Early Marriage | Part 4

by Elouise

421 Broadway front door and steps DSCN2101

~~~First Apartment Entrance

Fall 1965. Time to write about sex! I have a full-time job at the Harvard Law School, and we’re attending Park Street Church. But what’s happening at home?

Here’s what I’m not going to do or say.

  • I won’t tell all. It’s no one’s business but mine and D’s.
  • I won’t say, “Well, you know, we had our learning curve just like everyone else.” That’s a generalizing, change the subject, I don’t want to talk about it response.
  • I won’t minimize or take the sting out of what happened by saying it happens with every newly married woman. Whether it does or doesn’t isn’t the point. It happened with me and I need to deal with it.

Perhaps more than any other area, sexuality has been the most damaged part of my life. Which, of course, links to many other areas of life. Unfortunately, I don’t have a one-size-fits-all diagnosis or solution for damaged sexuality.

Wise counsel is a great place to start. Yet even that doesn’t guarantee everything will be all right. Especially when damage has been done early in childhood, and sustained through youth. That’s what happened to me.

Yet I know healing is possible, and that describing my experience is important for healing. So how will I describe my experience?

I’m going to use a poem. I like the flexibility and emotional impact of poetry. Besides, it seems a good match for what I want to communicate: what was going on in me that first year of marriage when it came to sex.

I’ve titled the poem “Anguish.” My anguish isn’t about whether I love D. I do. And it isn’t about whether I enjoy sex. I do.

It’s about something I don’t understand but think I ‘should’ understand and be able to change. The voice is mine; the time-frame is our first year of marriage, 1965-66.

Anguish

A descriptive poem, free verse, free form,
not a scientific observation,
not a case study,
not everything and
not nothing

* * *

Unbidden
Shadows creep over me
Mists gather
Storms approach
Unexpected, unpredictable, debilitating
No hiding
No privacy
No please, may I come in?

Slow or sudden death of desire
The end of being carried away
The beginning of
Self-consciousness
Fury of unfulfilled longing

Always one or the other:
Carried away or
Crashing
Slowly or quickly
With or without warning
Which will it be this time?

Not about technique
Not about state of mind or heart
Not about desire

Intruders hover like death
snuff out the flickering candle
Darkness descends
Taking me with it
Into a pit of frustration,
Anger, despair, tears, silence
Prelude to depression

Old survival tactics
kick in
without invitation.
Numb out
Detach
Close eyes
Cover eyes
Hold breath
Get through

Shame
Body disgust
Self-contempt
Fear
Anguish
Internalized failure
Inadequacy
Loathing
Woman-hating
Man-hating
Blame
Torment
Despair
Disbelief

When it was good
It was very very good
When it was bad
It was horrid

Like a toss of a coin
Heads we win
Tails we lose

Irrational
Untamable
Mind of its own

Unrecognized triggers
Just below the surface
Bubble up
From where?
Why now?
Plus a thousand other
Unanswerable Questions

*  *  *

To be continued….

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 28 April 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, July 2003