is anyone else confused about the science behind this whole guacamole-doesn’t-turn-brown-if-you-leave-the-avocado-pits-inside thing? did i trick the avocado into thinking it wasnt mashed up and about to be consumed? is it… STILL ALIVE?? AM I EATING MY AVOCADO ALIVE??
Have spent many years trying to figure out where all my angry feminist, sad feminist, happy feminist, not-feminist-still-feminist feelings have come from. My mother was not a warrior in that sense. My past is not darkened by gendered trauma. My relationships with men are healthy and fulfilling. Have discovered more and more stories that I did not know were screaming through me, left there in the way that ancestors leave songs to sing inside of you that you may not yet recognize. My aunt was abused by a preacher when she was a teenager and did not tell anybody until her own daughter was six years old. My mother slept on a lawn chair in her mother’s house because that’s all she could be given. She told me a story, once, about a man who drove next to her in a car and showed her pictures of naked men. Her stepfather. She also told me to never believe it when boys tell you it hurts when you don’t fuck them.
My new roommate is perfect in the way that the other day I skyped my boyfriend on campus and had a sad time of it and walked home trying not to cry and when I walked in our door all mopey and sad Conor was standing in the kitchen holding a fresh plate of hot breakfast for me and also he rubs my back when I cry a lot and also he helped seal up our leaky bathtub so I could take a bath and also when I told him I wanted to be a sex oracle he appointed himself as my acolyte and washed my hair and told me he’d be happy serving women the rest of his life and also one time he came home and I was topless in the living room listening to Shania Twain and he was just like “what’s up, you feelin’ like a woman?”
My boyfriend’s coming back in ten days and we’re going to live in a trio of bliss.
My cat Arrow has 3 cat-daddies with varying degrees of enthusiasm and I keep sending them text updates on Arrow’s life: pictures of Arrow in a car, texts complaining about Arrow peeing on my floor, pictures of Arrow (not) walking on a leash, texts bragging about Arrow snuggling around my ankles, VIDEOS of Arrow (not) walking on a leash, pictures of Arrow’s new toys, pictures of Arrow’s new free-range chicken treats, etc. And I used to be thankful for boys in my life that wouldn’t try to fuck me all the time but I’ve moved past that phase and now I’m just thankful for these three angels who pretend to be okay with how obsessed I am with this cat.
having messy “trying so hard to be platonic” friendships with weed babies is really hard because there is no way to explain to somebody who’s stoned that he needs to stop giving me advice on what songs are good to fuck to without him just responding “I confused. how was dinner?”
I’m sorry (sorry?) I’ve been blogging about boys so much. I feel silly and young and angsty. I’m just very confused right now because it seems that I can’t stop emitting some sort of desperate cat-in-heat hormone trail and it is creating all sorts of weird situations that I am still processing.
Cat-Dad makes me a breakfast burrito, looks at me with something that is not-sex and not-sad for the first time in weeks. My cat is still perfect. My roommate hides my cigarettes before we go to a party. I do not speak to him all night. Text Gabe from a bathroom because I feel lonely. “All of my early fantasies have faded back to reality again (unfulfilling, unrealized).” Do not feel better. Stand on train tracks for too long, a boy makes me scream with laughter, brings me back. A friend says, unexpectedly, lying down in the hallway with his head in my lap, “I’m worried about us in the next month before Gabe comes back.” Text Gabe again, right before bed “I want to burn up like a phoenix and come back as something smaller.”
I found a stray cat outside today and took him home. The cat is covered in flea bites and bald spots. I am in love with this cat. My roommate is allergic. The boy who kissed me on Saturday is taking care of this cat for two weeks until I move into a new house. It would have been easier to let somebody else adopt this cat, but I am sick of finding things to love and having to let them go.
Put as much effort into not kissing somebody as you want - the universe will still wait until the one night you’re sharing a room together (not even a bed!!) and then send you a nightmare that rips you out of sleep and makes you need to snuggle with somebody to feel like you can breathe again.
Just last week I happened to be awake at 3 am and heard “go away, stop it” from outside my apartment window. Of course I was worried and wound up going outside with my cell phone and my pocket knife (the cell phone so I could pretend I was on it). I found a woman across the street, 18-20, somewhat drunk and trying to pull away from a guy claiming to be her boyfriend. After walking to the end of the block and back I sucked it up and stopped right next to them and asked her if she was okay. No. I asked if she knew him. Yes. I asked if he was her boyfriend. No. I asked if she wanted to go with him. No. I told her she could come with me. He wouldn’t let go of her arm and kept talking to her with the platitudes women are familiar with - come on baby, I’ll take you home, just hang out with me, we were having such a good time - and eventually he gave in after seeing I had my finger on the dial button, but he was vibrating on the spot and he was pissed. Then he kept talking to me with all the insults women are familiar with - bitch, cunt, stupid fucking slut, etcetera forever. And of course he went after her for “leading him on.” I got her in a cab from my front door and went so far as to make sure I didn’t turn on any lights when I went inside so he wouldn’t know that my apartment was on the basement level facing the street where he was standing.
But this isn’t a problem or anything.
A few months ago I was working late shifts at work and getting off at 3 am. I only live a few blocks from there, so I was walking home. This was when there was a series of attacks against women in my neighbourhood. Not rapes, but escalating attempts to harm women, involving choking. So yes, I was on red alert. A group of five men from the bars saw me walking home. They started calling out to me - again, with all the lines women are used to (that, by the way guys, are not in the least bit attractive) - hey baby, where you goin, come on just stay and chat, a pretty thing like you shouldn’t be going home alone, where do you live. I ignored them and walked faster, and they sped up to keep up with me. Five men in their 20s. Following me home, drunk, and getting progressively angrier that I wouldn’t talk to them. “Why the fuck you being so rude? We just want to talk, quit being such a frigid bitch.” *guffaw guffaw* “Baby come on slow down, have some coffee with us.” I walked even faster, still not talking to them. I have foot and knee injuries, so this was getting really painful and I couldn’t have broken into a run if I’d tried. They thought this whole thing was quite hilarious and quite rude of me, never mind that I’m the one being followed home by drunk strangers. I finally looped a block and backtracked to the main road, which is really well-lit, and plopped myself dead centre in the middle of the ambulance-police combo that is in front of one of the bars every Saturday night without fail.
But street harassment isn’t a problem or anything.
Walking down a bright road in daylight, men lean out of car windows and honk and cheer at me and my friends. This has been happening since I was 14. Many of them are stuck at the same light we are, so we spend a good two minutes listening to them ask us to flash them. “Just show us your titties, we’ll give you each $5!”
Going to a bar and getting my ass groped at the bar as a precursor to offering to buy me a drink. I don’t know if men think this is a demonstration of their sexual abilities, or what, but it happens all the time.
Walking home from Walmart at 10pm and having a guy walk by me say “nice titties” thinking I can’t hear him because I have headphones in. Worst of all, spinning in anger and having to keep my mouth shut, because it could get a lot worse really fast.
Being “accidentally” groped on buses and trains frequently (they say they’re stumbling and that’s where their hands end up, but come on: I’m on the same vehicle, there was no jolt, and even if their was my hands don’t wind up on them), and not being able to complain without everybody thinking you’re crazy.
Dancing at a bar and having a guy slide his hand down the front of my pants. And then getting thrown out for elbowing him and shoving him away from me.
Getting told to smile by strangers (always men), and being told to cheer up, like I owe them a certain mood.
Having a guy you slept with once sit outside your house for seven hours, and then try to follow you inside while you pretend not to notice his car, and then disregard your requests through the intercom to leave you alone. And then, when you finally call the police, having the policeman call you back to say “He’s leaving, but he sounded sincerely sorry. You shouldn’t be so hard on him, he sounds like a nice guy.” Yeah, give him your home address then.
Having male customers look you up and down like you’re on the menu, and not being able to slap the customer who grabs your ass while you’re cleaning tables because you’ll be fired.
Finding out your sister’s employer felt comfortable uttering threats to punch her in the face for accusing him of being unfair, and her not feeling like she could tell anybody.
Having my male boss feel like he can touch me, rub my shoulders, call me honey and sweetheart and baby, and him being right, he can do those things, because everybody calls you oversensitive if you complain about those things.
Being followed home numerous times, both on foot and by car, being forced to talk to the guy who sits next to you on the bus for 45 minutes straight, and since I couldn’t think of a non-threatening way not to give him my phone number, I did so that I could get away. It took him a year and a half to stop calling me. Being told I’m paranoid for carrying any kind of protection, and stupid for not protecting myself, I’m a misandrist for assuming the worst of strange men, and stupid for having a conversation, I’m rude for asking men to leave me alone, and stupid and weak for not being more direct and assertive. Being told to go out and have fun more, stop being so uptight, and having that thrown in my face when something happens, because if I had some morals and didn’t advertise myself as, I don’t know, being alive or something, nothing would have happened. Being told to give him a chance and then being told to stop leading him on. Having to know all of the escape routes on my way home, and sending staff to the dumpsters in pairs. Having it be a fucking brave thing to do to stand next to a girl so she can walk away from the guy trying to bully her into going home with him.
And then having to listen to people say, “You’re exaggerating. Men aren’t like that, quit trying to see the worst in people. Men get harassed too, just ignore them and walk away. It’s the same thing.” Listening to people just step right over the fact that if woman deems a guy creepy, she’s told she’s being too critical and she needs to lower her standards, but if a man deems a woman possessive, controlling, demanding, jealous, bitchy, clingy, psycho, on her period, whiny, or outright dangerous he’s commended on his standards and congratulated on a bullet deftly dodged.
How many women does it take to bring these things to light before people stop thinking we’re crazy, over-critical bitches?
I’m putting this back on my dash because it’s relevant to conversations I’m having right now, and I’m going to add something small to it:
Do not dismiss these things as “just bad guys do that, real men don’t do this.” Every single guy who has ever harassed somebody is somebody’s son. A lot of them are somebody’s brother. Sadly, they’re somebody’s best friend. It’s real, everyday men that you know personally who do this and most of them genuinely do not understand what the problem with it is. I can’t even tell you all how many people I’ve had come into my ask box in the past year, telling me about how they have stood by in the past while their friends did this, or even joined in themselves. Most people ask me what they can do to change this.
Stand up to your friends. Raise your eyebrow and don’t laugh. Give them a look that says and that was supposed to be fun because…? When you’re walking down a street at night and you’re passing somebody, just move over to put space between you. If you see somebody who looks cornered, a simple “hey, did we meet at starbucks a couple of days ago?” can open a hole in the conversation for somebody to excuse themselves, with or without you. At worst, they give you a strange look and say no.
You don’t need to swoop in and fight people. In fact, don’t. But guys, you do need to stop reinforcing your friends’ sexist behaviour. Just having a neutral reaction to your friend yelling out a car window at a girl can make him realize that it’s not as cool as he thought it was. Stop laughing just to be in on the joke.
Valerie and I are making friends with two perfect boys who we work with and we invited them over late one night to go swimming in a creek nearby and when they came we asked “where are your swimsuits??” and they just raised their eyebrows at us and said “are you serious?” and I HAVE NEVER FELT SO EMBARRASSED OR OUT-NAKEDED
and then last night I went back to the creek with one of them and he brought a joint and we talked about really serious and heavy things and then we stood up to go and my body forgot how to walk and I fell over into a thistle bed.
The bigger issue with Miley Cyrus is her complete obliviousness to the differences in public reaction when it comes to herself versus black people. When Miley Cyrus plays at ratchet, we get three reactions: fangirls/fangays spooing all over themselves telling the internet how much they love her, non-fans giving deep eyerolls and moving on to the next, and middle-aged white people making vague statements about how they’re “concerned” about her state of mind. The reaction she does not get is that if she were shot by a neighborhood watchman, then she deserved it because she flips the bird and does drugs and glamorizes hoodrat behavior.
That’s my problem. My problem is black kids like Trayvon Martin play at being ratchet everyday and the rest of America looks at them like they’re all budding criminals. The defense in that case put Trayvon Martin’s character on trial, by wanting us to infer that he was headed down the wrong path to prison anyway. Because of a few Myspace photos and a toxicology report, we should be glad we got that thug off the streets. They turned him into a thug for doing the exact same things that Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber do, the exact same things that millions of little white kids do in their gated communities, driving around in Daddy’s SUV listening to old-school NWA and rolling spliffs and bragging about it on social media.
That is what white privilege looks like. If you are a white apologist who continuously doubts that white privilege exists, ask yourself if Miley Cyrus or any other 20-year-old white girl would be put on trial posthumously if someone shot her for walking around in a hoodie. That is the definition of white privilege.
My poor baby boy roommates don’t know how to deal with a woman who is terrifying in the way that she simultaneously cries and laughs for three days straight so they have just been giving me a lot of awkward sweet little side hugs and saying things like “I just wanted to let you know that I care.”
I heard from people after the shootings. People I knew well or barely or not at all. Largely the same message: how horrible it was, how little there was to say about how horrible it was. People wrote, called, mostly e-mailed because they know I teach at Virginia Tech, to say, there’s nothing to say. Eventually I answered these messages: there’s nothing to say back except of course there’s nothing to say, thank you for your willingness to say it. Because this was about nothing. A boy who felt that he was nothing, who erased and entered that erasure, and guns that are good for nothing, and talk of guns that is good for nothing, and spring that is good for flowers, and Jesus for some, and scotch for others, and “and” for me in this poem, “and” that is good for sewing the minutes together, which otherwise go about going away, bereft of us and us of them. Like a scarf left on a train and nothing like a scarf left on a train. As if the train, empty of everything but a scarf, still opens its doors at every stop, because this is what a train does, this is what a man does with his hand on a lever, because otherwise, why the lever, why the hand, and then it was over, and then it had just begun.
Gabe is leaving again, for a seven week retreat in the Swiss Alps. I’m so unbelievably happy for him to have such an important experience, but I am sick of being left. I find it hard to believe that I can keep learning from this very special kind of hurting. I am no longer connected to this space, but there is comfort for me in knowing that my experiences are received and shared, and not just penned into a journal kept closed to everybody else. Eventually I’ll find a place that feels whole, not disjointed and shallow.
There are so many heavy and personal things I could write into this. But here is the only story fit for this space - I could not stop crying hysterically in the car when a Taylor Swift song came on the radio. Valerie said it was the funniest thing that has happened all summer.
My best dirty girl moment was when I was surrounded by a bunch of dirty boys and one of them said “this place smells like b.o.” and I was like “oh yeah that’s probably me.” and then they all backpedaled really quick to talk about how they don’t actually care about natural body smell and even think it smells kinda good because it’s “like, the natural way a body smells, and that’s cool”
Valerie and I are working on a farm with three teenage Amish sisters. They started out so shy, but we have chatted, giggled, and shrieked together about our boss’s temper, the little mouse that lives in the barn kitchen, and (always) boys. They invited us to visit their house and go on a horse and buggy ride, and we were so nervous about offenses and expectations until we pulled into the driveway and two happy barefoot babies wouldn’t stop waving. It’s hard to put these experiences into words that don’t feel like fetishizing how real people live but I’m just so happy to feel such a universal connection between women that reaches across cultural boundaries.