The Liminality Project grew out of my own story of being sexualized as a child. When I say sexualized, it does not necessarily mean sexually abused so much as seen as an object referred to in a sexual way.
For example, one of my many stories is of a bikini my mother bought me to wear to our community pool when I was 12. It had travel stickers and foreign stamps as the fabric motif. I thought it was adorable at first, and was already in love with the idea of world travel. When she purchased it she didn’t take note of the key positions of some of the stamps, like that Paris was located right over my pubic bone, or that Rome was over my left breast. It didn’t occur to her or to me when she brought it home that it would be a problem because I was 12, skinny and without a hint of breasts. It fit perfect and I was excited. Then I went to the pool with my friends.
The boys, both older and younger, were relentless saying things such as, “I want to go to Paris” or “I’d like to experience Rome” to me. I was so naive I had no idea what they were talking about until my best friend pointed it out to me–literally. I was horrified. The thing is my family couldn’t afford to replace the suit so I was stuck with that or the swim team suit that was supposed to be for practice or meets, and was the least cool suit ever worn, but it is what I would wear for the rest of the summer. I had never experience public shame sexually before and it was crushing.
There were other more private moments but no one else knew about those. This was so public and it was all the boys I knew even those I considered friends, forever changing the way I approached those friendships. My guard was up and it would never go back down–the trust was broken.
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