I loved to suck my thumb.
I’d hold my yellowing, super-soft Pillow and just keep my thumb in my mouth for hours.
At some point, my parents worked with me only to do it at night. Big kids don’t suck their thumb. But I’d still sneak a few Pillow sniffs and thumb sucks during the day.
I kept doing it. 8. 9. 12. 15.
And then Drew took over my life. Drew was my High School teacher who manipulated me into a lie-covered sexual relationship – he insists I manipulated him, which I just don’t agree with.
We’d sit in his Riverside Drive Studio, a secret buried in intricate lies, and he’d give me psychotherapy. The thumb sucking was about what my mom hadn’t given me as a baby. Her inability to breast feed. Her Oedipal desires channeled into coddling and emotionally crippling me.
Hatred and disgust with my mom weened me off thumb sucking.
But I wasn’t ready.
To this day when I get anxious, I chew on my thumb’s knuckle. And then I remember how this is sublimating my desire to suck my thumb and I move to the other knuckles. My left knuckles have bumps and callouses. Hardness I check and observe regularly to remind me of my weakness, obsessiveness, anxiety. Some people cut – I chew.
There it went. The tip of my thumb in between my teeth. Bite. Chew.
I can’t let myself have the softness, the pure comfort. Because it’s so impure.
My thumb is corrupt. It deserve biting teeth. Callousness.
If I’m really honest, I put my whole thumb in my mouth before I started writing this.
It felt glorious. And pointless. My heart raced as I checked to make sure no one was watching. I don’t remember my nail being so hard as a kid.
But it’s just you, Torturer. Does my thumb in my mouth arouse you? And does that arousal disgust you? And is your disgust your life’s work of hating the comfort that was taken from you by your Torturers.
At first, I was so grateful to Drew for helping me break the habit. That was before I understood that breaking is not transforming; it’s forcing. For some time, we can force anything. But eventually that which was forced snaps back.
Is it the innocence of guilt-free thumbsucking I want back?
Is it finally letting my web of secrets and lies untangle?
Is it just comfort? Comforting myself. Loving myself as I know how, even if the powers that be disapprove?
“A normal person would just write this in their journal and tell their therapist. A normal person doesn’t publish this kind of crap. This is why you’re unemployed. Now you’re even more unhirable. Oh, and no one’s gonna read this except the people who want to destroy you, and it’s not like they going to learn anything anyway.”
That’s the voice that keeps me biting my thumb and hiding my calloused knuckles in my pants pocket when you glance at me.
“Ha! You think anyone cares about your faggy, liberal, self-exploration? You’re weak and foolish and unimportant!”
I wish I could hide those voices from you. I wish I could just leave it at thumbsucking and masturbation. (Masturbation is my distraction from the self-thwarted quest for thumb comfort).
But those voices are my teeth.
Maybe this is all me lying on Drew’s couch, awaiting your therapy of abuse. Your harshness and criticism may very well break me.
But my silence and hiding already have me in pieces. My weakness is my pretending I’m what you want me to be.
Maybe I am, maybe I’m not.
This is my thumb. Want a suck?