Saturday, March 2, 2013

Fuckin' Problems


Yesterday I was a little broken. Yesterday there was an abeyance in the strength and resilience that I've been diligently been working so hard on. I felt angry. I felt hurt. Insecure. Violated. Again.

Let me back up a bit. For the past month, I've been training my body to push past the possibilities of what I previously thought capable for myself. And lately I've been getting this feeling that I can do anything. It's felt so freeing in certain moments. I can't recall ever feeling this way before in my life. I am quite certain that this may be the feeling that some people write coming of age novels about. 

But here's the thing: I work in downtown Oakland and the street harassment is bad. That's putting it gently. The street harassment around 14th & Broadway is a fucking problem. Over the last 3-4 years of living in the Bay Area, I've had a few incidents with physical assault and street harassment has become normalized for me. I've been working on this running thing so diligently lately, and my body has really been rewarding me for it. But in this time where you would think I feel like I have the most control over my body, I'm experiencing more street harassment and assault than ever before. If you're not picking up what I'm putting down, what I'm saying is that as I've lost weight and slimmed down, people have been grabbing at me more. And I'm so. fucking. sick. of. it. WHY do people think that ME, that MY BODY, is theirs to take? It's so fucked up and it just makes me livid. It makes me feel hollow. 

What's even more messed up is that this is always something that is extremely fucked up; it's just that I'm only now getting this outraged about it because I'm finally taking control of my body. I'm tired of people, usually men, thinking that my body is theirs to consume. Visually, physically, sexually. It's exhausting.

Yesterday I felt like everybody just wanted to TAKE things from me. And I seriously could not handle it. I just felt like crying. I feel like crying just thinking about it now. I feel like my autonomy is slipping away from me and it hurts because I'm working so hard to be in control of it in every other way. So far the only effective way to defend myself has come down to physically striking someone, and while it was necessary, that deeply, deeply saddens me.

I am grateful to my body and I am in awe of what it allows me to do. I want to honor my body and treat it with respect. I just wish others would, too.
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3 comments:

  1. They're just scumbags trying to demonstrate power over you and make you feel vulnerable. Juvenile pack mentality.. Take care of yourself. Carry some pepper spray with you when you run.

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  2. I used to live in Oakland too. I feel your pain! I got to the point where I had a hard time going outside because of all of it. Just taking a walk in the daytime in my neighborhood was perilous. Walking to the BART downtown felt dangerous too. I was mugged, cat-called, and had hateful slurs yelled at me. I'm not sure what to tell you except stay strong, take a good self-defense class, and arm yourself (pepper spray or something stronger even.) If there's one thing I know for sure about Oakland, it's that you better be able to take care of yourself, because the police won't show-up for a long time, if ever. Personally, I had to move away from there for my own mental health. I live in a small city now where I've been harassed only twice in the last 8 months. It feels amazing. The harassment can make you feel like you live in a prison, and I will probably never get over the PTSD from living in that city for 10 years.
    Sorry I didn't have more constructive feedback for you. I just wanted to tell you that I understand, and give you my support!

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    Replies
    1. The other week I had to sit through 20 minutes of filing a police report after using what I had learned in my self defense class. Exhausting! Glad you're in a happier place; I appreciate the support.

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