I'm trying to make sense of things. Thoughts are slipping out of their usual neat boxes and I soup them into my hands, attempting to put them back in place.
I want to say something profound. Like: life is the constant struggle to get along with people. At least, that's what it feels like to me. We push and pull and are confounded by how we're suppose to act and what we're suppose to do. Enter into postmodernism, I suppose. Shed the weight of the structuralists and their rules of etiquette, what do you want from me?
No one really knows anymore. That's the glory of our movement, no?
I was listening to the radio this morning on the way to a meeting with my adviser and my gym date (both equally painful, but very necessary). I wasn't paying much mind to the station, until one of the jockeys mentioned a self-defense class for women that they were offering this weekend. I immediately perked up. It sounded great, actually. They hoped to promote awareness over the physical and sexual abuse women encounter on a daily basis and give practical tools for women to exercise in case they find themselves in a compromising situation.
Every 2 minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. Please, take 2 minutes to think about that.
I was very excited that a mainstream station not only brought up a serious issue, but was attempting to open dialogue over a topic so delicate. Many of us are petrified into silence with the mere mention of 'sexual assault'.
Then, to my utter disappointment, the only woman on the show---in proper self-loathing fashion--- says, "Yeah, it'll be a great seminar. I mean, there are things that we ladies do---without even realizing it, maybe---that causes these situations. It can easily be preventable." (Note that I am paraphrasing. I don't remember her words exactly, but that was the general idea). The other two men on the show agreed with her and recanted observational experiences where they felt that women were 'just asking for it'.
What. The. Fuck.
In my rush of anger, I lost my words. The only thing I could think was why? why? why?
I understand the interconnectedness of us all. I understand that our actions cause reactions from others. But what I don't understand is when it became acceptable to negate and displace individual responsibility for individual reactions? We never ask for anything. It is you who decide to shed your humanity. It is you who decide to assault, abuse, rape.
No one ever asks for it. Regardless of how a woman dresses. Regardless of when she decides to go out. She never asks for it.
I shouldn't be afraid to go for walks around my neighborhood after dark. It's not even a shady part of town---it's white suburbia, for fuck's sake! My friend shouldn't have to worry about having her ass grabbed at a theme park. We shouldn't have to carry around pepper spray and rape whistles and fear in our purses. I am tired of being branded the guilty party. I'm tired of constantly taking preventative measures, of teaching my sisters to do the same.
Let the blame fall where it should. Let the guilt fall where it ought to. Not on us. Not again.
P.S. I hope you are well, folks. I'm very interested to hear some thoughts on this.
P.P.S. Sigh. I really hope there are some thoughts on this...
Saturday, July 10
I've been feeling foolish, lately; tripping over my words like a clumsy oaf. You see, I have prepared dialogues to run through when I'm waiting tables. Add a punch line here, some sass there---everybody is happy. The problem is when they come back. I have to update the routine, but that can only go so far. Then, it gets to the point where I have to genuinely interact with these people. I have talk to them. I have to uphold the image I've created of myself, of my family, of the life they think I should lead. It's all so exhausting. Remembering all the details, romanticizing stories, holding my tongue---fuck, it's a miracle I haven't physically hurt someone by now.
I often do fantasize about toppling a bowl of spaghetti on someone's head. Or throwing their drinks in their faces. Or saying: Dude. You're a needy little bitch. Stop attempting to monopolize my time. I don't like you.
The funny thing is that it's hard to pull yourself away from a conversation, regardless of whether or not you wanted to be involved in said conversation in the first place. That's when I start to panic and look for excuses to walk away.
I can't decide if I don't like people or if I'm actually afraid of them. I've always been devout to the former assertion, but these days I'm not so sure.
Anyway, I just feel awkward. I feel uncomfortable in such charged environments and I use to want to unwind in the safety of solitude. Now, I want to spend time with people I am comfortable with---guard down and everything. I love my friends.
Monday, July 5
I'm about to burst into something crazy, folks, and there's going to be splattered Athia all over the counter-tops.
It's a new day and I've got a new dream---making me bundle inside with the type of nervous energy the besties scoff at. I can't sleep because I'm too excited over the possibilities of what could happen if I let life take me there. I know optimism isn't sexy, but it's here. Present and waiting for me to unfurl my fingertips.
Alas, I'm getting ahead of myself. This isn't exactly a new dream. Just...a renewed mini-dream; a side project, if you will. I'm going to make kick ass music. But in order to do that, I need to find my musical soul mates. And learn an instrument that's a bit more hardcore than level five violin-ing. Singing is useless if you can't even accompany yourself.
For some reason, I have it in my head that in order to do this, I need to go to Columbia for grad. school. Forget that Columbia was the dream before SLC, before writing, before literary criticism, before Foucault, sex, and cynicism. Columbia is where I'm going to find my band mates. I just know it.
I told this to Green Eyed Bestie the other day. She laughed.
I'm not ridiculous. Promise.