because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Date me! I’m a dirty slut.



“But you know I could never date you seriously, don’t you?” he said.

I lifted my head from his bare chest. 

Really?” 

I arched an eyebrow in an attempt to be playful. I thought he was kidding.

“I mean, you’re fun and all, but…”

I sat upright, slowly pulling my thighs to my breasts. Protection against nakedness in nakedness.

“Wait- are you serious?” I pulled at my hair to cover my shoulders, understanding, suddenly, that he was absolutely serious. He tickled the small of my back with his fingertips gently, tenderly, betraying the mortifying sentiment of what he was saying. 

“Well,” he said, perfectly seriously, “You’re not exactly the type I could introduce to my mum. You’re trying to sell a sex memoir.”

When you’ve just woken up with a man, that’s probably about as humiliating a thing you could ever not want to hear. I was being told, I think, that because of my perceived sexual history, I was not worth this guy's time outside of the bedroom.

It was so degrading that I couldn’t speak. My head span with dizzying thoughts, most of which were to berate myself for being so fucking stupid.

You are a dirty slut, I told myself. Look at you, barely two weeks home from confessing your love for a man halfway around the world, and you’re waking up with another man you’ve met a handful of times. You’re disgusting. You are pathetic, and worthless, and use sex as a weapon. He’s right- nobody will ever love you because how could they? You’re nothing and he knows it and he’s laughing at you and so is everyone else.

When I wrote My Heart Beats Only For You (and a few dozen other people) I felt sick re-reading the chapters where I detail exactly how I coped with a broken heart. Seeing how truly out of control my behaviour had gotten, right there in black and white on the page, in my own words, was what prompted me to say stop. No more sex. I used to be horrible, and I didn’t want to be that person any more. So I taught myself how to be better by closing my legs and living in an Italian convent for a bit. That’s my story.

I think it might be everyone’s story, to be honest. Aren’t we all learning how to not be fucked up?

Yes, I got over one man by getting under many others, but then I also asked myself some truly difficult questions and peered at every aspect of my dysfunction under a veritable microscope, until waddaya know? I did some learning and figured out how to stop being so angry. All anyone wants is kindness, and the healthiest, nicest thing we can do is show it- including to ourselves.

In finally letting myself fall for a boy this summer I’d finally healed, I would survive, and in finally telling this boy by flying to New York like Meg Ryan in a 90’s RomCom, without the world ending or similar, a sort of weight was lifted from my shoulders.

Maybe, I began to imagine, I’m not so unlovable after all… maybe there’s something in this dating malarkey. This being kind and accepting kindness in return feels hella good…

So when I got home, full of hope for my romantic future, of course I met a man. And maybe it was the deep, inner dreamer in me- she who has been locked away for a good long time- who took little persuasion when the attention seeking, floor-holding, confident peacock of the room paid her the most attention.

This man, The Peacock, literally locked eyes with me across a crowd at an event I was at, and it was then I was decided: no more rules, no more games, just feelings and openness and okay, let’s see what might be out there-ness.

With his look I made a decision to get back in the game. It was time.

We went out. I felt relaxed. It felt like it was all coming together, somehow. I don’t want a booty call, and I don’t care how unfashionable it is to say that, I told him. Take me out, I said. Be a man and treat me like a lady, I instructed. I let myself enjoy him, and even though technically I have six weeks left of my celibacy vow, it felt silly to not do what felt natural. So I went to bed with him.

I’m a grown up. I can do that.

Waking up, though, to be told that essentially my past means no future with a chap I quite fancied, even though he was still pressed up against my thigh, made me question in eleventy thousand different ways everything I have just typed about hope. That, friends, is about as close to a hopeless as it comes.

I was embarrassed and disgraced and wanted to hide and maybe be sick.

I got dressed in silence and left. I know I’m worth more than what that man reduced me to, but I couldn’t figure out how. It was easier to concede that yup. He was absolutely right. After all, he was on the outside looking in- what better position to judge from? For two days I berated my sordid, repellent self. It’s funny how easy it can be to really hate yourself- I really know what my buttons are.

But then, the more I thought about it and the more I beat myself up over it, the more it woke me up when it hit me.

I am a bloody idiot, because I have changed. My story isn’t about sex and the body- it’s about feelings and the heart. Nobody else gets to decide what my history is. I do. I got hurt, like a bagillion other people have been, and I had to figure out my shit, like a bagillion other people have.

I’m not sickening and unworthy. I’m human.

I’ll do it all again, unapologetically. I’ll meet a thousand men at a thousand different events, and with some of them I’ll think okay. Let’s see if there is something here… And I will go out with them and drink with them and laugh with them and wonder about them. Sometimes, I’ll go home with them, too. If it feels right.

The only kind of slut that makes me is the emotion kind. I'm open to love, and connecting, and just finding out. 

Whore-ish as anyone might suggest it is, and they will- there are always going to be people who will- I’m gonna play fast and easy with my feelings because the alternative is just too. Damned. Depressing.

And Internet? I don't care what some unkind week-log fling says: I’m totally okay with that. 

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