Consent is something that has gotten a lot of media attention lately and I wanted to talk a little bit about it. Not just sexual consent, although that is very important. but just consent in life.

It took me over 30 years to learn the true meaning of consent. I always attributed the word consent with sex, as most people do, but in reality consent can apply to almost anything.

To me consent can be something as small as going to the store or to dinner. Why? Because for a very long time I had no control over my life. I did was I was told to do without questioning.

I think when you grow up in a state of constant abuse you lose your ability to know what’s consenting and what’s not. It’s a part of losing yourself, for me it is anyway.

I have had people around me telling me what to do since I was a baby, everyone seems to think they know what’s best for me without me ever saying a word. Maybe it’s because I was born with a vagina or maybe it’s because I have multiple disabilities. I really don’t know.

I was never asked what I wanted or what I needed. I got comfortable with that I guess. But ultimately it left me with a sense of not knowing who I am or what I want or even what I consent to.

I never said, “No, I don’t want to eat that,” or “No, I don’t want to do that,” or even “No, I don’t want to wear that,” because I felt like no one was going to listen to me anyway. So why try? Even as an adult I have been walked over, trampled on and treated as if I am unimportant and insignificant.

My parents wouldn’t even let me cut my hair the way I wanted to when I was a teenager. I wanted layers, nothing crazy.

As I’ve gotten free of the people who were abusing me, I’ve stayed in the role of letting everyone make decisions for me. It saddens me that I’ve grown so accustom to it that this is my normal, but I’m trying to break it now.

I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to surround myself with people who understand why I can not make decisions sometimes and who encourage me to make my own decisions, but accept me even when I cannot.

I see all these people fighting over what age children should be able to consent over their own lives and I want to scream let them make their own decisions because I desperately don’t want any of those kids to end up like me. I mean obviously if a child isn’t potty trained they need to wear diapers even if they don’t want to, but a five year old who says the texture of a vegetable makes them hurt or gag shouldn’t be forced to eat it. A twelve year old shouldn’t be told to shut up for speaking their mind. Kids are not stupid. We need to listen to what they’re saying and figure out why they’re saying what they’re saying, not just tell them to shut up because we don’t want to hear it. Otherwise we’re going to end up with a bunch of adults like me. Too damn scared to say what they really want and having no consent in their own lives.

I was thirty-two years old before I learned how to consent to life. I’d had multiple sex partners (none of which I ever really consented to, I mostly just did it because I knew it was expected of me), been married and divorced and lived in three different states before I learned how to consent to LIFE. A lot of people are not going to understand this and that’s okay. But if you’re just going through the motions of life and not really wanting to do anything that you’re doing, you’re not consenting to life.

Submitted by: Learning to consent

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