Behind Closed Doors: Shame

I woke up to with him forcing his semi-flaccid penis inside me, he was on top of me and as I rolled onto my side (still half asleep) he wasn’t deterred. His semi-flaccid thrusting didn’t stop and I didn’t stop him. I barely knew where I was but I didn’t feel like I was in danger, I didn’t feel much and I wasn’t anywhere near conscious enough to know where I was or who I was with.

In truth I’d probably invited him back to mine, I’d probably taken my clothes off or made an effort to remove his, in all likelihood I’d had my mouth around his cock at some point, but I couldn’t remember. I didn’t know him from Adam and I was vulnerable, but I was glad to be safe enough. After all, worst case I would have been dead. All too often I’ve put myself in situations of vulnerability because I enjoy a drink, I like to chat, I revel in attention and I love a good snog. Ultimately (more times than not) I’ve not known when to call it day.

I’m better at it now, but far from perfect. And this is despite the fact I undoubtedly know that even some of the best men in world can’t resist. If I don’t know my limits, why would they want to? Particularly if they’re also under the influence and I’ve taken their clothes off and started teasing them. It’s not in their interests, or even in their thought process, to decline to save my dignity. The thought that I won’t remember a thing in the morning and will second guess any memories I do have, more than likely, won’t cross their mind.

To stay safe I need to keep better control of myself, but if I don’t should I feel ashamed of myself the morning after?

A day or two after I started to write this essay I watched a TED talk by Monica Lewinsky and it helped cement why I write my stories. I like to think they’re entertaining to read, some of them educate a little but some aspects could be viewed embarrassing or shameful. This particular story could be viewed as shameful. I’m certainly not proud of the fact I was so intoxicated I had no recollection of whether I did or didn’t invite a virtual stranger (and his semi-flaccid penis) into my bed. But it happened and as I grow older (and wiser) I know two things are certain:

  1. I cannot change the past.
  2. I can learn from the past.

Yes, it’s petrifying. I could have caught an STI, his friends could have slept with me, he could have taken photos of me and, worse still, he may not have even liked me for who I was on the inside. But those two points remain the same:

  1. I cannot change the past.
  2. I can learn from the past.

For many years I was ashamed of some of the situations I got myself in and as result how vulnerable I was. Some people even argue that I deserved to be taken advantage off because I put myself in those situations.

I have a list as long as my arm of avoidable happenings, but I can’t undo them. To state but a few:

  • I’ve ended up in a police station after a standoff with a taxi driver.
  • I’ve woken up 16 miles from home.
  • I’ve lost 80 quid cash almost the second I was given it.
  • I’ve lost my driving licence twice.
  • I’ve attempted to vomit down a drain and instead vomited all over my own feet.
  • I’ve slept with a housemate’s ex-boyfriend.
  • I’ve almost had a threesome while dating an amazing guy. The amazing guy wasn’t present at the time.
  • I’ve woken up with a stranger in my bed and a hicky the size of Australia.
  • I’ve taken a cigarette out of a senior manager’s mouth and smoked it at a work do.
  • I’ve fallen over so many times while dancing that I’ve woken up covered in bruises.
  • I’ve gotten in a play fight with a man twice my size and had my head smashed into the pavement.

These aren’t things to be proud off but being embarrassed by them only makes them worse. People shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed. People would be more willing to seek help where they need it and move on with their life if they were encouraged to embrace the past as fact and learn as much as they can from it. And if something similar happens again, learn from that too.

I have made (and learnt from) countless mistakes and I know how gut wrenchingly awful it can feel to wake up in the morning alone, still wearing clothes from the night before, with only a partial unreliable recollection of events.

Writing about some of my less than glamorous experiences enables me to laugh at them and learn from them – I survived, it wasn’t pretty, I made some memories both positive and negative, but more importantly I know better now and that’s part of growing up.

It’s true, “shame can’t survive empathy.” I understand if you or someone you know feels ashamed of putting yourself/themselves in a position of vulnerability, but it happens to the best of us. The only positive outcome is to learn from it and move on. I understand and I don’t think you have anything to be ashamed of. Memories are what make us and what we learn dictates how we react in the future. Teach someone else not to make the same mistake and don’t dwell on the mistakes you’ve made.


9 thoughts on “Behind Closed Doors: Shame

  1. More people should be out about their experiences. A lot of at-the-time bad situations become the best anecdotes, cautionary tales for others and the tools that equip you to empathise, sympathise and advise others (if appropriate)

    I wish I could be braver…even my crochet days are in code that only I understand sometimes 😉


  2. Screw the people who says those, deserved to be taken advantage off because I put myself in those situations. I disagree!
    Yes, don’t be ashamed. Live and learn!


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