I’m starting to realize I have this horrible habit of testing people.
Ever since I was little I’ve had a knack for manipulation. When I was four, my mom tells me I’d go without getting my hair brushed for weeks, until it was just a mass of chaos and knots (an impressive one for a four year old, if I do say so myself). Six people were assigned to hair maintenance when I was little because I made it so damn difficult: my mom, my three sisters, and my nanny. If one of them came to start the painful process of trying to tame this mane I call hair, I’d lie through my teeth, look up at them with big, sweet eyes and say that someone else had already done it, but thank you for offering! By the age of four, not only had I figured out innocence (or the appearance of innocence) as a tool, but I’d also figured out the only weakness in big numbers: lack of communication. I’d say that’s pretty high levels of manipulative understanding, even for a cute toddler.
Throughout my life, the only consistent strength I’ve ever been told I have is argument, which is just a diplomatic (sometimes undiplomatic) way of manipulating another person. Even my love of stories—to some degree—is manipulation. What is storytelling but a way of compelling your audience into thinking a certain way? The way you want them to think. You have no idea how easy it is to spin a few words and enchant almost anyone into a hypnotic state, until they’re so vulnerable that they’ll believe anything you say. Throw in some pretty words, some words they may not know for good measure, and voila. It can be positive, it can come from good intentions (I’m not even aware in the moment when I do it now), but by definition, storytelling is being a skilled liar, creating a fake reality that serves your purpose.
From a very early age, I’ve found most people (or rather, mostly my peers) to be too effortlessly manipulated, too easily intimidated, and too ready to believe in the opinions I spun them. It’s quite a boring world, actually, if you’ve spent your whole childhood becoming good at these things. No one keeps you in check. No one challenges you, no one argues back, forces you to change. You become stagnant, which is the most dangerous thing of all. You become a teenager and suddenly realize no one really knows who you are (except maybe your family) and you have a hard time respecting anyone because you know they’re blind. All in all, a world where you manipulate people without restraint is a horrible world to exist in. You begin to feel falsely superior. Which is why one day, for my own benefit, I decided I’d be honest from that point out. If I couldn’t find enough people I felt I had to answer to, I’d just bind myself to truth. Or whatever semblance of truth I had at the time. I still don’t know what I really mean by “truth” but I think the attempt to figure it out keeps me honest.
Which is why I have this horrible habit of testing people. I want to be policed, I want people to catch me manipulating them, put their foot down, stop taking my shit. I want an equal. Until now, the closest I’ve come to is my sisters. But I’ve never really found one among my peers. Or at least not in the boys I meet my age—whom I find to be especially and frighteningly susceptible to almost all forms of manipulation (it’s why I have that thing for older men, I assume). I can tell you now, only unhealthy relationships come out of unequal matches. In reality, no one should “wear the pants” if it’s a good relationship.
I found equality more easily in friends—I’m not sure why but I think it’s because there’s no sex involved with friends. Because the minute you bring sex into the equation, all sorts of complicated power dynamics are both desired and needed. If there’s anywhere you need an equal—mentally, physically, emotionally, and …uh… experience wise—it’s in the bedroom (and wherever else you chose to do it). Or as close to an equal as you can get. But that’s only if you plan on enjoying yourself in a healthy way. I guess what you need is less an equal, more of a counterpart, a perfect match. Someone who goes your pace, can keep up. I don’t think the atmosphere we’ve created allows our young people to understand this part of sexuality. Often, we view sex as the possession of someone else. It’s pretty immature and highly unsatisfying for both parties. Sex—at its best—is getting the things you don’t get in your regular life through your sex life. Don’t we all like balance—a little bit of everything? Why do you think most of a person’s sexuality is developed in the subconscious? It’s all about the hidden desires we don’t let our conscious brains fulfill. Sure, it’s a power play, sure I like to get dominated sometimes, pushed around, but why is that a bad thing? Frankly, I’m so assertive in everyday life (it’s fucking exhausting), it feels absolutely amazing to be told what to do at times. And it’s especially reassuring if you trust the person dominating you. Actually, that’s integral.
Let me tell you, good sex is hard to come by if you’re an intelligent, competent, confident woman. Or even if you just pretend to be one, like I do. So when you do find it, it seems a little hard to believe. Too good to be true. I start to wonder if I’m the one being manipulated. Or if it’s wishful thinking. I must test it, have proof. If you’ve been deprived of truly great sex yet have always been very in tune with your sexuality like I have, it’s like breathing for the first time when you finally find it. It’s a gasp, a sharp inhale, a shock. It’s the ultimate aha moment—ohh! this is what it was supposed to feel like! Truly, having good sex for the first time is like god parting the clouds and letting His Holy Light shine upon you (that’s a lot coming from an atheist). Think I’m exaggerating? Well then you aren’t having good sex—go find an equal!
Some people–miraculously–just fit. Do you know what I mean? You can’t force it, there’s no definite reason as to why they fit, but they do. You feel it inside you. But anything that feels this good will make a girl suspicious–it’s frightening to enjoy something so much, something which depends on a second party to provide. Something you can’t rely on yourself to achieve (well, at least certainly not to that degree of satisfaction). I think the instinct to doubt or test this thing is a form of self-preservation. It’s ugly, it’s downright unattractive, it should be suppressed as much as possible, but it doesn’t come from a bad place. Or a desire to hurt people. It’s fear. If I make you run away, maybe I won’t have to deal with liking you anymore. I think we must be patient with one another at times like this, allow each other to ask those difficult questions of ourselves. It seems there must be a choice in it, in deciding on an answer to questions like; how willing are you to give yourself over to pleasure and happiness? Do you even deserve him?
All my life, people have either been treating me like a china doll or like a slumbering dragon you shouldn’t wake up (if you want to live)—or worse, they’ve made me do all the work. Why is everyone so afraid of their animalistic instincts—that wild thing living inside us all? Don’t you think we’d be all around healthier people (less violent and aggressive) if we let ourselves give in to that side of ourselves during sex? I’ve tried and tried and tried, and all the men I’ve been with till now have recoiled if I bite their shoulder or neck or chest–even a tiny little bite! Why is everyone so damn afraid? And ashamed? Why wouldn’t you indulge—be the wildling that’s always straining to be released from its cage? All my life, I’ve just been lying there in bed–unsatisfied, bored–thinking, “damn, isn’t someone just gonna pick me up and fuck my brains out?” When you finally find someone who will, proceed with caution. But the worst mistake of all is proceeding with too much caution.
In the words of the prophet Rihanna: