There was a man with a raspy voice who would harass me until I allowed him to call me so I could masturbate for him.
Sometimes, the heavy, quivering ache in the pit of your stomach is enough to know. Lying had become a part of me I just could not shake. At school, I had a reputation as a precocious, grade-grubbing, hand-in-the-air-squirming-in-my-seat-going-oooh-oooh-oooh-pick-me nerd. After hitting puberty, my mother and I fought every single day, multiple times a day.I lied to my mother when she found out about just one of dozens of men I was having cyber and phone sex with. I didn’t get bullied, to my retrospective surprise, but I did win class Teacher’s Pet in high school unironically. Screaming, crying and name-calling had become a part of the daily grind. I was growing into my body too quickly for my mother’s liking, and it became her mission to shame me into containment.Thirteen is a hard age -- or at least it was for me. In her paranoid world, I was trying to seduce everyone. It’s confusing to be treated like a harlot when boys don’t even look at you. For about a year, she was away almost every night and weekend on with men she’d met from the personal ads, and her absence opened the floodgates. Every chance I got, I headed to the “Alone at Home” AOL chatrooms to pick up dudes.I’d grown up enough to become acutely aware of my own outsiderness. It was stupidly easy: Post “16/f/ma” and within seconds you would be rolling in attention.You start hearing things when you want so much to belong somewhere.
During the day, I may have been no one, but online, I was a goddess. I told them I was anything they wanted me to be, really. I thought that I’d baited these men and that had they known I was 13 they wouldn’t have let things go as far as they did.There were dozens of men that pleaded for me to give out my address so that they could send me jewelry and other gifts. There were a few who told me they loved me, and they were my downfall. I convinced myself the sweet nothings whispered to coax me into one more go-around were genuine and that “Baby, you’re so fucking hot” was the same as “Baby, you’re so worthwhile.”I know better now.I know that I was a little girl starved for affection, a little girl who would dance any dance for love, for validation.“You are okay, you are beautiful,” I thought they told me over and over.I would lock myself in the downstairs bathroom, turn on the dryer to drown out the noise and fake it as quietly as possible.There was a guy who once argued with me for 20 minutes about his penis size, which he claimed to be 15 inches. I wanted love so badly that, and as cliché as it sounds, I got it confused with sex.They come from the US, Europe, Australia, Canada and Korea.