Tag Archives: fear

I have something to say.

11 Feb

I’ve tried to start this post so many times over the past several months, and failed to say what I needed to. Probably because I’m not sure what I need to say, even still. It is long (2000+ words), and quotes other people’s writing extensively. If that’s not your cuppa, I bid thee farewell for this post. [*note – ableist language used as example of mother’s verbal abuse*]

I’ve been raised to believe that I’m the problem in my mother’s and my relationship. That my possessions are the majority of the clutter. That my laundry is the majority of the laundry in the house. That I eat so often, I cause most of the dirty dishes in the house. I’ve never contributed enough to my mother’s household – either in cleaning, or by monetary means. I’m ungrateful and have an entitlement complex. My passive-aggressivity is not a learned behavior, but rather is my fault and I need to fix it or else. I mismanage finances to upset my mother’s financial success, instead of using money in a responsible manner. My depression and social anxiety can be fixed and/or cured by interacting more with my mother. My difficulty functioning in a room with mismatched dresser knobs or sloppy paint jobs are just examples of me being difficult and procrastinating. See also: my phone anxiety. I need to drop everything (including, quite possibly, other people’s needs whose schedules depend on mine) to help my mother do things. I’m a lazy piece of shit and I just need to get over my issues so I can be more useful for her. My religious views need to be put out of sight to avoid offending people.

My mother is emotionally abusive.

It took me until late 2008 to acknowledge anything my mother had done to me as abusive – one series of conversations, over a number of weeks. Until she moved away in June, I remained convinced that only the conversations we had had over the past 6-7 months qualified as abusive.

I didn’t – it didn’t occur to me that I ought to – take into account the years and years of conversation before that, where she insisted that I was useless, worthless, a drain on her resources, stupid, and so forth. I didn’t take into account the control over my actions, the words I used (negativity was not welcome, coming from me), my hairstyle (especially from about 11-16, I was forced to change my hairdo to suit my mother’s requirements), the silence I maintained over my political views, the coercing behaviour which taught me my body was, by default, vile. I didn’t think about the therapy I didn’t want at 13-14 but was taken to anyway; I didn’t think about her insistence I join a religion I had no need for or interest in (and understand this – I did become a member of this religion for 2 years, though I believe this was partially an escape from home life and to allow myself to build a social network on my own terms). I didn’t realize she was just as bad before – I didn’t know I was the one who had changed.

In August 2008, 4 months before the conversations mentioned above, I began reading feminist blogs. Slowly, at first – Shakesville and Shapely Prose, then, as I discovered the concept of RSS feeds, more blogs were added. I started identifying myself on my own terms. I started thinking in words like “autonomy,” “agency,” “auto-identification,” “acceptance.” I realized that I was attracted to more people than labels like “straight” allowed. This…this…revolution (!) was going on in my brain, and my mother was able to destroy more of my identity than she could before, because I was, for once, forming an identity outside the one she set for me.

A 2006 blog post by belledame222 entitled “Objectification, Continued Further” (ableist language at link) I recently read (hat tip to amandaw on Tumblr) put it thusly:

According to [Patricia] Evans [, author of Controlling People], most abuse happens when a person who’s very disconnected is suddenly confronted with the a glimpse of the reality of the other person as a separate individual, as opposed to the “pretend person” the controller has made up inside his/her head (and thus, an extension of him/herself).

By taking myself away from this “pretend person” my mother saw me as, I became vulnerable to her abuse. This is not to say that I am responsible for my mother’s behaviour towards me – absolutely not! – but it does contextualize why I became more aware of the problematic nature of her actions.

So, when people are manipulative around me – not even directed at me, necessarily – but when people use others to get what they want, while I am in the general vicinity, I react badly. I give the manipulator what ou wants, in the (usually vain) hope that this means ou can stop objectifying people and respect them and their identities. I go back to the silencing of my self, to the person who did what she was told so that she could try to get her mother to stop controlling her for long enough to maintain her own identity. For example, I took my antidepressant for six weeks, even though it exacerbated my anxiety attacks, because if I didn’t “just give it a chance to work,” my mother would blame me (more) for my depression.

In a post about abuse in online spaces, amandaw writes:

[I]t’s not just that you have flash-backs to previous events; it’s the way you return to the state of mind you were in during the previous abuse, the way your patterns of thought go back to how they were then, the way you react to things restored to its previous setting. You might find yourself becoming highly self-critical, questioning your own experience of things, doubting your knowledge of yourself and what happened. You might find the same problems with self-loathing come rushing back. You might be wondering whether you really deserve it. You might start to see yourself as a burden again, highly aware of all the ways you drag other people down.

You can’t just ignore it away. You can’t just Think Positive your way out of it. You can’t just tell yourself that all these thoughts are untrue; no matter how well you understand something intellectually, there is something about the human psyche that still follows those same self-destructive emotional patterns when exposed to the same kind of situation that originally set them in place.

The thing about my mother blaming me for having depression – the really big, damaging thing – I believe her. No matter how much science I read, or how often I read the Wikipedia page on the causes of depression, or how often I am told by people I trust that it is not my fault, I believe what she says about me. I believe that I am a worthless piece of shit, because she says I am. I believe that it is my fault I am depressed, because she says it is. I believe I am the source of the relationship problems between my mother and myself. I believe I am horribly overburdening my mother’s finances by asking for money for things like food and medicinal prescriptions, because of the way she behaves when I ask.

And I know – intellectually, on a relatively deep level – how incredibly messed up that shit is, but that doesn’t matter to the way my brain understands things and how my brain has been trained by my abuser to understand things.

Another quote from amandaw, this time from a Tumblr post on “That learned inability to protect oneself

But a person who just keeps extending hirself… over and over… getting hurt over and over, and never acting in self-protection … there is something, someone (maybe multiple someones) who destroyed this person’s boundaries, taught hir that acting in protection of oneself is completely beyond the pale (by punishing the person whenever sie does try to act in self-protection, and then telling sie brought that punishment on hirself by acting in self-protection). Someone did this to hir. And it took work, it took time, to create a situation where the person honestly feels that self-protection is never an option.

I mentioned the control my mother had over my hairstyle earlier in the post. I remember fighting her on this once, when I was 14 or 15. I told her that I wore my hair in the style I chose because otherwise, it looked like crap. I was immediately informed that I was not allowed to use such awful language, and that wearing my hair in that tacky style again would lose me various and sundry privileges.

One other time I recall defending myself. I told her [something she did/said, can’t remember what] made me upset. This infuriated her. I was given a long lecture about how she couldn’t “make me” feel anything – my emotions were not her fault. This conversation never sat right with me, and I can’t recall defending myself ever again, but until now I had difficulty expressing exactly what was wrong with it. Essentially, my mother denied the validity of my emotion and her role in it, forcing me into doubt over whether there really was a problem or if I was “just imagining it” or “looking for things to get upset about.”

Yesterday, I was informed via a third party of my mother’s intent to move me in with her, 1000 miles away, if I don’t “shape up.” The definition of “shape up” is unclear, although it may be that I need, according to my mother, to get on antidepressants again, because the last time wasn’t traumatic enough (I received an e-mail from her which indicated she thinks I’m exaggerating the psychiatrist’s behaviour *sigh*). I need to perform well in school – this will, of course, be easy-peasy once I’m cured of depression by those antidepressants. I need to get a job, to show I’m motivated to achieve (the fact that I had a semi-breakdown last semester because I stretched myself too thin – insignificant). I need to work on her house, doing odd jobs until it is perfect and gets sold. With all my free time. You know, the free time which I need to do schoolwork and unwind. I need to organize my belongings (this one infuriates me (wait, so do the others) because my mother is the one who disorganized them in the first place – she packed my things in boxes with neither my permission nor any care to my organizational system). There may be a few other things entailed in this “shaping up” process, but I don’t know what they are.

All of this, forcing me, based on my financial dependence on her, to take medicine whether I want to or not (for the record, I would like medication for the depression and anxiety attacks, but that isn’t being taken into consideration in this ultimatum), to do exactly what she wants me to do exactly the way she wants me to do it, to do well academically (which, if it were so easy as being told to do it and I magically could handle school again? Well, shit, I’d patent that method.). This is nothing less than paternalism and manipulation. It is unfair, abusive, controlling, and absofuckinglutely infuriating.

A few hours after I found out about this scheme of my mother’s, I read the following on Zero at the Bone, the blog of the most excellent Chally:

You’ve got to ask why your sense of control over what’s what is so important as to invalidate that person’s autonomy. Reassuring yourself that the world is a certain way, that those around you are a certain way: it’s just not worth it where as a consequence someone’s being dissolves under them – where they themselves are dissolved. That’s what’s important here, not your relatively unimportant wish to assert your own worldview.

Trust people to identify their own identities.

These words resonate with me, because my mother’s abuse has caused my “being [to dissolve] under [me].” Because I lose my identity to my mother’s controlling behaviour. Because I am hurt, and I am human, and I don’t want to be silent anymore.

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Diagnosed

12 Nov

So, due to an annoying and stressful string of events, I wound up at the doctor’s office today. I’ve been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and prescribed antidepressants.

Yay?

Quick Hit: Phone Anxiety

5 Nov

So, the concept of talking on the phone is stressful for me. If I know I need to call somebody (especially if I don’t know them ((really) well)), I get fairly anxious. Dizziness, nauseous, rapid heart beat, minor difficulty breathing, and a general sense of dread are characteristic of this state for me. I may start to dial, then hang up before the number starts ringing. “Oh, I’ve forgotten some minor person’s name, I’d better look it up and call later.” Of course, later usually is an amount of time measured in weeks, even though I usually resolve the problem I was upset enough to hang up over immediately.

Because of this, it’s kind of a big deal to ask me to “just” call someone.  I have to have months to do so, and relative few hoops to jump through. It’s upsetting and, depending on my general mental health at the time, can make me sob and be unable to do anything for hours or days.

Phone anxiety (which, for me, is likely a form of social anxiety) is particularly stressful for me because I’ve been unable to successfully Google it. Depression is easier for me to accept – it has a Wikipedia article! I can take little automated quizzes that say 80%* depression-like symptoms, and no you aren’t alone in that, and, no, really, that symptom’s quite common actually! But approaching anxiety attack because I have to dial a phone is really damn hard to deal with. And since I use the Internet as a coping mechanism, being able to find information on anxiety from phone use that isn’t shaming or preachy, telling me to “just get over it and practice!” is invaluable. And I haven’t been able to find that. Which is so very frustrating and lonely.

The impetus for this post: I scheduled a Well Woman exam today by phone, where the gynecologist and I will hopefully get to discuss birth control (the main reason I haven’t done any period blogarounds in a while is the severe cramping and other PMS symptoms making me curl up on my bed and hide from the world every time I shed my uterine lining for the past 6 months, making HBC sound quite appealing) and antidepressants (while I recognize the value of getting a prescription for antidepressants from a psychiatrist, I would have to schedule an appointment with one. See above why this isn’t a good option for me right now.**)

*I have no idea what my percentage of depression-like symptoms happens to be, so I made up this number.

**I’m mostly justifying this to myself, to make it easier for ME to accept that I have barriers and limitations and can’t do everything. In general, any readers who have a problem with my choices for my mental health are encouraged not to inform me of this fact.

Headspace

20 Oct

My mental health lately: not so good.

Thursday, I went to some museums in Houston. It sounds like such a simple process, doesn’t it? I mean, I like art and going to museums. And I’d made plans with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while to meet up there, so a splendid time was guaranteed for all, right? So. I went to class that morning, and as leaving campus to go to the museum district, I got crowded by a bunch of people. It was my school’s club fundraiser day (there was a snowman on the gazebo, for some obscure reason) at lunchtime, so half the campus was in. my. space. And I started to get anxious – not too noticable, just about the level of anxiety I get when I’m grocery shopping at the beginning of my period. And then I had to deal with Houston traffic. And then there were schoolkids at the museum. And then I had to deal with more traffic. And then, because I was driving around an unfamiliar part of the city, I got lost. And I was thirsty. And the convenience store didn’t have much parking. Or plastic-bottle drinks. And the glass bottle wouldn’t open. And I started crying, badly parked in a convenience store parking lot, because I wanted a damn Sprite (which, once opened, was flat). And then, I figured out where I was. And then, I found the biggest art supply store I’d ever seen. And then, I headed home, in what for the most part appeared to be a pleasant mood. And then, the shit hit the fan.

A part of the way home, which should have taken me 15 minutes, took me an hour. And finally, I got home. And I saw the house, and I stopped lying to myself about what that house means to me, acknowledged how much I hate it for just a moment, and then I had an anxiety attack.

And then I went over to the lover’s (L) house, and tried to pretend everything was fine. And for a while, I got to a point where I believed it myself. And then L’s myoclonic jerks – twitches – started. They’ve been pretty bad lately, and I started crying. Again. And couldn’t stop. And I finally told L about the anxiety attack.

So then, it was Friday. Started out okay. Took L’s sister to buy Guitar Hero 5, so L and L’s mother could watch House together. And that worked out alright, except GH5 had to be in L’s room because it wouldn’t really fit anywhere else, so L and I couldn’t really be alone. Do that whole couple’s bonding thing. And then we went to a movie (Zombieland was fairly fluffy – a bit too “one true love and virginity is teh suxxors and LOL @ fatties” for my tastes). And the line to the ticket booth was long, and there were a lot of flashing lights (because, for whatever reason, the movie listings are surrounded by a Broadway-style marquis), and this creepy kid behind L and me started being creepy (as you can probably tell by my incredibly descriptive adjectives, thinking about it makes me all squicked) and I started shaking and I could feel the anxiety setting in again. I felt better as soon as I got out of the line, and was okay for most of the rest of the night, except for when I spilled a drink and nearly started crying again.

So, Saturday and Sunday kind of blended into each other in my memory. L’s sister played more GH5, and I decided to install the Sims on my computer to somewhat alleviate the general feeling of ennui. Except, it took almost an hour to install and I didn’t want to run any programs while installing it and once I installed the program I couldn’t find it in my directory and once I found the program and figured out how to run it I couldn’t figure out the controls because they were by no means intuitive and so I started crying and shaking again. And then L and L’s sister told me to calm down because it was just a game, so naturally I cried harder. Because telling me to calm down makes things worse, because it’s telling me to stop responding to things in the way I respond to things when I’m stressed and feel like I’m on the verge of an(other) anxiety attack, which isn’t possible because it’s how my brain fucking works and adds another layer of frustration over my current emotional response, because I’m trying to do the impossible to make other people happy (because one mustn’t allow others to feel like they have contributed to one’s poor mood). And I’m trying to process all that and avoid biting L and L’s sister’s heads off at the same time, so I went and hid (sat on the bed with the door wide open) in L’s sister’s room for a bit so I could avoid people. Once most of that frustration had bled off, I went back to L’s room and worked on learning the controls for The Sims. At some point, L told me that L’s parents think I’m gaining weight and should exercise more. And my face crumpled again, and I felt (once again) tears forming as I tried (once again) not to cry. Because of course I’m gaining weight – my bodyweight has a range of 20-30 pounds it cycles through. Because of course I’m gaining weight – I’m trying to make myself eat on a more healthy schedule, instead of not eating even though I’m hungry because I’d have to go to the kitchen which is all the way over there and I’d have to stand up to cook anything and it’s not like I have anything premade. Because of course I’m gaining weight – I’m stressed out, which means my body processes food differently than when I’m feeling well.

But I still feel like I shouldn’t be gaining weight. Because that’s bad, right? Even though I’m usually pretty sure that I don’t care about what I look like, even though I’m pretty sure that my weight won’t affect my health, even through all that, it still stings like hell that I might be gaining weight.

I’m going to schedule an appointment with a doctor this week, so hopefully having this shit documented will help me explain what’s been going on and why I think I need some anti-depressants.

I’m Brave, But I’m Chickenshit

23 Sep

Title of post comes from an Alanis Morissette song, “Hand In My Pocket.” I’ll be extensively quoting the lyrics (all emphasis mine) in the post. I’ll also be reading things into them that probably weren’t intended when the song was written. A public service announcement before we get started: beware of rampaging run-on sentences.

This song has been running through my head for weeks, since the first time I heard it, driving down a highway in Idaho. A lot of the songs from Jagged Little Pill speak to me, but not in quite as personal a way as “Hand In My Pocket” does. I think it’s the fact that the lyrics are cynical, yet suggest hope for the future. In a lot of ways, the song operates in a similar way to her song “Ironic,” but “Hand…” is more successful for me.

I’m broke but I’m happy
I’m poor but I’m kind
I’m short but I’m healthy, yeah
I’m high but I’m grounded
I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed
I’m lost but I’m hopeful baby

This summer…damn near broke me. The shit I’ve been avoiding blogging about – my mom selling her house and then moving across the country, while I have to live in the house and act as caretaker for insurance purposes; the thirty-year old house trying to fall apart on me; workload-heavy classes I needed to pass get a degree by the end of this semester; the lack of Internet, which resulted in a loss of social network; no creative outlet, as I couldn’t afford art supplies; the deepening depression and desire to be in physical pain rather than emotional. Wishing I could swap the two, feeling completely without agency, sapped of energy.

What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be fine fine fine
I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five

For me, high fives are a highly (heh) insincere celebratory gesture. They’re like the “I’m fine” thing I say when people ask how I’ve been. I know they want to hear that. They don’t want to hear the “niema spills her guts all over the internet pavement and fails to clean up the eviscera” version I gave above. It’s not that they don’t care. Really. It’s just, we don’t want to know that shit isn’t “fine fine fine” with people we feel we ought to be closer to and why don’t we see them more often and gee I miss talking to hir but I’m glad zie’s doing alright it was nice talking to you I guess we’ll see each other around but if we don’t it’s not such a big deal good luck with everything bye.

I feel drunk but I’m sober
I’m young and I’m underpaid
I’m tired but I’m working, yeah

Story of my fucking life.

I care but I’m worthless
I’m here but I’m really gone
I’m wrong and I’m sorry baby

That lack of agency thing I mentioned earlier? Yeah, THAT. In so many ways, I’m just floating around in purgatory (I hate using such a deeply religious term, but can’t think how else to put it) waiting for the next thing to happen. A lot of the time I’m not even paying attention, living shallowly. Paycheck to paycheck, day by day, class by class, waiting for that fucking associate’s degree. Sometimes I buy groceries. Sometimes I don’t. I scrape by, but not without getting scratches from the rough concrete walls closing in. And then I apologize to the walls for getting in their way.

What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be quite alright
I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is flicking a cigarette

Getting rid of the useless shit. Realizing it’s piling up, like so much cigarette ash. Is there respite?

What it all comes down to
Is that I haven’t got it all figured out just yet
I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving the peace sign

I can’t figure this shit out yet. How do I take on the responsibilities formerly under the control of a woman almost 3x my age, far more experienced at handling basic household dysfunction? How do I do this relating to people thing?  Maintain my tenuous grip on the events in my life? Fuck if I know, I want PEACE. For myself, for those I care deeply for, for everyone.

Its easy if you try.

It's easy if you try.

I’m free but I’m focused
I’m green but I’m wise
I’m shy but I’m friendly baby
I’m sad but I’m laughing
I’m brave but I’m chicken shit

I’m sick but I’m pretty baby

I’ve taken a lover. My lover knows I blog, but not the URL. I haven’t sent a link. I’m…scared to. And I’m scared to admit that I’m scared to. What is this fear? Coming off as “too feminist?” I mean, we talk about politics and society and religion and I tend to use the word “misogyny” when I talk about that and my lover’s seen me naked and knows what my armpits look like (which, while unshaven hair doesn’t indicate feminism, it usually denotes a conscious decision to deviate from the social norm and is stereotypically applied to feminists). In other words, the feminism doesn’t necessarily need to be spoken, as it’s practically tattooed on my forehead. Am I afraid of being “too sensitive” or “politically correct?” Is that the root? I started this blog with the intention of keeping it away from my “real self” (and if that’s not a loaded concept!) – the part of me known by my government name. I didn’t want to deal with the shit that comes from being openly anti-oppressive, anti-kyriarchical. I wanted the ability to back down if shit got tricky to negotiate, to not have to confront people about the systematic oppression their actions and words enable. I didn’t want to be the humourless feminist unable to enjoy fat jokes or trans jokes or “worse than a woman” jokes; I didn’t want to be the person who ruined the mood for the people who were just being social. I am scared shitless of alienating people I love because I still feel that way, and I feel like a hypocrite for it. As Alanis says, I haven’t got it figured out just yet – if you do, can you help me find the balance?

And what it all boils down to
Is that no one’s really got it figured out just yet
I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is playing the piano

Oh.

What it all comes down to my friends
Is that everything’s just fine fine fine
I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is hailing a taxicab

Is fine. Not gonna be. But “is.” That’s some powerful hope. A hope of escape – taking action to get out of the situation causing the despair and insecurities and self-loathing. A return to agency.

Thoughts on Survival

5 Apr

*TRIGGER WARNING* Discussion of sexual assault following

I’ve spent the past few days (when not at musicals or playing role-playing games) reading this thread at Shakesville. Here’s my response.

As I’ve read through all of your stories, things have come back in bits and chunks, and made me certain I’m still forgetting many incidents. And I’m not sorry I can’t remember them.

The first I remembered was about a year ago. I was out of town on a school trip, and some friends (mostly women, 2-3 men, all of us in 20s or late teens) and I went out to eat at an Italian restaurant. The manager (at least triple our age) came by the table frequently, and as we left, he said something like “Such lovely ladies – each more beautiful than the last!” then pulled me aside and kissed me on the cheek.

Which leads to another memory – high school. I rode the bus until eleventh grade, when I got a car. A guy who liked me liked me sat beside me a lot, and commented on my eyes and how surprising it was that I had no boyfriend. I did what I could to discourage this (without, you know, saying anything about it. That would have been rude.), including not letting him sit by me a lot. At some point, I felt bad about not sitting next to him – he was nice enough, especially compared to other guys on the bus. So, we sat together again. He was thrilled, and also kissed me on the cheek. Another thing I need to say about this story – I know it doesn’t really make sense to rank these sorts of things – none of them should have happened at all, but this one doesn’t feel as bad to me as the one I related above, or the ones below. I think it’s because there wasn’t as much of a power dynamic between us as there could have been – there still was some, because as I’ve said, I didn’t feel comfortable asking him not to, but it wasn’t like he was being overtly manipulative (And ugh, that’s one fucked-up justification).

Speaking of buses, my parents were divorced and lived in separate neighborhoods in the same school zone. So some months I rode one bus (the bus mentioned above), and the other months I rode the bus I really hated. There weren’t any compromises of my physical boundaries on that bus, but plenty of trespassing on my mental space. A few times, guys tried to talk to me. One guy asked me if I knew the “Milkshake song.” I didn’t. I’ve since learned the lyrics, and suffice it to say “Ewwwww!” Other times, the talking wasn’t directed at me. One kid was telling another about this “chick” whose hairy ass he’d licked. “And if she’s hairy there, can you imagine all the other places she’s got hair?” The people he was talking to laughed, and I shrunk into my seat, completely mortified.

In junior high, shortly after the divorce I mentioned in the above paragraph, my dad lived in an apartment complex with a swimming pool. There were some kids my age in the complex (one of them stole my shoes and refused to give them back until I ran after him barefoot). One time, I was at the pool with a guy I sorta-kinda liked, and he commented loudly on a sunbather’s pubic hair poking out of her suit. “Isn’t that gross? Don’t you think that’s disgusting?” I agreed with him, hoping he would finally shut up if I agreed with him. (Ha! Can you tell I have issues with hair?)

This past May, I went on a school trip to London (I’m from TX). Three of us (at 19, A. and I were the oldest, and all of us were quite naive) were out on our own at night. A street-drawer approached us in Leicester Square (I believe his name was David – I have no interest in protecting his identity) and, after some haggling offered to draw S. for free (normally, he charged several pounds). He talked to us as he drew in a very flirty way, and somehow it came out that I spoke limited French. So, he started flirting with me in French – [Do you want your own drawing? Only five minutes.](I have a feeling the phrase “seulement cinq minutes” is forever going to upset me because of this encounter.) I refused, and then he suggested we meet him at a club/pub a few blocks away for beers and dancing. There was more flirting, primarily with S. and myself (You look Irish! Surely you’ll have a beer with me!) We were all getting pretty skeeved and nervous at that point (beyond the fact that none of us drank), so we got the fuck out of there and back to the hotel. 6 months later, we got together for a dinner and A. told us that while he was trying to ascertain our ages, he told her to “show him her tits and he’d tell her how old she was.” She thought S. and I had heard him, but didn’t do anything about it (I don’t think she blamed us – we were all pretty clueless about what to do about this guy).

I can’t help wondering – how much longer would my list be if my grandfather had lived longer? If I’d ever been accidentally left alone with him (my mother and her older sister were both molested/raped by him as teenagers)? If I hadn’t been afraid of people through high school? If I’d been (Maude forbid) popular? I’ve never dated, and now I’m scared to. Part of that’s mental stuff that’s unique to my situation (and I can’t find a way to phrase that which doesn’t come off as silencing my brain’s standard operation as unreasonable – urgh!), but a lot of that’s reasonable fear. Women go through so much shit in this culture that it’s impossible for me to visualize a world where women aren’t “pathologized, criminalized, ostracized, jailed, raped, and butchered.” (via). It’s impossible for me to go out at night without visualizing exactly what sort of assault I could be subjected to – oh, look at that bush. It could hide a man pretty easily. What’s that I hear – footsteps? Better speed up. Maybe I should have called security to walk me to my car. What sort of martial arts move should I use if x happens (at which point I visualize x in graphic detail)? Would a roundhouse kick be good? Neck chop? Lots of yelling and punching? Is there a chance in hell that’s going to be good enough?

That’s a pretty small snippet of the shit that goes through my mind on minimum 2 times a week – I have a night class on Mondays and Wednesdays. If I do anything special, like go somewhere that has me walking around at 11:00 at night, I figure out how I’m going to be safe (the tags on that entry are telling: fear, life) walking to my car. I prioritize this shit, because I know even though the only reason anybody is raped is the presence of a rapist, society will find a way to blame me for my own death if it gets a fucking chance to do so.

And my second story is disturbing me more and more as I think about it. That fear of rudeness upsets me, partly because I still have it, 5-6 years and a helluva lot of self-esteem later. I wish I had some smart insight on that, about how that’s probably some vestige from the days of chivalry, where women had no opinions of their own and never contradicted their menz!, but I have no insight. Just a head full of words, a heart full of sadness and a spleen full of hatred for this culture where rape’s been normalized.