Apr. 29th, 2015

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I remember feeling cut off. Like I didn't know how to connect.

I remember being very young and walking around the perimeter of the yard at school, because I didn't seem to know how to fit in with the others.

I remember being a little older and looking at the girls at school in their dittos. They really did drive me to distraction. I remember being fascinated by the front abdominal curve that the high waisted and tight fitting jeans afforded. And I remember feeling cut off from being able to connect with those girls. I remember it was very painful.

Even later, I remember sex parties. I remember one of the early ones I went to, many years ago. I was so excited to be invited. And not only that, I was going to give an "opening ritual" that I'd written specifically for the event. I remember that as we were prepping, we discovered that I was having a herpes outbreak. I remember going from being excited to being appalled. I remember thinking that if I went, it was going to be like a starving man at a buffet but prevented from actually getting to the food. We made an agreement that we'd leave after the opening ritual, and spend time just the two of us.

I remember delivering the opening ritual. And it was amazing. Everybody felt more connected after the opening ritual than I'd ever seen at any point in any sex party, and we hadn't done anything but the ritual. I remember my partner being so excited that she really wanted to stay.

I remember I had crappy boundaries, and grudgingly said OK. We went to the host and asked about a fun compound for me, because that would make it easier to be in that space. The host suggested a different fun compound instead, assuring me that it'd be much better for this event.

I remember that I reacted poorly to the compound. I remember it was the worst night of my life. Worse than going to the ER because of gallstones. My partner wouldn't play with me, because then she wouldn't be able to play with anyone else. So I really was starving and on the outside looking in. Listening to the sounds of play from upstairs. I was a tight ball of rage for the next 8 hours.

I remember my first actual cuddle party. It wasn't that long ago, on my birthday, May 8 2011. It was held at my place. I remember growing more and more discomfited through the very early moments of the event. I remember quietly disappearing and stealthfully fleeing from the event.

I remember last night, mulling over things about Gene with a friend. Something about how Gene also didn't feel like he deserved anything made me see that he wasn't the only one. For the first time I was able to see that, through all of these experiences, I had felt like I didn't deserve it. The beatings from my childhood left me believing I was so awful and worthless a human being that I deserved nothing. Except maybe to be hurt. Being so undeserving, clearly nobody would want to connect in physical or sexual ways with me. I've known for some time that I had problems with my sense of worth, but last night was the first time the words "didn't deserve it" fit.

Somehow I'm now able to make some distinctions now between esteem, worth, and deserving. Esteem because of what I'm capable of, I have that. Deserving… I've never had that. I've never felt like I deserved anything. Not even a rest. Everyone else deserved, but not me.

I remember conversations about privilege, and how I reacted to them, because they all talked about white males feeling like they deserved this or that just for being white males. Those words made sense to me as words, but they didn't have emotional meaning for me. I've never felt like I deserved anything. Because of this, the privilege conversations just felt like another way to say "see, you really are awful, you deserve nothing".

I've felt like I could figure out how to get some things, how to build some things, and when I was young, how to cheat in some way to get things. Like stealing dad's m&m candies when I was 7. I learned to do a lot of things really well, like sex, massage, being handy around the house… But these were all me trying to bribe the world to keep such an undeserving person around.

I never felt like I *deserved* anything. Even what I have now. I have carried this my whole life. Now, in this moment, even sharing this is hard. I don't know why, maybe because I fear the world will confirm this lack of deserving.

But maybe identifying this distinction of "deserve" will make some kind of difference. Maybe I can at least tell myself I deserve to rest from time to time.

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Akien MacIain

August 2017

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