Once again I’ve broken my rule about not editing my letters. I decided I needed to add this little note here to warn you before you start reading this letter. It contains quite a bit of content that may be triggering; including discussions of rape and suicide and pictures of drawings that may considered pornographic.
It was a rainy day today and I wasn’t able to walk on the beach. I am wondering now if maybe I should have walked anyway as it would have let me have the beach to myself again for a little while. My assumption the vacationers would need to go back to work tomorrow since it will be Monday and therefore would pack up and leave tonight was a poor assumption. Even the family staying in the condo below mine is still here as is so easily determined by how the heavily muscled man who I saw once yesterday yells at his wife and daughter below me in a way that makes me cringe and seek out my noise canceling earphones. I don’t suspect it is an abusive relationship as the wife seems to be giving it back just as enthusiastically and the daughter has certainly inherited her parents vocal projection skills. But it’s the man’s voice that unnerves me so much and at this moment I can’t honestly say why, although I’m sure there is someone within me who could.
My therapist, Jan as I’ve called her in a couple of my previous letters, has asked me a couple of times if I can call to any of my others and speak to them or ask them to speak. For the most part I don’t think I can and, to be honest, if I were to even attempt to do so this whole framework of acceptance that I have built for my DID diagnosis may collapse because that sounds and feels a little hocus pocus for me. I have already struggled enough to accept this diagnosis despite its fuzzy edges and incomplete ratification and acceptance among the those in psychiatric profession. I need to stay on the pragmatic side of things in order to continue applying this framework to my mind and extracting the pieces in a way that allows me to deconstruct and rebuild a cohesive and integrated Self.
If I could wave a magic wand or wiggle my nose or whatever and have one of my alters speak or jump into the driver’s seat, I would ask Nasty to write about herself as I really think she is the best one to tell her story. In fact, she can probably her story as well as mine since she shown off an ability to me perfectly in the past and I probably couldn’t pull off imitating her taking a nap. Nasty, despite what her name might imply, is like my cool wild child twin – the half that got all the bravery, confidence, beauty, taste, and ability to meet friends (and lovers) anywhere and everywhere. She is the life of the party, the one who makes everyone laugh, the one who can beat anyone at a game of pool, the one who has always danced like a stripper with the rent due, the one who could laugh at mom when she said hurtful things, the one who can paint and draw, the one who carries her sexuality proudly and in front of her like a name badge, the one who walks in a way that brings all the eyes her way, the one who was always looking for someone to love her the one who, when no one is watching, breaks down and admits she hates herself and writes horrible notes calling herself a “cunt” and telling herself to die.
Nasty and I have a love-hate relationship. I envy her freedom and her natural ability to get things done, to create beautiful art, to socialize and meet new people, to feel a sexual attraction to others and enjoy sex and to be able to feel sensual, to have fashion sense and a distinct personal style, to be adventurous and have fun at the same time. To be seen and to be seen as beautiful. To be brave and to let the mean words of others slide off her back without sinking in or cutting through her thick skin and confidence. To vibe the kind of energy that attracts connection with others instantly, to easily make friends, to become important to others quickly, to be popular. There are a lot of things to like and even love about Nasty but I also have always resented how, after she’s been around for a while, I am left to clean up the mess she’s made. This includes paying off the credit cards she’s charged up; dealing with the man she’s married, shacked up with or started dating; getting yet another STD check; checking all email, social media and messaging to see what promises she’s broken, disagreements she’s had or lines she’s crossed in talking with the people in my life; finding another job or dealing with the repercussions of having acted out sexually at work in a way that has completely discredited me; and in some of the more extreme clean up jobs, finding a new home for me and my children. This isn’t a complete list of things I love and hate about Nasty but I think it draws a pretty good picture of the kind of struggle we have with each other.
Like I shared with you in my last letter, if Nasty were writing this, she would be telling you that she is the real Self and that I am the stodgy and boring alter named Responsibility who is such a drag and always ruins all the fun, wears boring clothes (in her words “clothes that Mom would approve of”) and will die an old maid, fat and alone (“like Mom”). Just like I consider myself having to clean up after her time spent in the driver’s seat, she feels the same about mine in that she has to lose weight, buy all new clothes and shoes, go to a hair stylist for a color touchup and trim and find a nail salon for a pedi/mani. While I’m always disappointed with the way Nasty leaves our life wrecked, she is always frustrated with the way she feels I leave our body and wardrobe neglected and in need of a complete make over.
Knowing what I discovered about my early childhood experiences, it would follow that Nasty represents my dissociated state of identity as a sexual woman separate from myself. I am very much an asexual being. I have no desire for sex, touch or even orgasm. I have never, to my memory, been sexually attracted to anyone and I do not find anyone particularly attractive in a way that has every caught my attention or made me interested in knowing more about them. Nasty carries all of the sexuality and she carries it BIG; often saying that she feels like she “puts off a scent” that sexually attracts men (I suspect it’s more the way she walks and behaves that tells men she is a good target for getting laid but what would I know). Despite her projected confidence in her sexuality and her proclamations otherwise, Nasty also carries all of the shame for a lifetime of dysfunction expressed through hyper-sexuality; including the early childhood events, the event from 1984 or 1985 and the destructive path of sexuality following those childhood events that bruised and broke me for the next 34 years. And while I have been frequently inconvenienced and painfully embarrassed by all the sex and the accompanying reputation, Nasty was the one who carried the blame because no matter how hard she tried to be “good” while she was driving, she always ended up fucking things up in the very literal sense.
When Nasty first gets into the driver’s seat, she is immediately going 100 mph and talking just as fast. When I’ve/we’ve (??? pronouns get confusing when I’m talking about me and the alters so please excuse my lack of consistency as I stumble through this) gone to appointments with Dr. Mary in the past while Nasty was in control, and also the one time more recently for an appointment with Jan, they both clearly saw me as acting and speaking in a manner that was manic and over the top. And although my transition to Nasty went unnoticed by my children when they were younger, when I recently spent some time around my daughter while triggered and and feeling switch-y, my daughter admitted to me (as part of our new agreement to be honest an upfront about how we are feeling when we are around each other) that I was acting in a way that made her anxious because, as a child, the behavior she was sensing from me had always meant something was about to happen and things were going to change. So while she didn’t notice the transition into Nasty when she was younger, my daughter noticed the pattern and even as an adult, sensing Nasty’s presence makes her anxious and feeling the need to distance herself from me. It turns out that Nasty’s presence and my absence did not go as unnoticed as I have always thought it did during those times I suddenly “woke up” knowing I had been missing from my life and that I know now Nasty had been there in my place.
On the flip-side of the initial manic behavior after first switching into the driver’s seat and after a period of partying and having lots of sex, Nasty would always fall into a deep self-hating depression – I suspect this is triggered by the repercussions and emptiness of the partying and sex, a realization that the friendships and sexual relationships she has made so easily are artificial and easily broken, that once again everything is screwed up and (at least according to her journal entries) the emergence of a strong belief that everyone would be happier if she would just die and go away. It’s scary to find evidence of serious suicidal ideation in my own journals and realizing that while I was “out” the one in my place was in such a bad place mentally on more than one occasion.
A Pouring of Darkness
It’s hard to read the words I (Nasty) writes sometimes.
Dr. Mary observed Nasty’s manic-depressive cycle many times over the years I was seeing her; before my DID diagnosis. As a result, one of my initial diagnoses was bipolar disorder and at one time I was taking a medication to treat it that caused me to have a six-month period for which I still have no memories at all. I’ve never been able to find journal entries or anything to piece those missing months together; only a few things that I’ve been told by others and one random stranger who made contact with me through facebook messenger and made it clear through his familiarity with me and his request to “hit that fat pussy again” that I needed to ask my doctor run another STD check on me. It is not lost on me that I beat the odds in never having one of those checks come back with the news I had been infected with a disease through unprotected sex. To have had the life of brokenness and the number of sexual partners and experiences I have had and to have arrived on this side of that brokenness disease free is truly a miracle and I am so thankful for it!
In my journals, therapy sessions and my mind, the defining event in 1984 or ’85 that really set Nasty apart from me in a way from which we never really recovered is something I refer to in my journals as “the incident at the hotel.” It was my freshman year in high school and I had a friend who was older than I was who was dating a guy attending the local college. It was right around new years and he was on his winter break, staying in a local hotel because the dorms were closed and he wasn’t able to travel home. Some of the other students at the college had also stayed in town and the usually empty hotel had become a popular hang out for that short window of time. When my friend invited me to go along with her to visit her boyfriend, it made me feel included and grown up. She was someone I admired and always wanted to be around. I was excited to be a part of her older crowd’s thing at the hotel and remember feeling determined to be cool, to not act like a child and to not embarrass my friend and make her regret bringing me.
I don’t remember a lot of details of the events of that night leading up to the one that is forever burned into my memory but today, sitting on this couch in my condo on the Gulf, 34 years later, I can picture in my mind exactly how the hotel room was set up and lighted that evening, where my friend was with her boyfriend in the bed across the room closest to the windows, and I could hear the sound of a man lying on the floor and between the beds masturbating loudly while a naked man much older than me who I had just met that evening held himself above me, looking down at me with the sheet tented over us by his shoulders. It was my first make out session that had made it to second base but it had quickly rounded third and was headed for home. Just as he had started to press into me I had startled and realized that this was really happening and that I shouldn’t, I couldn’t, and I didn’t want to. I told him to stop. I told him I had never done it before. I told him I wasn’t ready and I didn’t want to get pregnant. And with the head of his penis still pressed against the opening of my vagina he paused and looked down at me with irritation and surprise. “You’re a virgin?” he asked and I remember being embarrassed as I answered yes. “And you don’t take the pill?” he asked and I told him “no,” fully believing this truth would release me from the pressure he had continued to apply to me as he asked his questions.
But he didn’t release me and before I was able to protest again, he was inside of me and hurting me. I was scared and my vagina had not lubricated itself in preparation for his entering me and I felt little tears on each side of me burning as he thrust in and out; oblivious of my pain and disinterested in my needs or even my presence. I was afraid to cry out because I didn’t want to cause a scene by being the crying baby virgin in the room fool of cool older people. It was over quickly and afterwards he rolled off of me said something in a different language to the masturbating man on the floor next to us and laughing. I don’t remember anything else except hearing the song “One More Night” playing on the scratchy radio on the bedside table next to me. The next memory I have is walking out of the room with my friend and feeling dirty. So very dirty. I never saw the man again.
A couple of days later I told another friend my age what had happened but she had been raised in a very religious family and her response was to tell me I was going to burn in hell. Afraid I was pregnant and confused about how I was feeling, I tried to talk to my mom about it but as soon as she realized it was something about sex (as word she pronounced by whispering the letters s-e-x), she immediately refused to discuss it any further and told me that if something bad had happened to me it was probably because of the way I dressed or acted. And that was the last time I tried to talk to anyone about it until much later in life. For many years, hearing that Phil Collins song that was playing that night would make me physically ill and feeling dirty exactly like I felt that night.
In 2012 I decided it was time to excise the demon and I wrote a story about my experience of losing my virginity against my will and posted it on my blog; even putting a link to the story on my Facebook page. It made me feel good to finally have control in the situation, to give myself permission to shed the guilt and acknowledge that “no means no” and that even though I had allowed (and even enjoyed) a much older man to undress me and press himself against me before I said it, when I said “no” he should have backed off and packed it up. And by not doing so and pressing himself into me despite my having asked him to stop, he had sexually assaulted me and I had nothing to be ashamed about. It was a long overdue and much needed act of healing by writing that story and taking back my power. I felt relieved, lighter and stronger. At least for a 24 hours or so…
Just a day or so after I posted the story, I got a message from the old friend who had taken me with her to the hotel that night when she went to visit her boyfriend. In her message she told me that she wasn’t sure if I was just trying to get attention for my blog or what I was trying to do, but that she knew I was lying about that night because she was there and she knew what had happened. And just like that, after I finally unpacked that long carried and destructive shame box labeled “the incident at the hotel” and thought it was behind me, I was called a liar by another woman. And I was reminded that I needed to stay quiet and remember my place and remember I wasn’t good so I must have done something wrong. And I picked all of the shame back up and put it into the hotel box and placed in back within me to carry. Because I had been reminded it was mine to carry – because I was Nasty.
This letter has been a heavy one but yet another cornerstone box in the making of me has been unpacked – one I’ve carried too long, too heavily and only because others gave it to me to carry (and gave it to me again after I had managed to set it down once before). This makes three of my biggest and heaviest boxes now emptied and unloaded in these letters! I can feel my soul becoming Lighter by the day. What a joy it is to finally be able to clear out all of this darkness from within me.
As party of my goal to become a true minimalist, I’ve decided to eventually throw away all of my journals and my only regret in doing so is losing some of Nasty’s drawings. I’ve been taking pictures of them have enclosed just a few of them with this letter (there are many more). Most of the sketches are pretty sexually charged, as to be expected. Being able to draw like this is one of the skills I’m hoping to acquire as the line between me and Nasty dissolves through our integration. I have always wanted to be able to look at something and then draw what I see. What a treat it might be someday to have all Nasty’s strengths and talents, liberated from the pain and the darkness she carries along beside them.
Until next time.
Nasty Art & Madness
A Modest Sampling
A beautiful friend was kind enough to help out and despite her ADHD, she sat 45 minutes for this sketch. She got married a couple of weeks ago and she’s giving the framed sketch to her new husband as a wedding gift.
Pussy, A Self Portrait
Not a sketch of the body part but a sketch of the kind of raw sexual energy that leaves a woman completely open and vulnerable, without a care for who might see her that way
First sketch of a woman with clothing. Modeled from picture found online.
Another sketch from picture found online.
Genie in a Bottle
Sketched this with the intent of eventually painting an incense burnnbottle with this on the front; making it appear as if the woman’s form is transforming into smoke as it travels out of the top of the bottle.