Just because I am baring skin it does not give you the right to say inappropriate things to me. You do not get to touch me. EVEN IF you employ, I owe you nothing. Nothing.
Part of me thinks that maybe I should search my heart for empathy for you, you who stuck a screwdriver in the garbage disposal of my life and turned it on. But I can’t. I don’t have the energy. In another universe perhaps I could muster up the energy to analyze what events transpired in your life to royally fuck up mine. But in this universe, I don’t fuckin wanna. I used all my energy to get from there to here. Let someone else feel bad for you. Because I don’t.
Lastly, I wanna say something to anyone who still asks, “Why did you let that happen to you??” If this hasn’t happened to you, it’s not because you’re smarter than me. Or more wary than I. It’s because you’re lucky. That’s it. We’re the same. Except I was unlucky.
It took me a long time to write this. I know haven’t written a lot lately; I only blogged 6 times last year. But at the end of the day, I don’t wanna confront this. And I’m not sure people want to read this. I feel like people go to my blog when they wanna giggle about the new way that I’ve shit my pants in my twenties. (It’s been three times so far.) But at this point, I don’t know that reading this blog is so much about desire as it is necessity. I need to write this. And you need to read it. Not because of the quality of the writing or my ego, but because of its content. The simple facts.
It’s not a comedic blog.
“You just have a sense of humor while telling incredibly sad stories.”
God if I didn’t have my sense of humor, I don’t know how the fuck else I deal with the assloads of fuckery that bitch-fuckers dump into my life of glamour and ecstasy.
DON’T GIVE UP
JUST GET THROUGH
“You’re funny, James. You should write more.”
~My super nice friends who deserve to eat gallons of cookies without ever gaining weight.