I was sixteen at the time, and blind to the possibility of there being something off about any attraction I felt. Sure, I enjoyed loli and shota a bit too much, and sure, when in the midst of an intimate thought, normally the idea of a kid came up. However, I didn’t pay mind to it. Looking back, I wonder how I didn’t know years prior.
I’d just moved in with my father, just regained freedom with the internet. Usually, I had tumblr to look at memes or share art. But a person I was following came out with a post, or reposted it, I didn’t know which. Something along the lines of, “Warning, don’t follow anyone with ‘MAP’ in their name.” Me being who I am, someone who hungered for useless knowledge, I had to know what exactly a ‘MAP’ was before reading the rest of the post.
I’d met people, allies and MAPS alike, who expressed hatred or disgust for the community when first finding it. I was an exception; I was fascinated. Something clicked. So once I had an explanation, I began questioning. I spent a long time looking over these accounts, their ideas, how closely their feelings hit to mine.
Perhaps it wasn’t that surprising to find out that I was this way. I’d been through my own bit of abuse as a kid, and maybe I never moved on from correlating that youth with sexual experience. Or maybe it was something in my brain, and the wires in my head had been crossed in all the wrong ways. It was relieving, actually, to know this about myself. And even more relieving to know people like me existed, and existed in a way that they didn’t hate themselves for. Indeed, relief.
At first, anyway.
I joined the community officially after questioning myself. This blasphemy circulated around pretty quick. Followers climbed, as did death threats, as did the oncoming of pointless arguments - always the same ones, the same questions, with no end. Some were quick with their “kill yourself” mantra. Others appeared to try to sympathize with their, “Get help.” And that’s the thing, I can’t. Personally, I’ve struggled with the idea of being a bad person for a long time. I didn’t want this sort of thing embedded in my very heart itself. So if I could get help, I would, in a heartbeat.
Any attraction, like any part of psychology, is either biological or environmental. If you’re born gay, you can’t make yourself love a woman. If you had a positive experience with another man romantically, you’re gonna think, “hey, that was good.” Either biologically or my abuse as a kid, this was a permanent part of me now. As I’d learn later. For the moment, I struggled with the idea of this making me a bad person, but I didn’t hate myself for it, either. Having others with me be a positive influence, encouraging me that this didn’t make me bad. That’s what kept me from the self hate that was to come.
I would never in my life hurt a kid. I’ve been through that, I have friends that have been through that. Nothing disturbs me more than the anger and confusion that comes from a child in that position. I know what it can do to a person. I’ve heard the argument, “You’d do it if it were legal.” No, no I wouldn’t. I know what it’s like to be helpless and in that position. It was only in my thoughts, and I kept it that way.
I revealed my face. Stupid, I know, but I got to the point where my friends made me fearless. This very quickly blew up and made its way onto facebook, where a friend sent this to my mother. I was visiting her at the time; I can remember that day vividly. Sitting on my bed, shaking, wondering what would happen to my when they found out. I went into a state of paranoid, wondering if now someone would find and kill me because I simply showed my face. My dreams that night felt like panic attacks. I’d wake up in the midst of crying. When my mom confronted me, I huddled in the bathroom beforehand. I said my goodbyes to friends, because who knows what was going to happen after this? It was a revelation in which there was no redemption, no coming back from. I had friends in the community begging me to live. Begging me to explain this to my parents. I knew them; they wouldn’t get it. I’d just be another sick pervert, another crime statistic in the waiting, less than a human living under their room for a whole ‘nother two years. Was life as less than a human, drowning in stigma, a life at all?
In the bathroom, I cut my arms and accidentally left blood in the toilet, which wasn’t surprising considering my head was swimming. My mother found it when I went back to my room (the plan was to cut, place my phone with a suicide note on my bed, then go chug the bleach in the bathroom closet) and that was the first time I was hospitalized. I spent a month or so afterwards terrified that someone would recognize me and constantly paranoid. Nothing much was said about what happened at this time, from my parents anyway, so this was a period of time where I didn’t hate myself for it yet, but I did feel like a freak. I had no one else like me to talk to. All throughout, I did have little episodes of intense self-hate about this, but normally I’d swing back to that “I don’t care” attitude towards it. During this time, the duration of these episodes lasted longer, and the loneliness was painful.
Months later, there was another attempt (over unrelated circumstances), which is where my self hate really started to grow. I went to a residential psychiatric hospital for four months. The relationship between me and my father had fallen over disagreements over an unrelated mental issue, so, without thinking about it, I asked my mom to take me back. Her response was that I only wanted to come back to her so I could molest my brothers.
That’s when I went from part-time self hatred to full time. After a… well, intimate thought, my entire body would fill with self loathing. I’d be tempted to hurt myself again (although I’d been clean) and I’d hear her words repeat to me. I’m currently out of the hospital now. My little cousin can’t come over anymore (although no one directly stated that my infliction is why, it’s pretty obvious.) I blamed myself; they were afraid of me. Afraid of what they thought I would do.I’m still struggling with this, but I’m starting to come back to terms that I’m not as dangerous as everyone says I am. The thoughts in my head will never make it to my hands. All I can do is better myself now, and hope that this social stigma will not hurt others in the future as it has me.
I never made a conscious decision to be feared, so how can I change it?
I am, and I’m starting to feel better.