I recognize the inflammatory nature of the title of this post. But forgive me if I’m feeling a little inflammatory. And forgive the incoherent ramblings I’m about to put forth.
I’m sitting in my living room on my very nice couch in sopping wet jeans and socks because I fear if I don’t get my thoughts out on this topic before I forget they will somehow diminish over time.
I was the victim of the widespread misogyny (or Men’s Rights or whatever you want to call it) that we’ve all been so intently focused on the last few days. It happened to me twice on my 30 minute commute home, but it could have well happened last week or next month or next year.
None of this started with Elliot Rodgers and I’m certain it won’t end with him.
Twice today I walked home and felt as though my own personal safety and boundaries were violated by men who thought nothing of it. Twice today I thought to myself, “I want to say ‘WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM???’ but what if he’s finally the one who takes out a gun and shoots me? Or stabs me? Or drags me into an alley, soaking wet and terrified and rapes me?”
The problem is not only that there are men who think that this is ok (and yes, I think all men DO have the capacity for that but I could be really shaken up right now) but it is also that I SHOULDN’T EVEN HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT DEFENDING MYSELF.
I tweeted about what happened (the first incident) and the first response I received was “should have punched him.”
But you see, the issue is, we can’t. Women don’t think that way. We fear for our lives too much to defend ourselves against things like this.
The frustrating thing is, it’s a vicious cycle. The more men who ride by me on a bike and make kissing noises and lewd gestures the more I put on a stone cold bitch face and look past them and then the more men think it’s acceptable to DEMAND that I smile.
I don’t know how this gets fixed. I do know it’s something that women have been dealing with and dealing with silently for years. I wish I believed that a few good feminist men could change this. I wish that I believed that in my adulthood I might see an end to this. Maybe I will. I wish I knew that we wouldn’t have to be scared just to be women. But I don’t.
So, I’m sitting here on the second to last day of my job, really without much to do (because I don’t actually have clients anymore). I’m reading this blog post and listening to this:
(Which BTW is some of the most oddly inspiring music. Seriously, it makes you feel like you’re in a vignette scene from a superhero movie)
And I get to the part where the author says, “80% of finding someone comes down to being your most attractive self, which – like so much in life – just means putting your time in the right places. If you’re exercising, socialising, well nourished and growing in your career, you will radiate attraction automatically.”
Now, if you’ve been paying attention long enough, you’ll know that I’ve had a rocky as fuck 3-4 years. I have found love, lost love, had brain surgery, been beaten down at work more times than I care to remember, questioned everything I am, made really shitty choices, almost had to be put in the mental hospital…the list is lengthy and sad.
But I digress.
I’m reading this article on my last few days at a job that I have LOVED. I’m leaving the first job I’ve ever been sad to leave. I am leaving an incredibly wonderful team with an amazing and inspiring boss. A boss who honestly cared about my success in life. One who has done nothing but support my professional growth. I am sad.
But, I am leaving to go to a job with (nearly) unlimited possibilities. With more money. A job that finally is equal to my skills, experience and age (because with age comes wisdom).
Sure, I’m not quite at the weight I want to be right now. But I am stronger (physically) than I ever have been. I participate in one of the most challenging forms of exercise on the planet. I go in (almost) every day and put on a suit of armor (or lululemon pants) and walk with my shoulders pinned back and know that I’m going to feel like I’m dying, but I’m not. I know that I have a group of 10 people cheering me on if I need it.
Yes, I’m still single but I’ve stopped looking for validation in the wrong places. I’m learning what I deserve and learning to not even bother (forget settling) for anything less.
This past year has taught me that I can be tossed into a pit of fire and I KNOW that I can and will come out the other side. This past year has taught me that I deserve someone standing DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF MY FACE telling me that they love me. That I deserve to have people around me who will show up, that they care about my life as much as I do.
Some things I’ve left behind have deserved to stay where I stomped them down. Other places I’m leaving and I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do without them. But in the end, I feel like I am in some crazy superhero movie.
Right when they realize just what their powers can do.
I always like re-examining posts from months gone by that I’ve written but never published. This is one of them. It still holds true, but now I’m not nearly as wistful. I have a feeling of triumph from the loss. The loss now propels me forward.
What means so much now can so quickly vanish. Because nothing is set. Nothing is secure.
In a few months, maybe even weeks you’ll be gone and I’ll hardly notice – gone with the others who have faded before you.
Nothing dramatic, for drama implies meaning.
Just slowly changed from sepia to black and white to nothing.
The fear of course is always having members of the lost, no one of the permanent.