(This content may offend your sensitivities and is deeply personal)
I don’t keep secrets.
I don’t mean I go around telling everyone, everything about my life. I just don’t actively work at keeping a bit of information secret. Some information I won’t volunteer until specifically asked about it, but if asked, I wouldn’t hide the real answer.
My point in sharing this: I have a secret. I (actively) kept it, I even lied to protect it, because it felt too precious to share with anyone.
But it’s mine now, I have taken complete ownership of my secret actions.
It involves the basement, my secret.
All my life (at least all the while that I have been old enough to have desires that would warrant the attention of a therapist), I’ve wanted to spend an extended period of time locked in a basement with no clue as to the time of day (or date). For years I’ve known exactly which basement too.
But I couldn’t do it. It freaked me out, (even though I loved, respected and trusted the man I was with) it felt like giving up a measure of control far superior than anything I could fathom.
So I kept it in there; in my fantasy box.
And of course, his.
As we grew older the possibility of me disappearing without notice or communication started to grow more remote (although part of me thinks that should work in reverse), and I stopped speaking of my desire. I thought about it, even wrote about it sometimes but we didn’t talk about it.
A few months ago, we were having a lively and casual discussion about certain political figures and how we’d murder them.
“You’d probably take them into the basement, do to them what you so wish was done to you…save for the murder, maybe,” is what he said to me.
I cannot in words do justice to the horror in my chest in the moment when he said that. I was nauseated from fear.
“I’m a patient man,” he continued (and I scoffed), “But you have taken far too long to realize that the small measure of free will you think you possess is a courtesy I extend you and I’ve had enough of it.” Correction: this was the moment where the horror just got away from me.
He left, presumably so I could smoke incessantly while pacing around my room.
I was mad at myself, every time I underestimate his power over me i feel like a fool.
Every time I think he’s not the same scary, sociopathic creep just because all he’s done for weeks is love me, he knows to remind me that he’ll never change.
In the end, the only reason I could think of for doing what he demanded was that, he demanded it.
And, I didn’t care, it felt like that was all I needed to know.
He never asked me what I had decided to do, two days later he just sent me very cleverly planned out travel details (which made me wonder how he had so much information about my work schedule). All I had to do was explain to my family why they’d have no contact with me for a whole week.
I also decided not to deal with it.
Since it seemed I would have to do it eventually, I decided to just ignore it till I could.
A week before we had to leave I started to drop little hints about things I may need down there.
I made the point that I could do some of my best writing when devoid of all other activities.
He ignored me.
I tried to ask how he’d know at all times that I was safe.
He ignored that too.
He ignored all my escalating requests for information.
Perhaps he did me a favour, if I had known in no uncertain terms what he had planned for me, I might have run.
I’d expected that he’d use me for his sexual pleasure and possibly leave me tied up down there for hours, but not that in the entire time we were there none of sexual activity that ensued would be considered “natural”.
I didn’t expect that despite there being a fully functional bathroom down there, the only thing I would get to use it for was to clean the bucket I was to use for elimination of waste.
I did not expect that he would refuse to refer to me by my name for all those days.
I did not expect the entertainment value of my owns limbs and fingers and toes to be so crucial to my survival that not being able to engage with them made me believe I wouldn’t make it out sane.
I did not expect that I would sleep so much, or that i’d lose track of time so quickly and thoroughly that i’d spend the week having slow panic attack.
I did not expect that the man I had spent so many years loving could so quickly turn into a heathen monster I could not recognize and definitely did not trust.
I did think he would feed me, just not that he would limit my water supply to the point where I was always thirsty but not dehydrated.
I did not expect all sexual intercourse with the man I can’t get enough of to feel like assault.
For every thing I expected, there were a world of reactions I could not have precedented.
I confess I do not possess the linguistic skills to do justice to this experience, but it radiates from me in everything I do.
I will say, I did not expect to cry for a day (on and off) after I was let out of the place that terrorized me.
And, as the convolution of emotions comes full circle, I did not expect to miss it.
I am not the person who walked into that basement.
Well, i am who I was then..but there’s a part of me here that wasn’t before. A part it took a few months to incorporate into my worldview.
A part of me that sees in a whole new light our (sometimes quaint) notions of sanity, equality and dignity.
I felt abused down there, but what’s more important is I know this: That I had room to feel abused was just another courtesy he extended me.