I’ve Got Something To Say
For eons, men have maintained the status quo, believing they were the most superior of the species. White men, specifically, have culturally set in the minds of others that they were the purest form of the human race. Any other pigment of skin has been deemed inferior simply through mind play. Women are inferior and good for nothing but banging and cooking to some. I don’t know if the recent enlightening of the misogyny in our country is a result of our current election cycle or if the mindset is shifting. There are far more cries for equality than there were just a few years ago. About damn time, in my opinion.
In recent weeks, especially this week post-presidential-debate, even more light has been shed on Trump’s hatred of women, his history of fat-shaming, and the country’s general body image shaming problem. While I don’t always understand the conditions in which a person may face that cause them to be overweight or medically obese, it is not my place to bully or treat them differently than I would anyone else and it isn’t Trump’s place either. Trump’s blatant body-shaming makes it acceptable for others to do the same. This seems rather odd to me as neither Trump, nor many of the men whom share in his hatred of women are the ideal body shape they so desire nor are they exactly attractive in and of themselves. Most of the time, they are more creepy than not.
There has been a lot of talk around the story of Alicia Machado, former Miss Universe, as of late when she gained weight following her pageant win. Reports indicate that Machado went from approximately 118 pounds and jumped up to about 150 or 160. Trump reportedly invited the media to watch Machado exercise to take the weight off. He humiliated and objectified her for something that can and does happen to nearly all women.
Women of the world, I want you to ask yourself a very simple question: If you met Trump and asked him what he thought of you, what do you think his answer would be? Seriously, mull that one over for a bit. I, for one, am definitely not okay with the answer I would get.
I spent 5 years working as a lifeguard from 1997 until 2001-2002. I was in decent shape and weighed approximately 130. I wasn’t fat. I was fit, as a swimmer. When I graduated college, I took a job in a small, coastal town in northeast North Carolina and the only convenient food was fast food. I ate 3 fast food meals a day for a while. As you can guess, I gained weight. I jumped to about 160 and I was out of shape. At some point along the way, between 2005 and spring of 2014, I hit a high of 170. I felt fat. The world told me I was fat and I felt awful, physically and mentally. I wasn’t at the weight I had been when I was a lifeguard and I wasn’t in good shape. I was not the Hollywood body type and the demons of my past that had always told me I was too ugly to be loved came back.
I don’t say all that to body or fat-shame anyone who may weigh more or less than that. Take it as merely an example. A lot of women have or do feel this way about themselves. Fit and trim body shapes do not fit every single person. I can’t physically maintain a body shape at 120 and be healthy. That’s not my genetic makeup. I would look sick. I can’t maintain a 200 pound body shape and be healthy. It’s not my makeup. I understand my body type and my physical needs and as I have started bodybuilding again, I feel better but I do it for my mental strength and health, not for you misogynists. I come from a family plagued with obesity and heart disease. I have to stay ahead of it for my own life. We each are made uniquely and should understand what our physicality allows us to be.
I find it appalling that a man (using that term loosely here) with a track record for objectifying and degrading women is even being given a platform to speak let alone run for office. I find it shameful that keyboard monsters (these are not real men) feel it necessary to call comedian Leslie Jones an ape. Man-babies listen up, she is doing what she loves and getting paid for it. So she’s not Vivica Fox. Big flipping deal. News flash Stay Puft basement troll, I’d venture to guess you’re not exactly eye candy. I find it shameful that men still catcall, stalk and harass women on city streets (read #NoWomanEver). We are not a ball of yarn for you to play with then discard.
To most men, I am ugly. I’m not the idea of beauty. I don’t wear makeup. I don’t wear tight clothes. I have short hair. I carry myself confidently. I’m not afraid to assert myself. I’m not submissive. That is my personality. I was taught that I could only do for myself what I needed done. I couldn’t rely on anyone else to do or accomplish things for me. I hear other women say things to the effect, “My family/brother/sister/mother/cousin’s dog walker keeps asking me why I’m single,” etc. I smile and listen but inside my first thoughts are, “No one ever asks me that. Ever.” That sounds sadder than it is but let’s be realistic. I keep to myself. I’m not attractive to most men and I don’t connect with people easily. I don’t get hit on, ever. I don’t flirt and am not the subject of flirting. I’m okay with this, truly. I live alone with my two dogs and I don’t simply open up to just anyone. I’m very guarded and for good reason. It would take someone AMAZING to change that.
I dated a man (loose term again) several years ago. We both had dogs. We both played disc. We traveled and trained our dogs together. You would think that would be a great fit, right? The reality is he was simply in it for his benefit. I would drive to every competition we went to, always on my vehicle and my dime. He treated Eko (this was before Brick) like shit. He didn’t care about her and for that matter, he didn’t care about me either. He didn’t love me. I went out of my way to show him I cared for him. When he decided the relationship was over, he disappeared. There was no, “This isn’t working,” or “We’re breaking up.” He was simply, gone. This was, what I thought, my first serious relationship. It took me quite some time to bounce back from it and I further reclused myself as a result, swearing off dating indefinitely.
What I’m going to talk about next is not easy for me. I’ve sat here, staring at this screen for several minutes, debating with myself if I should even discuss this but I feel it poignant enough to merit speaking of, and if it changes just one person’s mind/heart, then it is worth it. It’s not something I am typically open about and care not talk about it outside of my own musings. You can make of this what you will.
As a child living in a suburban neighborhood, I was surrounded by boys. There were very few girls in my neighborhood. More often than not, I was riding my bike, running through the neighborhood and stomping through the swamp with the boys. I didn’t see gender and sex as a kid. It wasn’t something I learned about until I was in middle school. Remember, I live in the south. Abstinence is king. One of the little boys I would often play with became curious about the time we were both seven or eight years old. He had learned about sex from someone in his life. There began a phase where he would touch me inappropriately. He coerced me into allowing him to touch me in ways that in no way should I have allowed. And no, I did nothing to deserve or provoke this. He chose to do this of his own accord so screw you if you victim blame. This went on for several weeks but I stayed quiet, thinking this was completely okay. How was I supposed to know this wasn’t right? I was a kid. All I wanted to do was ride my bike and chase tadpoles. Sex, fondling, foreplay wasn’t something we were suppose to know about at that age in the early nineties in North Carolina. One day, my father saw the boy grab me as we were in the back yard. My father confronted the boy’s mother and we were no longer allowed to see each other. To my knowledge, he was never reprimanded. I’m not even sure his parents told him why it was wrong. His mother had a “my son can do no wrong” attitude. By definition, this is sexual assault. I’m the one who has had to live with the memories throughout my life.
I have lived most of my life believing that it was okay for men to treat women as objects, aside from my father whom I never heard or saw him treat my mother or any other woman poorly. He was always respectful of women. My dad is pretty amazing in his own right so I’m thankful for a good male role model in my life. I can’t imagine how damaged I’d be if he had been any other way.
I want so desperately to fall in love and know what that feels like but the demons leave me terrified to the point of nausea. I simply want to be happy. I don’t generally care whom it may be with but the demons can get the best of me at times. I hold back from letting anyone in because of those situations I’ve faced in my past, more than I have revealed here. I realize that I control how I deal with that and one day I will meet someone who will be worth finally killing those demons for.
As I grow older, I’ve allowed myself to acknowledge those wrong-doings, realizing that it wasn’t my fault but also not playing the victim any further than I may have in the past, and, in turn, have allowed myself to start healing. When the demons tell me I’m too ugly or not worthy of love, I call them liars. I’m not ugly and I do deserve to know what it feels like to be truly in love. True love still exists. The positive is starting to outweigh the negative and my strength is growing against the demons. One day, someone will see the hopeless romantic inside my heart. I am almost scared for that person because I know when I truly feel loved, my heart will vomit love all over them. Just vomit. Love everywhere. It will be weird, awkward, sappy, goofy and a million other adjectives all rolled into one but it will be beautiful and the black hole in my universe will finally close.
Oftentimes, Assertive women are called “bitches” while assertive men are considered confident. Women are expected to be pretty and simply smile. We’re not expected to be smarter than our male counterparts and if we are, we are supposed to downplay it. Mistakes made by women are amplified by men. Men can create mountains out of mole hills when women are involved but let it slide if it is a male. I’ve witnessed it countless times throughout my career. I’ve experienced it and stood up for myself when needed. It was incredibly bad during my time as a lifeguard. So many men would objectify my female guards (we had to wear swimsuits so you can imagine the Baywatch comments we got) that worked for me and once in a while, I would be on the receiving end.
I’m not saying that all men are this way, not even in the slightest and there are men whom have received similar objectifications from women. It isn’t reported nearly as often but it still happens. I’d be pretty naive if I believed otherwise. I’m also no implying that women are superior. There are great men and women in the world. I know so many amazing people, male and female, and I continue to meet great people but there are some who are simply scum of the earth. We are all equal. All skin colors, all ethnicities, all lifestyle choices and all genders are equal. Women were created from Adam’s rib, not his heel, to be his equal and to walk with him, not behind him or beneath him.
If you think I am ugly or fat or not good enough, I have two words for you: Fuck off. All women are beautiful in their own unique way and we are far more useful than you credit us for. We should be your allies but instead some of you have made us feel like enemies. I can run circles around most of the men in my life and am damn proud of it because I worked hard for it. I’m smart, talented, assertive and determined. Tell me how many men you know who can deal with Aunt Irma and maintain normalcy? Sorry guys, you’d fold quickly.
I don’t say all this in search of pity, merely to share insight. I’m not sensitive and I don’t find all men grotesque and horrific but a few of you need manners. I generally don’t give a shit what people say or think about me and I work hard to not allow the demons of my past to define who I will be in the future. What’s done cannot be undone but it has had it’s lingering effects. It’s tough and I am not alone. Many women go through similar or worse and have to live with the memories. Men, think about your attitude towards women. You need us and we need you. We are your friends, not foes. Women, value yourselves more and don’t allow yourselves to be trampled by insecure men with little better to do. The human race can’t continue without both genders.
The brutal reality for me is I may likely be single for the remainder of my life as a result of angst from these past occurrences unless I sort out a feasible way to conquer them quickly. It’s a process and one day, I will heal fully. I don’t want to be single, it gets very lonely, and while I do believe I will find someone, eventually, I deserve to be treated better than most men presently treat women. Your definition of who I am is most likely inaccurate. I’m valuable. I’m smart, talented and assertive. However the cards are dealt through the rest of my life, your misogyny doesn’t determine my value and worth.
Get over yourself. Love will conquer hate.