Sometimes during sex, even good sex,   

even non-triggering-at-first sex,

I disappear with eyes closed   

into a blue room.

I am safe under glass,    

vaguely aware of what’s happening   

but not there enough to feel it. 

A dissociative ocean of overwhelm,  

I slip away, torn asunder by the waves.

With no sight beyond my lids and body frozen stiff,

I am safe.

I let the person do what they will   

without making a sound or opening my eyes. 

When she notices, my lover shakes me and  

softly speaks and I say from far below

“I wasn’t here for a while.”

I melt back into a navy lined cocoon. 

A midnight sky’s cave. 

It is harder to come back than it is to arrive. 

I arrive slowly, unfurling like a ribbon   

slip, slide, sink. 

Coming back takes patience,   

takes awareness,  

takes breaths and body touches. 

I open my eyes and tears stream out like a faucet after a shower.  

Didn't even realize they had coalesced there. 

Then I see my lover worried and desperate. 

I get up and cry alone in the bathroom   

silently as I can,    

flashbacking to those years   

with boys who didn’t love me and didn’t notice me slipping away. 

It was not only their fault    

nor was it fully mine I am learning. 

To forgive myself is much harder than to forgive those  

who didn’t deserve me in the first place. 

I remember the bathroom and the sting after my first time. 

How nothing had changed and I needed something so badly to change in me. ‘

The girl in the mirror was a stranger that haunted me. 

I think I left her in that mirror. 

I think I’ll never be able to lift her out.

Going back to bed, I ask for my clothes and my lover hands them to me. 

I contort to fetal position in layers.

She asks to hold me and I say I need space. 

Sex is still so complicated.

Will always probably be complicated. 

How do you find pleasure in a body you did nothing but punish and ignore?

How do you stay present when floating away for safety   

was the only coping mechanism you had?

After more time, we talk honestly.

I feel better, lighter. 

And we had sex again and I did not float away. 

I stayed here the whole time. 

Victory can be tangled with fear.

Recovery is often tangled with unraveling. 


Author Bio:

Kate Carey (she/her) is a fat queer polyamorous slut who sometimes spends whole days in bed crying because feelings are hard.  Through deeply personal poetry and creative nonfiction, she touches on issues relating to trauma, fat liberation, mental illness and sexuality. You can find more about her at https://www.katemcarey.com/

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