Toxic Masculinity

My name is Brit and I am a Survivor.

I am a sex and love addict too. I came into SIA through SLAA, when my inventories were neither freeing me from survivalism, nor addressing my core shame: that I am the product of rape.

I am the product of the multiple rapes of my fifteen-year-old mother by a group of American tourists to Crete who bought her virginity from a sex trafficker there who called himself King Minos. One of these men took pity on her and helped her to escape, to stow away on a ship that took her around Africa, across the Pacific, and then to the Port of Los Angeles.

I like to think that I get my freckles and my green eyes and my curly hair from that one among my mother’s rapists: the one who also helped her to get free.

My mother died in childbirth. The nurses she told her story to gave me her name: Britomartis, also the name of Crete’s goddess of the mountains, of fishing, and of the hunt.[1]

I was raised in the foster system. I learned to charm and hustle and shift, to become the child each parent wanted in house after house after house. And I am as queer as a three-dollar bill. A gold star lesbian. Though not without some sexual trauma of my own.

I started saving money and getting tattoos when I was fifteen. I got this minotaur tattoo on the inside of my right forearm, for the fantasy of murdering my mother’s trafficker. And, as you can see, the iconography of feminine power and of revenge have been inked into my skin, the labrys and the butterfly too, connecting all the freckles that came into my DNA that terrible night in my mother’s short life.

Women really thought these tattoos were hot back in the 80s and 90s when I was running and gunning and hustling. Yeah, it was a lot of fun for a while. It felt good to be wanted, to watch a woman risk everything to have me? I remember one time this gorgeous woman–I pushed her up against her car and kissed her and she gasped with lust.

I was a drug for them. And I chased that high for years.

But I never gave myself a chance to be loved. I objectified myself. And I hid.

I was never really there, never for long enough to be seen through the blue on my skin.

I got to SLAA in the late 90s. (I don’t know how I would have survived this age of swipe-sex.) I had to confront the fantasy that drove me from one relationship to the next.

And then, I had to face my sweetest fantasy. The fantasy of revenge in all its gory details. This had grown so big, it encompassed most men, who I saw as predators and as rabid beasts that needed to be put down.

At the same time, I had to confront my own masculinity.

I too was taught to see women as objects and as conquests. This was hard to admit. Had I always waited for consent? Did I honor the women I dated and pursued and even spent years with? Did I truly consider their hearts, their boundaries, their bodies, their visions for us?

I had to inventory my participation in this and in all the intersecting isms that I had internalized.

I could drive down a beautiful road and get turned on at my power to see, to speed along its curves, to make it part of my story, and to recognize it as a place where I could project my identity.

Even the land was my other.

In my survivalism, I justified harm. I was unconscious of my affect on people, on my planet. Fucking A, this was survival! This was a homophobic, misogynistic society and I was a big proud queer. A vampire. Above the rest of you.

I couldn’t feel Earth or what we were doing to it. I couldn’t feel anything.

And that was the point.

It took a while to see how I had harmed myself. For example, I had certain ideas about how performing masculinity was about making women feel desired–by abandoning my own limits and boundaries too.

I had no integrity.

I lost myself shifting to fit what I imagined were their fantasies.

I remember this time, I had taken this beautiful, brilliant, imaginative woman to dinner. We were standing on a corner at a red light. I was waiting for her to succumb to my charms, not looking at her, not touching her. She put her hand on my shoulder. She slid her hand down my arm and took my hand.

I froze.

I didn’t take her up on it. I didn’t squeeze back. I had no game.

And she dropped my hand.

Then she broke up with me.

It was like she had sensed my emptiness.

So, of course I put years into trying to make her love me. I ran all over her boundaries. Of course she lashed out at me—that’s what I thought I deserved. I lost myself doing it.

I shrank.

That’s what finally got me in the rooms.

Now, I understand that my purpose is to help other people suffering the pains of growing up. I get to help other people who come from generational trauma, collective and historical trauma. I get to be present with you and your stories. I get to feel my heart reach out to you. I get to feel my body, my pain, my rage, my grief, my loneliness.

I know that shame is a lie. When I stand with you, I learn to stand with myself.

I find compassion for myself too.

Gradually, I learned to give myself the love I used to hustle for–and never receive. I look at my own shit and I ask for help to change.

It’s a simple, good life. I get to be a part of this community. I get to help re-envision the world.

I begin by changing myself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This story came from a tarot reading–I am developing each character in 2020 through such readings on my channel, Metal Dog Tarot. Here is the link to Brit’s reading.


[1] https://pantheon.org/articles/b/britomartis.html