I wish it was not so terrifying to be a woman. I wish that I could walk anywhere, at any time. I wish I could go for runs on crisp nights through glorious forests, instead of looking outside from my window like a caged animal.
I wish taking a women’s gender and sexuality studies class did not weigh so heavily on my soul, but it does simply because it is the most real class I have ever taken in my life. It makes all of the falsehoods melt away and leaves me raw, angry.
I wish I could go on a date with out the fear in the back of my mind that he will rape me. I wish I felt safe.
Most men do not know what it is like to never truly feel safe.
I wish I could go to a party, drink and be merry with out fearing for my safety and living in paranoia. I wish that if I ever did slip up one night, let my guard down and a preadator took advantage, that I would not have to then be metaphorically raped in court when I am questioned and it is insinuated that I, the victim, am the cause of my own rape. That I should not be so skanky, should have known better, should have not tried to live a normal life but I should instead be in my tower, locked away and virginal, attending my studies and waiting for my one true love, my prince. That, essentially, I should be dead inside.
That I should sell my soul simply because this culture teaches women to protect themself from potential rape rather than teaching men simply not to rape and what rape really is. That they skirt the subject. That they do not say or enforce the rule “just do not have sex with a woman with alcohol in her system”. That would make it all so simple. They do not say that it is the perpatrators fault if he rapes someone. The victim is completely, one hundred percent free of blame and entitled to all anger she or he feels. That if I walked naked, alone through a dark alley in high heels and he raped me, it is his fault. He should have never laid a hand on me. I am completely free of blame because no one ever asks to be raped.
I lost myself in you, and not in a good way. I’m a free spirit and you tried to trap me in your neurotic box.
Who is that? Who are you texting? What did they say? Where were you? What’s taking so long?
Asked so frequently, I trapped myself in a box in order to keep you. There, though, I started striking out as wild animals often do. At first, well fed and safe from other male predators, I frolicked in my pen and gobbled up the attention. Soon I grew bored and restless. I lashed out under the immense pressure of having to constantly worry about my behavior.
You left. I cried. I stopped. I got off my bed to do something and the next minute I was laying on my floor crying so hard I couldn’t stop until I gave in and texted someone I had needed to keep at arms length for awhile. They were the only person that could calm me down. Don’t let this experience make you cold and hard like you always try to do. Don’t let it affect your future negatively.
I am free. I can hug my guy friends and kiss them on the cheek. I can tweet before replying to a text. I can flirt and blush and walk past them, smiling because I know they’re watching me walk by. I can say what I want when I want to who I want. What more could I ask for.
Like I said, pain is a cycle. We hurt others because someone hurt us and so on and so on.
Looking for Alaska is a powerful book by John Green with the most interesting concept being that life is a labyrinth of suffering and the only way out is forgiveness.
He was gone, and I did not have time to tell him what I had just now realized: that I forgave him, and that she forgave us, and that we had to forgive to survive in the labyrinth. There were so many of us who would have to live with things done and things left undone that day. Things that did not go right, things that seemed okay at the time because we could not see the future. If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can’t know better until knowing better is useless.
We wander through this labyrinth of suffering, running into dead ends, so lost and the only way to emerge from the maze is to forgive and stop passing on our pain. We must forgive those who hurt us and let go of the pain that we become lost in.
They will call you ugly. They will taunt you, hurt you, pull you until you snap. You will fall and then the weight of their words will crush you. They’ll say you’re fat. Why don’t you work out? You eat too much. You eat too little. Are you anorexic? We might be poor. What are you wearing? That doesn’t match. Where is that from? And you will shake from the tops of the frizzies on your imperfect hair down to your chipped toenails shoved into your Payless sandals until you shatter. I will try, oh I will. I will try to hold you, pick up the discarded pieces and put my babies back together. It won’t work. Pieces of you will be torn off by the social gauntlet. You will be judged from the moment you are born until the second your name is lost in the oblivion of time. They will judge you on everything from the obvious, like what you look like, to the seemingly innocent, like the off-brand yogurt you bring in your lunch every day.
I will unconditionally love you and yet that is not enough. The love I never knew I could feel before I met you, the kind that transcends human understanding. You all know the type. Yet, I can not save your soul.
I hope, though, that I can teach you to save yourself. Teach you what my mother taught me and one of my best friends reinforced, which is that pain comes in waves. The first stone falls and the first wave rises, crashing over your head. The waves will keep coming, but smaller each time until the pain is but the tide lapping at your heart. You will rush around, trying to find all the pieces of yourself before the next round hits while I look on at you frantically trying to put yourself back together. Pieces of me will die too.
I want you to know it’s okay.
You will learn the best way to battle the waves. Everyone has a different method and you will find yours. Learn to emerge from the water whole and then you must, please learn to forgive. Hardening your heart only hurts yourself and blinds you. Forgive those who hurt you. Forgive their mistakes and recognize that pain is a cycle. Those kids are hurting, confused, overwhelmed and in pain they may never comprehend. They carry it in their small hearts and they must pour it onto you in order to save themselves from completely drowning. You may choose to continue the cycle by absorbing their pain until you must in turn pour it onto the next victim of the cycle or drown. Or, you can choose to drain your sorrow and rid the world of a little more pain.
We are all destined to be vessels of goodness. Make as much room in your heart, soul and mind as you can for the good things in life. Break the cycle. Don’t let life drown you.