physically unanchored

i had this really strange experience when i was getting a massage once. massages are funny because sometimes you’ll be with a practitioner who loves to talk and keeps you engaged the whole time, and sometimes you’ll get someone who is quiet and lets you relax. this woman was quiet. i was relaxing and focusing on my breathing and stuff when all of a sudden i started thinking about blowjobs. it was totally strange, totally random. it just popped into my head. i was thinking that it’s a really strange concept - oral sex. i was lying there on the massage table getting my back rubbed vigorously and trying to figure out who decide to just stick a penis into their mouth the first time. and then i was wondering if my grandma’s ever given head. or my mom. and then i was starting to feel icky and singular and like maybe the massage therapist was reading my mind and wishing that she didn’t have to give a massage to such a creep. but that’s not even the strange experience i wanted to talk about.

every once in a while, i’ll vividly remember something viscerally sexual from my first relationship. not just like, i’ll think about something physically intimate we did together. like - i’ll get a deep flash of remembering with my whole body, almost like i’m back in the moment. it’s not horrifying, usually. but it’s really jarring. i think it probably has some sort of link to anxiety but i haven’t thought about it too deeply. anyway, i was thinking about blowjobs when suddenly i had this hideous memory of my partner going down on me. and it was really awful. i just remember feeling gross the whole time it was happening and afterwards, my partner said, “was that good?” and i just nodded because i didn’t know how to say “no it was awful and i really never want that to happen again.” and the moment i felt that memory enter my body i felt physically unanchored. which is awful when you’re in the middle of a massage. i wanted the therapist’s hands off me and i wanted to run away and sit in a corner and breathe closely until someone gentle and kind approached me and held out their hand and waited and waited patiently, like i was a scared animal in a zoo. and then they’d touch me gently with one finger, then two, then their whole hand, warm on my back. and they’d just rub circles until i felt okay and i curled up in their lap like a cat.

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