TW for sexual abuse
At this point in my life, I was indeed very skinny, just like I’d been ever since I could remember. I’m 5’6” and at that time, I weighed between 103 and 105 pounds. There was not an ounce of extra meat on my bones and there never had been. I’m inclined to think this was kind of a combination of being starved during puberty, all that “healthy” food we ate, and then my body doing some kind of self-preservation thing where it tried as hard as it could not to develop secondary sexual characteristics, because I’d get noticed and shamed for them. I was 21 and had the body of a skinny 13-year-old, and I figured this was just the natural size I’d always been and always would be. I certainly wasn’t anorexic or anything like that, though people had been asking me concerned questions here and there throughout college. My mother always got very huffy when anyone suggested there was anything wrong with me. I was just a naturally thin child! There was NOTHING wrong with the way she was feeding me or parenting me.
This is how skinny I used to be: ouch.
Spoiler warning: Since I moved away, met the Beast and started eating normal food, I’ve gained 30 pounds and I feel so much better now! I have a butt, I have boobs (a little tummy, too – oh, well), and I don’t feel weak and tired all the time. I get a lot fewer colds and coughs, too. When I run into people I haven’t seen for a long time, they say “Wow, you look really healthy and happy.” To be honest, I feel like my body was in some kind of state of suspended animation for the past 10 or so years and now that I’m finally not stressed out and miserable all the time, I’ve finally physically finished developing. So it took me a decade to go through puberty. Well, fine. Don’t judge me. I had plenty of judgment from Grîma Wormtongue, believe me.
I was almost thin enough for Grîma Wormtongue. Thirty years of jerking off to Victoria’s Secret models had left him with an exacting taste in bodies. “You’re not the most beautiful girl in the world,” he told me shortly after we started dating. “I’m not gonna lie and tell you you are.” I was passable, but there were things wrong with me: my bust wasn’t large enough, my thighs were a little too thick, and in the face department, my eyes were “weird”: a little off-kilter, slanting down at the corners rather than up like a kitten’s, like they should. The thinnest things about me were my waist and my arms. “Those are quite nice. I can’t really decide about your butt, though.”
Grîma Wormtongue seemed nice at first. He did little things like drop by my office and leave a copy of a book I needed, or pick up tubes of watercolor for me. He had a spontaneous, mischievous side, too: like the time he only pretended to go to Georgia and instead, showed up at a costume party matching me. He taught the Monday night Bible study at the Brethren church, and I had glowing reports of his character from everybody there. He had the tree business, of course, and the doctorate in theology that assured me he wasn’t all brawn, no brains; my friends and I had all been out to his place, a gentleman’s farm that he said “relaxed” him, for a blunderbuss-shooting party, and his house was nice. He’d been off on mission trips for years, and now he wanted to get married and settle down. That’s what everybody said. He just hadn’t found the right one yet.
I was the only one who got to see Grîma Wormtongue’s dark side. And I saw a lot of it.
Grîma Wormtongue, the upstanding church pillar, had a secret: he was obsessed with lingerie. The tighter, the sexier in his opinion. (And obsessed with thinness, of course.) He wasn’t “into porn” – I think I’d asked him this fairly early on – but it developed that he just looked at underwear models online, and of course masturbated, instead. That was his porn. He was preoccupied with his own underwear, too, in a weird way: constantly buying new packages of it and talking about it and (once the bad stuff started) sending me pictures of himself in it. He seemed to think this would turn me on and couldn’t comprehend that it just annoyed me. The more he did it, he thought, the greater the chance I’d get turned on. All it did was weird me out and make me upset.
At the beginning, when I thought I was divinely appointed to reform him (this is always a bad plan), my interaction with Grîma Wormtongue’s dark side mainly involved trying to break him of his Victoria’s Secret habit. (I was a good angel in this man’s life, encouraging him to be chaste, because at this time in my life I was a horrible little prig.) I got my comeuppance. He quit jerking off to Victoria’s Secret, but he started jerking off to me.
It started with dirty remarks. He couldn’t seem to stop making them, and he’d promise to quit and then a day or two later be right back at it. Then the pictures, which I yelled at him to quit sending but which he sent anyway. Then he started pestering me to send him pictures in return. Nonstop. I wouldn’t. “You’re such a prude.” Then he started badgering me ceaselessly for phone sex. Late at night. Early in the morning. All the time. I wouldn’t.
I still remember the day when that happened first: how utterly weirded out I was. I didn’t even really know there was such a thing. It was a Sunday afternoon and I was studying in the apartment, and he started sending me all these awful texts saying he was thinking about specific bits of my physique and he had to jerk off. I was still trying to be the Reforming Angel and I said he most certainly did not have to jerk off and he could just go do something else and get his mind off it. He stopped texting me then, and a moment or two later the phone rang. I picked it up and he said in a breathy, gravelly voice, “Do it with me.”
I said, “What?”
“Masturbate with me. On the phone. In your underwear. That would be so sexy.”
I said, astonished, “That’s the weirdest thing I have ever heard. No.”
“Come on. Do it. It will be awesome.” He pronounced “awesome” “awlsome,” because he had a Georgia drawl, and I still don’t enjoy talking to people with Georgia drawls.
“Do it. You have to do it.”
This went on all afternoon. I didn’t do it, but I didn’t get any homework done, either.
I’ve blocked a lot of those conversations from my memory because they were too nasty. That was the first of many, many, many, many more. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. Ever. I was going to masturbate on the phone with him if it killed him. I thought the whole thing was weird and twisted and dirty and I wasn’t going to do it. Eventually he’d just do it by himself, on the other end of the line, and tell me if I wasn’t going to join in I could at least listen. (I’d rather not remember what I heard.) But the next day he would be right back at it. Do it. He’d order me. I wouldn’t.
The pictures continued this whole time: cell-phone shots of bulging briefs that I did not want to see at all. I deleted them as soon as they came in. “Stop,” I said over and over again. “No. Please quit.” He wouldn’t. “You know it turns you on,” he said. “It doesn’t,” I said, usually half-crying by this point. “Please. Quit.” “Well, what turns you on?” “Eyelashes,” I said truthfully. “You’re ridiculous,” he said. He kept sending me pictures of erections. And badgering me for bra shots and panty shots. “You have to send me something. I’m sending you all this good stuff.” “But I don’t want you to send me stuff.” “You know it turns you on. So send me something. I want to see you in a bra.” I wouldn’t.
He said a lot of stuff I really don’t want to remember. Like “I want you to be my sex slave.” Not joking, either. If I’d married him, that’s what I’d have been. Tied to a chair all day by my underwear, probably. I know he talked about that.
If I were asked to go by my memory, I’d tell you this went on for years. If I look at the calendar, I realize it was two or three months. It seemed like forever. There was the added stress, of course, of acting like everything was perfect in the relationship around friends and family: all the people who thought Grîma Wormtongue was so nice were happy he’d found such a nice girl. I’d met his parents, and his sister’s family: lovely folks, very conservative. By Thanksgiving I was starting to get worn out, or worn down, or something. I still wouldn’t give in on the pictures or phone sex, but I quit fighting the sex talk and just played along. Sometimes, feeling guilty, I found myself enjoying it. A couple of times when he was alone with me, he reached under my shirt and snapped my bra straps, and I let him. I even went out (again, feeling guilty) and bought an almost impossibly tight purple bra with thin straps, the kind he liked, and sometimes wore shirts that allowed him to glimpse it. The main thing I remember is just being really, really tired.
To be continued.