Perhaps you have seen it on facebook - the horrible "me, too" on your female friends statuses, a mark signifying that they have been (in some way) sexually assaulted or harassed.
The first time I saw it, my eyes widened. Oh no! My poor friend. I thought, "How bold of her to stand out in the face of rape. She is brave!" And then I saw another, and another, and another, and another, and another. My sad face emojis were everywhere. What on earth!
After seeing about fifteen of these statuses, I thought, "Wait, am I mistaken? Am I understanding this clearly? Are all of these people saying that they have been raped?" Or is sexual assault not rape? In my head, assault is a violent and brutal action taken against someone. Defining it further by explicitly calling out "sexual assault" is the equivalent of rape in my mind.
But maybe they are focusing on harassment. Maybe they have lost their job or felt threatened that they would by a male co-worker or boss. Maybe it's like those 70's movies where the dude is grabbing people's butts and pinching them and winking at their secretaries. I have never seen that in person, but maybe I'm not in that culture or maybe I'm just an oblivious moron.
So I thought about it. By the grace of God and his mercy, I haven't been harassed and I haven't been sexually assaulted. Maybe because from my sophomore year in college until I got married, almost all of my friends were male and they were a barrier to the bad guys. My brothas from anotha motha stood by me and kept an eye on me and any guy I dated knew that I had a pack of homeboys who would step up and pay them a visit with a baseball bat (if I didn't do it first) if a situation warranted it. It was never needed; mercifully, I didn't date guys who crossed the lines I drew.
But the truth is, I do have a few friends who were raped and some who were molested, and the actions of those men are deplorable and horrifying, but that is not the vast majority of my friends. This is not to be discounted. The men must be called to account and justice ought to be served to them. What of the masses saying otherwise, though? What is going on?
Perhaps the definition of harassment is wider in the minds of the rest of society and I am unaware. Maybe they don't mean just rape. Maybe they are including when a guy yells out his window at you that you're hot. Maybe they're including when you walk into a grocery store and a guy mumbles something to you. Maybe they mean when a guy walks over to you because he thinks you're good looking, calls you beautiful, and gives you the extra money on his expiring gift card to pay for gas because his tank is full and he can't use any more. Maybe it's the vast and interesting collection of weird stalkers you have that they are tossing into the pile. Maybe it is the honks and yells you get when running and biking. Maybe it's when a guy lets out a loud and exaggerated swear word with his buddies as he looks you up and down as you pass his table in a restaurant trying to make your way quietly to the bathroom. (Simma down nah, dawg.) Maybe it's the guy at Costco who writes the line on your receipt and tells you that you have the most beautiful smile he's ever seen and he says he has seen a million. Maybe it's the guy who takes your fingerprints and tells you that your scent is oh so pleasing and relaxing (no, my patchouli just reminds you of smoking down, bruh).
Here's the thing, and don't kill me for thinking this way. In order for me to truly feel harassed, I have to own these things. They have to get under my skin, they have to bother me, they have to define me, and they have to make me a victim to the whims of weirdos. Weirdos are weird, and they can keep it. I don't absorb it. What they're saying is on them, not on me. I do not feel victimized and I'm not a victim. I am amused at their oddity (and I'm glad I smell good, to be honest). They have to live with their weird little selves and their wild swears. I am doing my own thing and it doesn't include them. They are a blip in the day and they're gone. If I can avoid them, I will, but if I can't, they are nothing to me.
I don't want a culture where the appropriate men are terrified of speaking to women at all. That's idiotic. Say what you want, I have enough sense of self to keep your opinion outside of me. We're on this planet and we need to work together. We all have our quirky ways. If you individually offend someone, let them tell you, and fix it with that person. Some people are more sensitive than others. Yes, you need to not be a total bonobo, but for the love of all that is good, let's work this out one on one and not blanket society with the thought that all men are rapists and all women have been raped. Men are not all evil. (Well, they are because they are inherently sinners, but I don't mean that if you have three legs instead of two, you're a vicious predator.) Women are not victims.
I am thankful for the good men in my life - from my high school and college homies to the husbands of my friends, to the bros at church to my fellow athletes in the water and in the sport of triathlon, to the many males in my family and even the random strangers who have helped me in crisis - you are good, quality homies and I luh you. They bring admirable qualities to my world that I very much look up to. I am concerned that they are being demonized because others are total butthead sociopath jerkwads. If speaking out for what is right is what we're after, then I am here to speak up for them. I hope that their character speaks for itself to all they are surrounded by, but in case they are only seen as a male power-hungry potential rapists, I want to stand in the gap for them and say they're not all like that. They're not even mostly like that. The weirdos are few and far between and they are the glitches in the gene pool.
For those who have been assaulted, there is no excuse for those men. You are precious and they are wrong. They have something wrong with them, and you didn't deserve it - not under any circumstance. I am sorry that it happened to you and I wish you would have been protected from that situation and from them. If I could reach you, I'd give you a hug, and then I'd like to find them and blowtorch their faces off. They are horrible humans, and I'm sorry you experienced their depravity in that way.
Peace, love, and hugs,
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
up in the morning
while it's still dark
bathing suit pulled up
put the car out of park
drink a bunch of water
and off to the pool
quiet down the expressway
man, swimmers are cool
trudge in the locker room
unpack lock, shampoo, towel
if you take my locker
i promise you a scowl
good morning to the usuals
lined up and ready to go
fifteen minutes of warm up
then we start the show
75s, IMs, maybe a few timed swims,
all out, for time, just don't quit
kick sets, pulling,
and get after it
3000 yards later
you put in an hour
crawl out of that pool
you earned your shower
you didn't wake up to be average
at this time of day
you're characterized by amazing
in every way
there's a fight inside
every swimmer's heart
and sometimes butterfly
is a work of art
so get up and push it
do what you need to do
be super amazing
i admire you
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Why do I jump in and out of it? Why do I do this to myself?
Quite frankly, I always hate it, but sometimes I participate in the madness because I need it for business. It's hard to be able to reach ~500 (or however many) people every day otherwise. You can toss something out and get a good response almost all of the time because the people in your tribe want to support you and help you. When I ask for help, they are there to back me up. When I am feeling hilarious and like I need to get on stage, I pop on and say the funny thing I heard that day and then yay, oh yay, I get the laugh face. I love the laugh face.
But what is the cost? I'd say about one gajillion billion pounds of wasted time, energy, life, and motivation. I scroll through that sucker like nobody's business sometimes because for crying out loud, if you miss that your friend had a death in the family, you are going to be an insensitive jerk. And what about the people who are having health problems? You want to be there to support them for that.
To be honest, if you think about it, most of it is not that - most of it is people writing the ten concerts they went to, the meowquiz (or whatever it is), the passionate politicos, and pictures of people's children (playing soccer/football/baseball/etc.), dogs, coffee cups, inspirational quotes, and dinners. (Don't get me wrong, I love pictures of dinners. I will stop and look at that, no joke. I'll be analyzing it...hmm, you think that was cooked in avocado oil? Is that a Teflon pan? For heaven's sakes, these people are using a Teflon pan. Do I say something? Do I compliment the food and then tell them it would have tasted better in a cast iron pan? Am I seriously looking at a picture of someone's dinner for like three minutes right now? Good thing this isn't a waste of time...)
Then there is the fine line between what you can say and what you can't say. Do you want to be all political? Do you want to be obnoxious? Do you want to be hilarious but potentially offend people? So then what can you say? Am I going to have a boring page of saying nothing? I can't bear the thought of that, but I don't really want to offend my friends, either. Can I say what I want but in a way that won't offend them?
Okay, okay, okay, this is getting a little out of hand. What if I just have it to comment on other people's pages? What if I just kind of hide in the background and randomly comment? You know what, I'm not a hide in the background and randomly comment kind of girl. I'm more of a let's-see-if-this-crazy-thing-can-be-worded-so-they-know-I-still-love-them-while-I-say-something-totally-bananas. Yeah, that's still a time waster.
So, I'm out. I am on the facebook fast. I've purged it from my life. It's nice, I have to tell you. I don't have to check it, I don't have to wonder. I don't have to think, "Did anyone think that little girl who can't stand slow walkers was awesome? Did I get like 99 likes or what? Are people congratulating me at finding such a winning video? Are they reposting it because it is literally the best video they have ever seen in their life?" (Which, BY THE WAY, that video was seriously the best ever. Watch it. Are you type A? This was you as a child. In fact, this is you now, you just know how to conceal it better. No joke. This kid is my hero.)
I apologize to all of my dear friends who have to roll their eyes and my ups and downs with social media. I know, I'm sorry. It's tedious and horrible to watch someone go in and out of a relationship like that, but I really can't help it. Sometimes it just must be done, no matter the longing and call it puts out to you.
Yes, at first it's hard. It's like, wait, what do I even do when I go to the bathroom now? Slowly but surely, you can find coping mechanisms to deal with the new changes. They are hard and you don't like them, but since you've committed to the change, you have to just bite your lip and get through it. Thank you, sisu. (There are harder things in life. There are things that make you wonder if you really want to wake up in the morning. Dumping facebook should not be one of them.)
Do I miss it? I miss the connection, yes. I really do. I miss how easy it is to get in there and find someone to reach out to. People are posting funny things and some need the kind of help that you provide. That's the hard part. Not being able to swoop in and be that hand for someone. (Although, if you're reading this, please, just call me. You know I'll help you.)
But on the other hand, just imagine your level of productivity. In fact, I have to tell you something. I got down to ZERO emails in my inbox as a result of this change. I'm ahead in all of my work, and I even attended a PTA meeting, where I gave my opinion on not letting teachers have traditional desks (thumbs down - are you trying to kill them?).
Have you ever thought of it? Have you ever wished you could just give it all up and ditch social media entirely? It really is possible. It's the fastest way to lose 1000 pounds, or at least that's what it feels like.
I dare you to try.
Peace, love, and Luddites,
p.s. Just because I'm gone doesn't mean I don't love you. I do. You know I do. xx