Women Who Speak
A few days ago I got a comment from a seemingly random person (who found my blog through a rare, common music interest: Milosh) and I read her blog and this passage is from her Manifesto entry:
"Last night I was smoking a cigarette outside of a bar. I was leaning against a 6-inch thick, waist-high pole with one foot up against it. A homeless man literally crept toward me. He was finally towering over me, so close that I could almost feel his pulse. I want to be a woman who will say, "Before I give you anything, IF I give you anything, please back up, you're too close to me." Instead I fumbled for anything I could give him [with the exception of money] in order that he be appeased. It ended up being a cigarette that I lit for him in his mouth. A stranger who had been inside the club yelled to me from about 15 feet away, "You all done smoking? You wanna go back inside?" I had to be rescued. That was weak of me. I want to be the woman who speaks. The woman who stands up. The woman who is brave. The woman who tells my old-fashioned 60-year-old co-worker, Thelma, that I am a lesbian when she begins to gay-bash. Who, when asked, "Do you have a boyfriend?" says, "No. I have a girlfriend.'"
I know what she's saying. Kind of the Ani DiFranco "open your face up and sing" thing. Say what you want, when you want and when people call you "rude" or a "bitch" f em. A motto both my mother and I espouse: Those who mind do not matter; those who matter do not mind.
I had a great "f em" experience a few short weeks ago. A tale I've regaled many folks with, my mother being the least appreciative; Michelle being the most proud!
I live in a less grentrified part of Brooklyn because a) I'm poor b) I'm not into the "hipster" thing. I was walking home from the subway around 10pm about five weeks ago now. I split off from the woman who was walking in front of me because, ironically, I didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable. I walked around the vast fenced in area of the local school and up a 1/4 street (supershort, hidden by trees from Metropolitan and Roebling). I felt someone walking behind me, but I thought it was a woman, so it only half crossed my mind. All of the sudden I saw someone lunge in the shadows and I felt someone trying to rip my purse away from me. Without thinking, I ripped my bag back into my clear possession, and I screamed, "WHAT IN THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING? GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!" I was in shock, he, apparently, was too, cause he spun and ran. Which he should have because I was PISSED.
Christina, my point is this: speaking up is a learned behavior. Practice makes perfect and soon you'll be yelling and people and wondering where in the fuck it came from. I can't wait to be 75 and saying (yelling?) exactly what I want when I want. Believe it or not, this is me, still restrained! I know you have it in you. We all do.
Thanks to Cole for introducing me to Hothead. Thanks to Hothead and Dianne DeMassa for being a one stop anger management class.
We are not prey. We choose what, and who, we are every moment of every day. Make a choice of which you are proud.