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

 

A Post About My Heart and Soul and Money

It’s important for me that you know that I never sit down here to write to you without doing some real work, first. This is a job. I feel like I’m working for you and I’m working for me and I’m doing what it takes to feed my soul. And when I’m feeding my soul… maybe my soul helps to feed you a little bit. That’s my goal. That’s what my intuition is telling me is happening.

Most of the time that work involves seeming like I’m doing nothing. If I come up with an idea and I’m still thinking about it the next day, it’s a contender for a blog post. If, after that next day, I’m still mentally discovering new things about that topic, I’ll sit down and write out a bit of a draft to see if I can actually take it anywhere.

That’s where I’m at right now. I have been thinking for the past week or so about telling you that I’m always giving you the soft parts of me even when it might not always seem like it.

Even when I’m just doing a roundup of the things that happened last month. Or when I’m posting a Meet Me Monday interview. Or when I’m writing a book review. I’ve never written to you without unzipping myself and laying a piece of myself out there for scrutiny. I do that on purpose.


So, the reason that I wanted to tell you about that is because I want to talk about something that people don’t talk about often: money and how I make it. I went and got some new blog sponsorship. If you look down at the side bar of my site, you’ll see some ads there. I try to make sure that I only team up with brands that I think you’ll actually resonate with, buy from or care about. I’m always looking for new companies and if you have some favorites that you want me to know about, let me know because I want to provide you with things you’ll actually use.

After I write out a draft, I’ll let it sit for a little bit. I’ll come back to it the next day or a few days later. I’ll either edit the crap out of it–carving away at it like a sculptor until I’m standing here completely in love with what has showed up… or I’ll feel like what I wrote, originally, is exactly what I want to say. And I’ll just hit publish and wait for the praise, and money to come rushing in to me (just kidding, that has never happened).

More often than not, I’ll see that there’s really nothing of much use here, today, and this won’t be published at all. But it wasn’t a waste because every minute spent working on this frees up space and air to create something that is waiting to get born. It’s all a part of the gestation process and I’m not mad at it. I trust the process. I’ve been doing this long enough to know what I need and what I’m capable of.

The thing is, though… I often wonder if anyone knows how hard I and others like me work and how much effort goes into this job. I’m not saying that because I feel like I’m not getting the recognition I deserve or anything. That’s not the point of this post at all. It’s just that sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know so just in case, here’s what goes into creating content. And not just here on the blog but on my Instagram, Facebook, and Facebook group, too. Everyone says that bloggers should have an email list with exclusive content just for list subscribers but I don’t know, man. I don’t know if I have the emotional energy to create another thing. And I’m not sure I’m even mastering what I’m doing as it is. Not only that but who in their right mind wants to sign up for another email list?

That’s why I have these ads along the side of my page. So that, by chance, you might want to go place an order from someone and then, six months later, I’ll get a deposit in my account which equals, usually, about 8% of whatever you spent on that other website. It’s a very round-about way of making any money but it’s what’s available.
The Amazon affiliate program is better because more people shop with Amazon and they pay out more often (once a month) but I feel icky putting Amazon links into my posts. I really don’t believe in Amazon but it feels like if I want to make any money (usually only enough to buy a latte while I’m working on a blog post at the coffee shop), this is the route that I have to take. And I want to get paid because if I don’t get paid, I’m going to have to go back to working for someone else. I’m nervous to do that, though, because history tells me that when I do that, I get sick and I don’t thrive and I never have the energy to create. I’m afraid that if I do that, I won’t be able to write or paint and it might kill me. I know that sounds dramatic and maybe it is. It probably is. So, anyway, what I’m saying is that I’ve got to get paid and the only way to get paid is by schlepping goods from companies that don’t hate the very most and feeling a little bit icky about it.

But, I kind of feel like, there’s got to be a better way. Right? Like, is it completely unreasonable to break the mold a little bit?

I have an idea. I have a few ideas, so hear me out. I decided, you know, what if instead of posting a bunch of links that I hope you might maybe buy from, I’ll just put a link up there on the right side of the screen (on a desktop, if you’re on a phone, it’ll be at the bottom of this post) where you can help me out if you want to and if you don’t, that’s okay. Don’t feel like you have to. I just wanted to be straight forward with you and allow you to make your support as easy as humanly possible. This isn’t me asking for money. This is me making it easier for you to support one of the artists that you believe in. And if there are other artists that you want to support, hey just ask them for their paypal information. I promise you, they’ll be delighted. Consider it like a tip jar of sorts. I got this idea from Staci Jackson at My Friend Staci. She has a tip link on her site as well.

Also, I have an online shop in the works. I’m going to be selling postcards and prints of some of my work. That’s coming in the next several weeks and I promise to keep you updated as that comes about.

Thanks for always being great and for hearing me out when I come to you to talk about stuff like money.

XOXO,
Lib

To Block or Not to Block

Social media, you guys. Sosh meeds as my close, personal friend favorite podcaster Phoebe Lynn Robinson calls it (though I’m not exactly sure how she spells it). There’s sooo much debate on whether or not it’s good for you or whether or not you should be using it or how it’s ruining our whole world or how it’s bringing us all together or how it’s ruining the need for high school reunions or whatever. I’m not here to engage in that conversation. I love social media. I love Facebook and I love Instagram and you can pry them from my cold, dead hands.

Yeah, though. Yeah. There are some parts that make it a little unbearable. Like that one older woman that used to babysit you when you were a kid and somehow and mysteriously manages to end every single comment thread she engages with (and she signs her name which is endearing). Or that one guy who calls you a “libtard” with such frequency that you are thinking about changing your name to it but you remember him as a fun guy from your youth, so you remain Facebook friends with him even though everything he posts and every comment he makes causes a visceral reaction in you. Or that person who you don’t really know that well but they’re a friend of a friend and you feel kind of obligated to keep that Facebook friendship even though sometimes you wake up in the morning and see that they’ve sent you a message overnight that reads, “uup?” And finally the very random men who pop up in DM’s with lyrical attempts to sweep me off my feet that read, “you gat a beautiful smile just like you.” Or, “look how awesome you are looking.” (Both very real messages that were sent to me in the past few weeks.) One of my most favorite joys in life is screenshotting these messages, sending them to my husband, laughing at them, and then smashing that block button so these guys can never talk to me again. They don’t care, they’re sending the same, misspelled messages to hundreds of women.

For some, the bad far outweighs the good and they just wash their hands of all of it. That’s great. I, personally, find a lot of joy in my social media–when I am in charge of how I use it and who I talk to. Everyone is different and everyone has something that works for them. For me, I have a technique that I’m excited to pass along to you. Are you ready for it?

Use that block button, baby. Smash that block button. Ruin that block button! Hit “block” often enough that support staff has to send you a message that says, “Are you sure you even want to be using this application?” And you’re like, “Um… well, actually now that you mention it.” But YES! You do want to keep using this application because the behavior of other people doesn’t determine whether or not you get to engage with the fun parts of your life. At least, that’s not the life I’m living.

I know, look, it seems harsh. It comes across like you’re punishing someone for bad behavior but I promise you that’s not what it is. You can’t control other people and I don’t want you to ever try. It’s futile and maddening. But if you are regularly encountering someone online who makes your cortisol levels rise and you never don’t have that feeling when you engage with them–using that block button is an exercise in self care. Do it. Feel that instant relief. It’s not a punishment for them. It has nothing to do with them at all, actually. This is all about you giving yourself permission to enjoy your internet. Yeah, you could just hide them from your feed. And you can try that out as a preliminary measure if you want. But if you’re anything like me, in dark times you’ll find yourself in a place where you know that going over to their page will get you all riled up. You’ll feel so alive! And you’ll fall down a spiral where you’re hate-reading everything they have to say. This is a specific and very real form of self-harm and you’re allowed to put the kibosh on it. Just use that block button.

The beauty of the block button is that no one has to know. No one has to know that you you used it. They don’t get a notification that you’ve blocked them. You never, ever see them on your social media and they’ll never ever see yours. For the most part, you won’t even know that the other person exists at all and both of you will be a little more relaxed (even if they’re not sure why). It’s good for me. It feels good–sometimes. Sometimes it feels good in the way that cleaning your room feels good, it’s not fun but you’re going to sleep so well tonight.

Now, look, there is a chance that one day far from now, they might be able to find out that you’ve blocked them. The only time they’ll know that someone has blocked them is if you’re both commenting on a thread and someone directly addresses you without tagging you in their comment (which is pretty rare amongst most FB savvy people). They’ll see that person’s comment and be like, “weird, I don’t see Libby commenting on this thread, I wonder why Marcia mentioned her…” And then they might be like, “that’s strange” and move along, or they’ll do a little bit of mental gymnastics to determine that you’ve blocked them. Either way, I hope they see that their internet life has been a little more peaceful without you in it and you’ll rest easy knowing that, at least on your end, that’s been true.

Now, I personally don’t believe in blocking people just because you have a difference of opinion. I think it’s important to have conversations and see the other side of the coin. I know, liberals allowing discourse? I can hardly believe it, myself. (I’ve had people leave comments on this very blog where they didn’t agree with what I’ve had to say and their comment will say something like, “You’ll probably block this from even appearing on your site…” Just know that I allow every single comment to appear on this site. That’s my policy. We never have to agree on everything–in fact I prefer that we don’t, that’s a very boring way to live. The only time I’ve ever denied a comment is when I can tell it was written by a spam bot. Don’t be a spam bot and I’ll let your comments through–I promise.) But I think respectful, honest conversations between people is a crucial part of being a whole person. But if you can’t have a respectful, honest conversation with a person (be it your fault or theirs), let it go. Block them. It’s okay. It’s good for everyone.

What do you think? What’s your unfriend/ block policy? Do you think mine is too harsh? Let me know!

Feature photo by Mikaela Shannon on Unsplash

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