A Delicate Man

I have a folder in my email inbox called “Creeps on the Internet”. That’s where I stash emails and screenshots of private messages from strangers on the internet who want me to give them my full attention.
Maybe read the rest of this post with Criminal by Fiona Apple playing in the background because it feels so right.

I’ve been a bad, bad girl
I’ve been careless
With a delicate man
And it’s a sad, sad world
When a girl will break a boy
Just because she can.

When I first started XOXO, Lib I was so excited about finally having a space that was mine all mine on the internet where I can be who I want to be and say the things I want to say and be my free, true, and authentic self without reservation. And it’s become that place for me for sure. I’ve met so many cool people. I love the community that’s growing in the Facebook group and on Instagram. I love us. A lot.

And things are growing so rapidly and with such gusto–I’m so excited. I can actually see ways that dreams that I’ve had for this platform aren’t pipe dreams. I’m seeing it all come together and when I think about it, I get so excited. Right now, just telling you about it is feeding my spirit in a way that I haven’t felt in a few days.

With a growing platform and more and more readers, it’s natural to get a few creeps thrown in the mix. Especially when you’re talking about fattness, fat fetishism is so real my friends. I’m not mad that the fetish exists. I’m just mad that another person’s fetish turns into a non-consensual situation that I have to find a way to navigate.

I get an occasional dude in my Instagram Direct Messages saying, “Hi.” On my very best days I’m like, “what a lazy dude.” I mean, honestly, why don’t you just come right out and say, “I’d like to have a conversation with you but I’d also like you to do all the labor of starting it and carrying the weight of it all on your own.” Now, these aren’t so bad. Because as loaded as these messages are, they’re super easy to ignore. I just take a screenshot and then block these people and move on wth my day (after I get a collection of “hi” messages I like to post them in my stories to show off how repetitive and unoriginal men on the internet can be).

But then sometimes I get messages from other types of people who want to build a monument to me and hope that I’ll never change my body ever. A lot of times I try to just ignore these messages, too but sometime I just can’t. I gotta know what’s going on in this person’s head. And ten times out of ten, these people haven’t even looked at my profile or my blog or anything. They don’t know who I am at all even! After I reply, they try to strike up a conversation by asking what my name is or where I’m from. Both of those pieces of information are available on whatever platform they used to find me. Which means that they aren’t even remotely interested in me as a person–they’re interested in cruising through a body positive hashtag and then just messaging people indiscriminately. They’re not interested in me, they’re interested in my fattness. They’re not interested in me, they’re interested in what I can do for them. They either want naked pictures or my bank account information. Every. Single. Time.

Last week, a stranger in my Instagram DM’s kept asking me where I was from and I refused to answer him with anything other than, “that information is easily available in my Instagram bio, have you looked at it?” He kept saying, “Of course I looked at your bio I want to love you. So, where are you from?”

The problem, for me, isn’t that I’m frustrated that people are talking to me on the internet. I love talking to people on the internet. Making connections with new people on Instagram is not only one of my favorite joys but it’s also my business. It’s my job. And these people aren’t messaging me on my personal page on my personal time (that one is set to private). They’re messaging me on my business account. And time is money.

IMG_4022Last night, after getting an old fashioned email (yeah, we’re at a stage where email is old-fashioned) from a man named either Douglas or Steve (inconclusive) who wanted to tell me how much he likes/ supports/ is a fan of me and other people like me (note the lack of specifics), I couldn’t take it any more.

[Image description: screenshot of an email from an account belonging to a person called Douglas Winters. The email reads, “Hi. I am a fan and supporter of your blog.
Your blog for plus women is great and it is very nice.I am a fan and supporter of plus women.I have a big appreciation for big women.I am a fan of the plus industry too.I am a big supporter of size equality.Plus models and plus women’s are great.All women should embrace their body and not be concerned to feel that they have to be skinny to fit in with society.I love how plus models and plus women feel confident about them sleeves without having to be skinngy.I am a big fan of plus size women and plus models.I have always supported them too.Plus women and plus models are great.Is it okay to email you and hope it is okay.I am a fan of you and I would really like to keep in touch with you.I want to email you because I am a fan of you and I support plus women too.Hope to hear from you and have a nice day. 
Steve”]

I know as a one-off this email doesn’t seem like much. But imagine that this is the 4th one you’ve received that day and the dozenth you’ve received this week and it’s only frickin’ Tuesday. I sat on the couch with Ryan and I cried a lot. I mostly cried for all the people out there who have it worse than me. I cried for my whole life of being seen as my body before anything else. I cried for the world that gave men this power to (I’m going to quote my friend Courtney here), “just stomp around this planet thinking they can do and say and have whatever they want.” While women are forced into shoes that are created to make us literally tiptoe around the whole world. I cried for the way that these men are allowed to come into my home, into my place of business and ask for my attention for no reason other than the fact that they don’t hate that I’m fat.

I sat there racking my brain trying to figure out how in the hell I can take my power back in situations like these and I came up with an idea. If these people are going to come into my space, into my business and demand my time, I’m going to charge them the same rate–no, higher than I charge everyone else who wants my business on my work time.

So I wrote Douglas/ Steve back and I told him that he’s speaking to me on my business account and I’m sure that he can appreciate that time is money when I’m on the clock. And if he’s looking for my time, it’s going to cost him. So I linked my PayPal account and told him my rates. I’m in charge of this interaction. If he pays me, I’ll tell him about why interactions like these are unwelcome and make me feel unsafe but I don’t have the energy to do the work for all of these men for free.

So here we are. I’ve saved that email into my notes app on my phone and I’ll, from here on out, just copy and paste it to every single man on the internet who wants my time and attention for free.

I haven’t really re-read this post or edited it. I’m just free-writing so I can sort out my thoughts. This isn’t the best/ most eloquent thing I’ve ever written, I just needed to get it out of me so that this bad, objectified feeling doesn’t live inside of me.

Thank you for listening.
I know there are a lot of points of nuance that I haven’t covered. If you’re interested in a conversation about this topic, don’t worry, I probably won’t charge you for it. *wink*

XOXO, Lib

And as always, if you feel the need to come in here and #notallmen me, please know that you’re a part of the problem. Men who know that they aren’t guilty of the behavior that I’m describing and are confident in themselves don’t need my validation which is what this all comes down to, honestly. 

My Identity, My Choice

If I could have two wishes, the first one would be that everyone who thinks about telling me that I should stop identifying as fat would decide not to do that and to, instead, do some work on themselves about why the way I identify bothers them so much. The second wish would obviously be unlimited wishes but that’s a given, so.

I’ve had this conversation a lot lately, so if you feel like this post is targeted at you in particular, know that it is not. It is the result of our conversation + the conversations I’ve had with at least six other people in the past few months.

Every few weeks I get a comment or a DM that says something along the lines of, “I wish you wouldn’t call yourself fat. You’re so much more than that.”

And to that I just want to say, “Well, Linda, you’re so much more than your multi-level-marketing business but you’re still out here talking about how Tupperware has changed your life every single day and no one’s patting you on the shoulder talking about how they wish you’d focus more on your wholeness as a person and not just this singular facet.” Or, maybe they are. I don’t know. I just assume they’re not because it would never cross my mind to tell someone that they’re not allowed to present themselves in a way that makes them feel comfortable. But here we are!

IMG_3554
Photo by Blue Muse Photography, Hutchinson KS [Image description: Libby shown from the waist up, laughing and showing off her double chins and arm rolls in her turtleneck sweater. The photo is black and white and Libby’s white sweater fades into the background a bit.]
So, since it’s been coming up so often, I thought I’d address it. Because obviously I assume that people that feel this way are a lot like cockroaches in that if you see one, there’s probably a thousand more hanging back to see if it’s okay to come out and ask you a question. Sorry to compare you to a cockroach! Now taking applications for a different metaphor…

When it comes down to it, what you’re saying is that “fat” is a negative word and you don’t want me to view myself negatively. Now, look, I know you want to think that’s not true. I know you think that you’re very progressive and “body positive” and you’re just saying that I’m a beautiful little multilayered birthday cake of complex greatness and I’m limiting myself by focusing on just this one aspect of my humanity. That’s what you think you’re saying. But do you want to know how I know you’re not doing that? Because you’ve never approached me about any other identifier that I use. No one has ever said to me, “Libby I wish you wouldn’t call yourself a woman, you’re so much more than that.” Or, “why do you insist on introducing yourself as a writer? Don’t you know there’s so much more depth and beauty to your special little sacred soul?” It has never happened, not even once.

The conversation is always a bit different but the sentiment is generally the same. Essentially, it’s a lot of compliments and about seventeen sentences about their own body positive journey that always wraps up with never outright saying but definitely saying, “I feel uncomfortable when you say ‘fat’ and for some reason, my comfort is more important than actually doing the work to figure this ish out.”

There can be a lot of different reasons for why a person may feel squidgy about me using the F word–and it’s going to be different for everyone. For most people it’s because “fat” is a bad word. I get that. I grew up in America in the 90’s, too. But I’ve done a lot of work to de-weaponize that particular word.
For me, “fat” is a descriptor like any other physical descriptor. Last month, I met someone for the first time and they said, “Wow! You’re tall!” And neither of us thought anything about it because “tall” is not a bad word. Ergo, theretofore, whathaveyou, “fat” also is not a bad word, to me anyway. I mean, it has been weapon used against me for my entire life but I’m trying to neutralize it.

I know the rest of the world isn’t ready to accept “fat” as a neutral descriptor but unless and until people start treating it as such, nothing is going to change. And we’re world changers around here, don’t forget that. So we say “fat” when we mean it. That also means we don’t say “fat” when what we mean to say is “gross,” “lazy,” “temporarily bloated,” “a jerk”. Let’s just all around try to be more accurate with our language–it’s vast and capable of so much!

The thing is, I identify in a way that feels right to me. I’ve thought long and hard about the identities that I claim–it’s not lost on me that I identify with privileged groups as well as marginalized groups. I’m a fat, queer, cis, white woman. That’s where I’m at right now. That is going to shift and change shape and grow overtime but that’s where I am today. The point is, I don’t claim “fat” offhand anymore than any of my other identities. I make myself say it. I stand in it. I stand in your discomfort and mine because that’s where change brews.

If there’s something in you that feels uncomfortable about the way that another person identifies, I want to challenge you to do some introspection before you start handing out life advice.
Ask yourself why something that has nothing to do with you at all challenges you in such a way and really spend some time in that discomfort–it’s fertile land.

Then, do some research. I loved this piece that Margot Meanie wrote about reclaiming “fat”. Corissa from Fat Girl Flow wrote about her experience with the word. J from ComfyFat wrote this amazing piece about how fatphobia kept them from being able to deal with the question of gender for a really long time. The entire She’s All Fat Podcast back catalogue: listen to it, learn it, embody it, become a patreon. Plus there’s so much more. The Fat Acceptance Movement is booming. What a time to be alive!

And lastly, please just be mindful of the free labor that you’re asking others to do for you. People come to me to have this conversation all the time and it can really be exhausting. It’s already so tiring to operate in a world in a marginalized body in the first place and you come home and just want to chill out on social media in your sweatpants that you like to pretend aren’t covered in holes. Then, to be faced with someone who needs you to, yet again, defend your humanity and the right to your own identifiers for free–it’s too much sometimes! There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be Googled.

I know, I know I sound mad. I’m not mad, really. I’m just… tired. And there’s a lot of pent up frustration that’s been dying to get out on this particular topic. In fact, 98% of the reason that I’m writing this post right now is so that I’ll just be able to air drop it to the next 600 people that come up to me acting like they invented the repulsive, reductive colloquialism, “Don’t call yourself fat. Your body has fat. Your body has fingernails and you don’t call yourself fingernails.” You didn’t invent that and you’re the third person to say it to me this week–quit pretending like it just popped into your head. Sorry, tangent.

Anyway, all this to say, believe it or not, I’m excited to be talking more about this topic on my blog! I really am. I resisted against talking about fattness for so long but now that I’ve started to discuss it, it feels like it’s really resonating with people and I’m so stoked about that! I know this particular post feels like I’m not having fun or you’re not allowed to ask me about this stuff. That’s not the case at all. It’s just that, you know, if we’re strangers on the internet, I don’t want to be the place where you aim a bunch of unresolved body issues.

If we have a relationship IRL and you want to ask me questions, please know that nothing warms my heart like you wanting to know how to understand my existence better. Truly. I love you all. Thank you.

XOXO, Lib

 

Aziz Ansari is Everyman

So, by now you know that the way I usually deal with topics that frustrate and overwhelm me is to hang back and let things settle before I am able to properly express my thoughts on it. And then more often than not, after that, it feels like too much time has passed so I don’t ever say anything at all. Today’s not that day. Today I want to talk to you about the whole Aziz Ansari… situation… that is going all over the internets.

And I’m going to speak to you as though you are familiar with this story. Not because I want to alienate anyone who isn’t caught up but because I don’t want to spend all of this space waiting to get to my point. Suffice it to say that a woman who is going by Grace, told her story to a website and the internet has (surprise of all surprises) differing opinions on the matter. If you haven’t read the original article, I definitely think you should so that you’re able to draw your own conclusions.

Now, there’s so much conversation to be had about this topic and I’ll never get to it all but I’m grateful that the conversation is happening. On my best, most optimistic days, I feel like these are just the birthing pains that we will inevitably have to labor through in order to give birth to a new order, a revolution of sorts. You know, like the world Oprah talked about in her speech at The Golden Globes.

To me, the most frustrating and, frankly, surprising part of the conversation surrounding this situation is the way that people are accusing Grace of attempting to derail the #metoo movement. For reference, here’s one opinion article that I don’t understand at all. This befuddles me because, to me, this situation is the epitome of what the #metoo movement stands for. I haven’t heard a single sexual misconduct allegation that resonates more with me or my friends. No one has ever invited me up to a hotel room and asked me for a massage–implying that my career is at stake if I don’t participate. It happens–I’m not saying it doesn’t happen or it’s not vitally important to discuss. I’m just saying that story doesn’t resonate with me or my friends in the exact same ways that this one does.  And let me be clear–Grace isn’t making any legal claims against Aziz. She’s not the one who put labels on her encounter. She never called it assault. She called it a violation–which is completely valid. She’s not calling for everyone to boycott his work or for him to lose his jobs. How you want to engage with Aziz Ansari going forward is entirely up to you.

Grace saw Aziz wearing a Time’s Up pin during his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes and she was smacked in the face with memories of that night when he didn’t give even half of one shit about her comfort, safety, or pleasure. I assume that her internal monologue went something like, “Oh hell no! He doesn’t get to pretend he’s a good guy!” I understand this feeling. I, too, have swallowed that rage every time a person who coerced my friend into having sex with them posts something on Facebook about what a good feminist they are. It’s white-hot. It makes me want to claw their eyes out.

The encounter that Grace and Aziz had is so familiar–so maddening that many of my friends are completely unable to even begin to engage with it. It hits too close to home and if we are going to listen to Grace’s story and say that something terrible happened to her, we’ll have to admit that terrible things have happened to us. And we’re not ready for that. That requires a lot of labor that, frankly, we’re too weary to deal with. What’s not #metoo about that? That’s the #metoo-est.

I can’t even respond to the people who keep saying, “but why did she stay???” Is this not a refrain that we’ve been hearing since the beginning of time? Since men have been mistreating women, there’s always been someone to ask why she let it continue without even questioning why he did. It wasn’t until she finally convinced him to leave her alone for just a little bit that her mind was able to wrap itself around how messed up the situation actually was. And when she had that clarity, she got herself out of the situation.

He kept her in defense-mode for so long–trying to deal with the immediate need in the moment, unable to see the big picture or an exit strategy. It’s so easy to say from the outside, with our perceived omniscient point of view, “well here is exactly when she should have just up and left.” But that’s really easy for us to say when we know how the situation ended up playing out. But in the moment her brain is doing this thing where she wants to maintain this view of him that she’s always had. As a good guy. The good, feminist guy that he works hard to present to the world–the guy that feels safe. She even said, “I don’t want to feel forced because then I’ll hate you, and I’d rather not hate you.”

I’m not here to discuss the legalities of this situation. First of all, I don’t know the law and that’s not my job. But secondly, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that the bar for a good sexual experience be set a little bit higher than Not Rape. If this was a situation of Aziz just not being a good lay, I’d miss this whole conversation. But that’s not what’s happening here. She wasn’t saying, “I had the worst night of my life because Aziz uses this move during sex that I called ‘The Claw’.” She was dismissed and used and disregarded. She was in a situation with a person who didn’t want to have sex with her–he just wanted to have sex period. Preferably in front of a mirror.

She used her words on at least two noted occasions to express her discomfort–immediately following one of these occasions he asked for oral sex. She used her body language repeatedly to deflect and leave the situation and he overcame every obstacle that she threw at him like a game. Eventually she would either tire out and relent or be… I don’t know… charmed? Is that really what he thought? I don’t know.
This is when I remind you that body language–yes, is a valid form of communication. And for someone who makes a living out of relaying the subtleties of human communication, Aziz Ansari, of all people, was well equipped to speak that language if he’d bothered to.

It’s been really easy for a lot of the men on my social media to call out the things that Harvey Weinstein did or what Louis C.K. did because it’s so cut and dry. And because they can’t really relate to these men. Those men are big and powerful and they know it and they wield it like a weapon in order to get what they want. But Aziz wasn’t doing that. He was just being a regular guy on a date. He just really, really wanted to have sex with this girl. And he was so wrapped up in making that happen that it didn’t even occur to him that she might not be on the same page. A fact that he only reiterated when he made his statement, “It was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned.” It wasn’t even until the next day that he even considered how she was feeling on their date. Imagine if he’d taken her feelings into consideration that night? He wouldn’t be dealing with this mess right now. And, while I can’t claim to know what she was going to be into that night, her account read as though she might have even been into it if he cared to consider what she wanted.

The thing is that Aziz presents himself as a feminist. An ally to and a safe person for women. And I believe that he sees himself as that, too. I think we’re all constantly learning and constantly making mistakes and finding education in them. We’re also able to learn from other people’s mistakes. If Aziz wants to present as a feminist ally–we’re going to need him to be the example, here. Someone has to fall on their sword for the cause and, while I hate that it’s him, he’s actually the right one to do it. I love Aziz Ansari. I think he’s funny and he’s smart and, you know what? I’m going to continue to like him after this. Well, you know, at least how everything stands as it is right now.

Male Feminists: This is where you put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. Because if you believe the things you say you believe, you’re going to have to prove it and let this learning opportunity happen. Coercion is not consent and coercion was what was happening that night. Consent is an ongoing conversation throughout an encounter. It doesn’t have to be sexy or flirty. It just has to be present.
“Where do you want me to fuck you” is not asking for consent. It’s assuming consent.
“Can I…”, “Do you want to…”, “Is this okay?” All good places to start.

So, friends. When a girl comes over and compliments your marble countertops, just say thank you and don’t take it as an invitation to her entire body.

 

Photo by Das Sasha on Unsplash

Use Your Power for Good

Yesterday I saw on Facebook where Ijeoma Oluo challenged people to list their privileges as an exercise to start out the new year. I was really moved by this but I didn’t list mine right away. I wanted to really think about the privileges that I have in this life. So many. Countless. Way more than I’ll ever be aware of, truly. I wanted to take part. It’s a great way to lead by example and this is something I think we should all do.

“Privilege” is one of those words that creates a lot of immediate feelings. It’s really easy to get defensive. It’s really easy to rest on an outdated idea. You do not have to own your own private island in order to be considered privileged and you do not need to apologize for your privileges. No, honestly, we should be using them. They’re invisibility cloaks that can get us into spaces where anyone else wouldn’t blend in so well or could all together be rejected at the gate.

Privileges are the things that help us to move through this life with a little bit more ease. That doesn’t mean life is easy for you just because you’re privileged. Life is hard for all of us in so many different ways but our privileges are the areas where we struggle less than someone else. That’s fair, right? I’m drowning in privilege. I’m here to admit that.

There are also a lot of privileges that I don’t have. I’m a female in a fat body. A member of the lgbtq+ community with a low-ish income, high student loans and an invisible chronic illness–for example.

I don’t point those out because I necessarily feel like those things warrant special treatment or anything. But I do think that other people who don’t have privileges that you or I might have deserve a little extra space in those areas.

I am wondering if there are people out there who need more explanation about why those things make life a little bit harder to be heard and to move through the world or why the things on my privilege list belong there. If so, let me know. I’m happy to write more about that.

I’m white,
cis-gendered,
femme,
and hetero-passing.
I’m college educated,
part-time employed
and married to a partner who has a stable job.
I have access to educational resources at my fingertips.
I’m a natural born citizen in the country where I live,
English speaking,
not disabled,
neurotypical,
and I was raised Christian.
I’m surrounded by powerful feminist allies.
I have access to shelter and all of my immediate domestic needs.
I have a relative sense of safety in the world
and a complete sense of safety in my home.

Some of the things on this list are things that I just happened upon in my life. Other things I worked for–my education, for example, but there were a lot of things that worked together to get me to college. Trust me, I didn’t try that hard to get there. I didn’t even know how to try hard at the time. As Ijeoma Oluo pointed out in her original post, “not one is due 100% to my efforts and none of them deserve all of the advantages that they receive over people without these things.”

I think that the power in listing these things lies in the ways that once we recognize them–we can then begin to see the privileges that others do not have. And in that way–we can use our powers for good. Infiltrate these spaces where others are not welcome and bring them along if we can. If someone hands you a mic, go on ahead and pass it along to someone less represented than yourself if you know they have something important to say. Vote in ways that lift these people up. This is how we all get on the same playing field.

What’s on your list? You can leave it in the comments or in our private Facebook group.

XOXO, Lib

What I Mean When I Say, “Men Are Trash.”

Why are we so afraid of anger? Anger is, I think, one of the most useful emotions we have in our toolbox. It’s one of the best motivators in this life. Second only to cheese, I think.
Think of all the human rights organizations that wouldn’t exist if someone didn’t first get really friggin’ angry about a certain type of injustice. Anger is important and can be used to do huge and world-changing things. It’s powerful and can be and definitely is often times mishandled but just because it has been used incorrectly does not make it wrong. Changing the lives of millions isn’t the only way to use anger correctly but it’s an easy example.

We are particularly uncomfortable with an angry woman. We can’t handle the thought of an angry woman, can we? What do we do with angry women? We shut them down. We say “I can’t listen to you when you’re talking like that.” We say, “why are you so angry?” We say, “be nice.” We police her tone. We write her off as a bitch.

What do we say to angry men? We say, “Oh, he was upset when he said that. He didn’t mean it.” We say, “he has a powerful presence.” We say, “he’s just telling it like it is.” We bend over backwards to try to hear past the anger to the message at the bottom of it all. We do a lot of work to dig deep and give him the benefit of the doubt.

At the end of last week, I made an offhanded statement in frustration that “ugh. Men are trash.” Which, if you look back over the past few centuries weeks in the news you might find that men haven’t really been doing a great job of proving themselves not to be trash. It’s just, I mean… UGH! It doesn’t feel great. It makes us angry. It should make us angry. If we were making a list of times when it’s okay to be angry, finding out that we’ve been supporting sexual predators for decades is certainly on the list.

I got responses ranging from, “you’re a reverse sexist” to, “how does your husband feel about what you just said??” to “I’m really trying to hear your heart but it’s hard because I’m just so hurt by what you said.” They said that I’m smarter than that and other patronizing excuses that patriarchy uses over and over and over again to dismiss and quiet down angry women.

This frustrates me because I really thought that the venue that I chose for this statement was one primarily filled with people who would actually get what I’m trying to say. It’s not the kind of thing that I would just say to anyone. But they call themselves feminists and allies. Though, if there’s anything we’ve learned after the Louis C.K. reveal, it’s that even our allies don’t get it as much as we want them to. As much as they say they want to. They just can’t get it.

So, now that I have the time, energy, and patience to do so, let me do the work of unpacking what I mean when I say, “men are trash” to a group of teammates:

First of all, if I was trying to make an intelligent and mind-changing argument, I absolutely wouldn’t have used a three-word sweeping generalization.
I will also admit that I was expecting too much when I thought that male allies would be able to mentally put the “some” at the beginning of the sentence. It was also a lot to expect them to have the self-awareness required to know whether or not that statement described them.

“Men are trash” means I’m so exhausted: I’m so tired from my regular everyday life of being a woman in the world. And then on top of that, you throw in how every single day we hear about new ways that men we’ve been supporting for years have been using that support as leverage to force women into degrading and dehumanizing situations. Situations that we’ve all been in and re-live over and over and over again every time we hear about it or think about it or fall asleep and have dreams and then wake up thinking about it and then, oh! What’s that? Another one? Cool. Yeah. Of course. Just pile that on. Nothing surprises us anymore. Just keep re-traumatizing us over and over again. It’s fiiiiiiine.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled that this is happening. People should be held accountable for their abuse of others no matter how late it is. I’m willing to sit through the re-traumatization as much as I can as long as the world is changing because of it. Back when it was just happening with no consequences (you know, like when a sexual predator was elected to the presidency?), it was too much.

Then, in a moment of exasperation–at the end of one of these days at the end of one of these weeks I’ll say not the most intelligent and enlightening thing in the whole world. Please and thank you for telling me about how sad you are that I didn’t bend over backwards to make you feel good about yourself and how you’re the exception. Yes. That is very helpful. You’re out here doing the Lord’s work. Where would I be without you?

Even in our anger, even in our pain, we are expected to accommodate and smile and curtsey and offer tea and pray quietly that you’ll hear us. But you kind of can’t really hear us because we don’t sound serious enough because it’s all covered in a delicate sweet glaze and how angry can we really be if we’re serving you sugar? But then when we serve you our truth, you tell us we’re too much. You can’t hear us through our tone and your hurt feelings. Well, what do you want from us?

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Drawing from Ambivalently Yours

A man can shoot up a public space and the world grasps their collective pearls and says, “Oh, he was hurting or sick.” Meanwhile, I have to beg for a pass to express frustration in the presence of those who claim to be on my side. GAH! It’s so unsurprising, though, to those of us who have lived a life in a female body that you almost don’t think to mention it. Just a day in the life for us.

I am no longer responding to men who ask me to educate them for free. I’ll write here on my blog where I’m in charge of saying whatever I want whenever I want to but I’m no longer responding to men who want me to make them feel better about their advocacy without first sharing my PayPal information. I don’t have enough energy left in a day to not be getting paid for this labor. And if you’re the kind of person who needs me to personally come to you and assure you that you’re not trash because you can’t decide that on your own, well, then you’re kind of trash.

XOXO,
Exhausted Lib

Oh, and, PS
My husband doesn’t care that I say “men are trash” on the internet for the following reasons:
1. He’s not the boss of me and I don’t have to answer to him.
2. He knows that statement doesn’t describe him.
3. He knows that, yeah, some men are certainly proving to be extra trash these days. 

 

Lead photo by W on Unsplash