The Liberation

I am a feminist. As most good feminists, I do not hide it. I exclaim my feminism from the rooftops. People like my feminism. My feminism is easy to swallow. Let me break it down for you.

  1. It’s ok to have a dick, just don’t be one
  2. don’t comment on what I wear and I’ll try to be respectful of things that will make you uncomfortable.
  3. lets pay people who perform the same job the same pay regardless of gender.
  4. don’t put your dick, fingers, or any other things you may own (or don’t own) in someone without their consent.

Sounds easy right? 3 easy to swallow pills and I’ll even provide the water to wash them down with. But I’ve learned that my feminism is not loved by everyone and even if it is, it comes with bashing of other feminists. It usually sounds a little like this “I can handle your feminism. It’s the bra burning, topless, men hating feminists I don’t like. They take it too far.” Did they really take it too far or is that how far it had to get for you to notice? So today, my feminism is not one of the easy to swallow pills. Today, I am braless (a bra burning feminism) and damn… I feel good.

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I have a paper and an assignment due tomorrow but here I am. Screaming. Can you hear me? Can anyone hear me? I need someone to squeeze me so tight that my heartbeat is forced to meet theres. I felt a wave of needles wash over my body and the funny thing about pain is eventually you experience it on such a level that your body goes numb. Numbness is a funny thing. How do you explain numb? The absence of feeling? But what is feeling? A sensation? An emotion?

Whatever it is, I don’t like it. Feeling and the absence thereof makes me altogether whole and undesirable. No one wants the broken but how do you know the difference between broken and whole when you have always walked on the line? Never smart enough for advance classes and too smart for the regular ones. Never crazy enough for hospitalization yet never sane enough to survive by yourself. Never stable enough for a relationship but never at peace enough to stay celibate. Not desirable enough for a respectable relationship but desirable enough for a fuck without asking and leave.

One day, I hope the sun shines down on me. Better yet, make me the sun. Let my rays reach down and love the girls who find theirselves just like me. Self destructive behavior after self destructive behavior just to cope with the fact that you need to give up a different self destructive behavior. Girl, let my rays reach far down enough that you feel my burn. Please don’t hurt yourself. Please feel my warmth and know you are loved. Let my love burn into your skin so that there is no room for anything else. Let the sunburn of my love be all the branding your skin needs. Maybe that numbness will be enough for you.

Please

I wonder if you ever hear me. Do you sense my late night thoughts? I try to talk to the moon, but I sometimes I secretly hope the moonbeams will travel to you and you’ll hear my one-sided conversations. I hope you hear the tears that you cause me, the hurt, and the pain that sometimes infiltrates my soul. I hope you feel it just as intensely. I hope you understand your role in that. But I also hope you hear my joy and my laughter. I hope you understand that you have no role in that and that despite what you did, I can still find joy and laughter and strength. I hope you hear me telling my story, I hope you notice how each time I tell it, my voice quivers a little less. My body not shaking nearly as much.

Sometimes I think I’ll find some sort of strength from telling my story. A lot of the time it leaves me exhausted. Fighting to find some word or phrase to summarize how I feel is difficult. I’d like to use phrases like “come to terms,” “learned to cope,” or ” have gotten over.” But those are not the phrase that come. The only word that comes is “please.”

 

 

Clarity

Sometimes, I dream about breathing. One minute, my breath is so light I’m flying, running as if there is no resistance and as if I can actually run in the first place. The next, I’m lost. Breath does not come easily and I feel as if I’m continually falling towards something but I couldn’t tell you what that something is. Thats how I feel around you. Constantly striving to meet your standards an expectations and when I fall short, I just fall. Down, down, the rabbit hole to an unknown probably not-so-wonderland place. But you don’t care. In fact you would have probably pushed me there yourself if I hadn’t so willingly jumped down just to get away from you and your expectations and confrontations. I’m sorry I’m so introverted and can’t successfully have those conversations because sometimes my voice fails me. You may not hear it, but its piercing screams are berating me about my inability to speak in the first place. So I write. I write and I write and I write until all of the negative energy expels from my body and I am weak from the effort.

Do not take my writing for weakness. My writing is everything that my brain has been urging me to say since day 1. My writing is the only way to get you to hear me. So listen.

It was Only a Matter of Time

According the Law and Order: SVU once a person is sexually assaulted, the likelihood that they will be assaulted again goes up exceptionally. I am no exception. Sometimes I feel like a have a target on my back so I try to scream that I’m a rape survivor before someone sees the target because at least then, I’m in control of my story and not some tattoo written in invisible ink that is only visible to those with UV light laster eyes.

I didn’t scream it to you because I didn’t know that I had been branded. I really liked you. I thought you were the guy version of me. But I wasn’t the one who made advances. I said I wanted to take things slow, not have sex on the first date. I didn’t realize that I needed to be any more specific than that. We ate a nice dinner, conversation was great. We talked about school, politics, and life. You asked what I wanted to do later. You offered a walk or watching a movie at your house. I remember being cold and I thought that everything would be fine since we said that we wouldn’t have sex. I was wrong. We got to your place and you lead me to your room, cuddling was wonderful, we turned on some stupid movie on Netflix that I don’t remember, but then you leaned in to kiss me. I didn’t think anything of it, your kiss was sweet, but then it became more forceful. I pushed you off and told you I needed you to take it slow. You stoped so I thought you were respecting me. 5 minutes later you started again and again I told you to take things slow. You started digging your fingers into me and forcing your body on top of mine, your lips forcing themselves in the crook of my neck. My lips parted and as I was trying to say no, a moan left my lips and I suddenly felt betrayed by my own body. I could no longer speak and I immediately fell back into survival mode because pushing you off my body and telling you to slow down wasn’t enough. Unless it was Opposite Day, in which case my pushing felt like pulling and my slow downs sounded like speed ups, but if this was the case then me freezing up should have been me fighting you off. I let you do whatever you wanted so that I could get out safely but I kept saying “no sex” as a prayer that somehow you not putting your penis in my vagina would mean that this had not happened to me again. When you were done, I used your brush to brush my hair, you knew my friend was tracking my location and you asked if I would tell her that you “had been good.” I laughed and said I guess, said I was the one who hadn’t been good and you laughed thinking I meant that I had provoked the encounter, when actually I was blaming myself. I got in my car and drove the hour and a half back home. I cried the whole way. Again, my body has a way of knowing things before my brain figures it out.

I just don’t understand how I am expected to deal with both of my assaults. I can barely handle one without breaking down and now I am forced to deal with another. And I am also halfway convinced that I’m making everything up in my head, because it’s easier to blame myself than to come to terms with the fact that I was assaulted not once but twice. I can’t protect myself because it happened twice already. I feel defenseless. I thought writing this would make myself feel better, but it hasn’t.

 

Dear Gabby Douglas

Dear Gabby,

You are adored by the world, thousands of Americans watched the 2012 Olympic Games in awe of the 4 foot 11 girl who was achieving so much for our great nation. I too, was one of those spectators. I watched in awe of how well you moved and the strength in your body. I celebrated with my fellow Americans when you won gold and truly represented your country.

It can not be an easy feat being a young girl with millions watching. You are not given the opportunity to mess up and later grow from those experiences. Instead, you are scrutinized and put under a microscope that can detect even the tiniest of microbs that look suspicious. For this I am sorry. I will not pretend to know what this feels like from the perspective of a young woman in the spotlight. But I do have experience with being under the microscope of a different sorts.

I am a survivor of rape. Everywhere I turn these days, I see more and more women coming out with their own stories of sexual harassment and assault. I can hardly get on Twitter or Facebook without seeing a new case coming out or someone telling these survivors why it’s there fault that these tragities have happened to them. What you said is no exception.¬† Yet, I would like to challenge what you said with my own story, instead of bashing you for a mistake you made. When I was 19, I was at a beach house with friends when I was raped. You hear beach and you might thing that I was wearing a bathing suite and you would be wrong. It was cold that night. I wore a red give blood t-shirt and Nike compression capris. I got drunk hours before it happened, but by the time it did happen, I was no longer drunk. I said no hours before it happened, but could not find the words to say it again when it actually did happen. I’m not saying this for your empathy, I’m saying this because I hope that it might be of a learning experience.

While it is not my fault that I was raped, it is also not your fault that you said what you did. I blame many factors, but primarily I blame the society that we live in. We live in a society where it is easier to blame the victim than to believe them. Maybe in a sense it is to make us feel empowered, like there is something that we personally can do to keep us safe from becoming a victim ourselves. Sadly, this leaves the ones who do become victims with a magnitude of shame. It leaves thoughts like, “if I had just worn less provocative clothing,” or “if I had just screamed for help,” when really all that needed to happen was for the rapist to not rape.

I will not forget that you did publicly apologize, and while I will not say it was completely invalid. I will say that it is easier to say sorry out of pressure than it is to say sorry out of true remorse and understanding. While your apology will suffice some, I doubt it will suffice survivors. I cannot speak for all of them, but I am angry. I am angry that you’re raised in a society that has brainwashed you into thinking and believing these things. I hope that one day you will understand that a survivor is never at fault. I hope that you come to this conclusion through logic rather than through experience.

Gabby, you may never come across my little piece on a little blog on a little place in this world. But if you do, know that I will not blame you.

Dissociation

Dissociation is a relatively new thing to me. This happens when I know I’m about to go through something that I cannot handle. The last time I remember seriously dissociating was during a sexual assault training when I couldn’t handle listening because I knew I would start going through flashbacks.

Today I was going through my notes for my drama class to prepare for my midterm, as I was going through I smiled at the little doodles that I remembered doing and the funny notes that I took about something the professor said or something a fellow student said. As I progressed through my notes, I noticed my handwriting got more sloppy and one page made absolutely no sense and then I came across a page that I didn’t even remember writing. I don’t mean I didn’t remember as in I had forgotten. I mean I didn’t remember as in the memory was not there. It scared me. The only time I have dissociated is when I actively did it to protect myself. I’ve never had my unconscious do it for me. My friend mentioned that maybe I shouldn’t look at this as a negative thing and look at it as my body giving me the rest I need but will not willingly give myself, thus my unconscious taking over and removing this memory from my mind. While this makes total sense, my biggest fear is that this is apart of something bigger than myself. Since my biological father has borderline personality disorder, I am worried that this is something I could have. BPD has been shown to be genetic in some cases, one of the symptoms is dissociation, and most of the time it does not manifest until a person’s late teens or early twenties. I’m trying to focus on everything that I need to do for school and work, but now this is lingering in the back of my head. It’s like a huge shadow that won’t stop following me. Below is what I wrote when I dissociated.

 

How do we ask for help? Do we simply talk about transgressions until someone finally understands? Do we silently “deal” with it on our own? Do we scream at the top of our lungs until someone finally says, “its ok, I hear you?” The problem is I can’t ask for help. I am m biggest enemy, self sabotaging until I’m so far gone you can’t help but notice. My insides would come crashing in on myself, bones cracking and puncturing my lungs. But you won’t notice that. Its not like I’ve been able to breathe anyway. I’ve been drowning in the sea of perfection that I created, thinking I was a mermaid when I was only human. Not accepted¬† by the ways of the sea, and unable to keep up with the perfection of the land.