In yesterday’s post I spoke a lot about how “this could happen here, and oh look, a shooting,” but as I sit here watching America’s Got Talent, I am thinking about my thoughts today and I am realizing just how much work I have to do to heal.
It’s not that I am still in this “Victimhood” moment, it’s that I am in this…” I am genuinely afraid to ever let another man touch me again,” mentality.
This is not something I think will ever go away, I think I am genuinely always going to be afraid that the next man I am in a relationship with, is going to hit me, because every man I’ve ever been with, has been a man who abused me…in monumental ways.
I’ve learned a lot about the kind of person I want in my life, and honestly, Honest to God, the kind of man that I think I could settle down with, isn’t the kind of man that I think I’m ready for right now.
I would honestly be quite happy with a house, somewhere on a river bank, with a huge piece of land that was all mine, a few dogs and maybe some cats, and my blog. Lonely as that may be, I would rather that, than ever take the risk that any man would lay his hands on me without my consent, ever again.
The last time I saw my tattoo artist, he wrapped his arms around me from behind, and it was so utterly inappropriate and violating, that it just re-triggered this idea that my body, my personal vessel, the thing that carries my soul, is open season. That any man can do whatever he pleases with my body, when he wants without my permission.
When you hit a woman…
Every single time a man does something that is violating or offensive to me I want to have the strength to say “no, stop, please do not, I do not want this,” and all I end up doing is putting on the best act of my life until I can get away to cry.
I don’t even fight back now, because for the better part of my life, I have learned that boys don’t ask permission before they wrap their arms around you or grab your breasts. They are sure as fuck not going to ask permission to hit you, kick you, beat you or rape you because it’s assumed if you smile at them or say I love you, that you’re giving permission to touch you.
I’ll never forget the story of a how a girl in this city got her nick name, “Two Smokes,” all because a boy made her give him a blow job, in return he gave her two cigarettes and told all her friends that she’d do anything for “Two Smokes.” She was passed around after that, boy after boy just tossing smokes at her whenever she walked by. I met her exactly once, and never saw her again after I heard that story.
One guy – who I laughed about a lot on Twitter now – asked me if I wanted children, while his dick was inside of me, it hit me this mother fucker is really trying to get me pregnant. No one has run away faster than I did, after shoving him off of me and saying “absolutely not”. I yelled at him for awhile, and then I ran away, made it home in time to shower and pray to God that I was grateful neither of us got off.
I thank God that same man who gave Two Smokes her name didn’t get me pregnant or give me a disease. He had a name for all of us, and I have one for him, “Abuser”.
It’s these kinds of behaviors that make us think that the next guy is going to do it again, so yes you are going to have to work harder for our attention, yes we’re going to lie to you and yes we are going to shy away when you touch us, because we’re learning that we have the right to say no.
I say this because I am still utterly haunted by the behavior of that “Comedian” Aziz Ansari, who was essentially slapped on the wrist and told “not to do it again.” Women say no in a thousand ways, and the louder we yell, cry and stomp our feet the deeper the trauma.
So no it’s not that all women just arbitrarily hate men, it is that we have been genuinely terrified by those who are considered the “stronger sex”.
I will never forget my seventh grade counselor who suggest we think of “sexist” words, words that begin with the word “MEN” or “MAN”. At the time I thought it was a terrible lesson, but the truth is that if you are honest, men have had far too much power for far too long.
One of my favorite actors in the entire world is Chris Evans, another is Jeremy Renner, but we give them a pass for calling Scarlet Johanson a slut, because well a) it was a joke and b) it was Chris Evans and he’s practically a saint.
Now I’ve given Scar Jo a lot of hate throughout the last couple of years – okay not hate, because I think she’s brilliant personally, but a lot of shade, yeah let’s go with shade. The truth is that I do think that she should make room for artists of color and different nationality when the stories she portrays calls for it, HOWEVER, as a woman who has been slut shamed? I’m super not okay with my favorite actors – or any man frankly – using that language to describe a woman, even if that woman is fictional.
But it’s okay, because it’s Chris Evans, for the record he’s actually blocked on Twitter.
It’s this mentality, “it’s Chris Evans, or J. Renner”, that make younger men think that this behavior is okay, and thus the cycle continues, so here’s a suggestion, if you are going to be a good guy, be a good guy. Be the guy who tells the truth and says “fuck it, yes, I did that and I fucked up and I am willing to make amends to do better.” Be the guy that calls out the douchebag for his behavior, and stands up for the girl from now on.
Be the kind of man you wish you could be, by actually making the attempt to be that guy, it may not change your life and turn you into an award winning billionaire, but at least you’ll have your self respect and people won’t be shaking their finger at you for picking up a gun and murdering innocent men, women and children just because you had a bad day.
I’m super over this idea that Mental Health is to blame for the behaviors of people with weapons, and I am super tired of people forgetting that our bodies can be used as weapons, and just because they can be, doesn’t mean they should be.
Every time you hit a woman, you give us one more girl, who is learning to stand up for herself. Every time you hit a woman, you give us one more girl who sees what people who look like you are capable of, and you give us one more reason to sit back and shake our heads and decide that we don’t want you in our life.
If you want to be apart of our world, perhaps you should start respecting our bodies, minds and souls by respecting the boundaries we set. Be willing to have those hard conversations and hear us when we show you that something isn’t right, be willing to listen when we share our experience, and rather than trying to fix it for us, be willing to understand that after everything we’ve been through we’ll cut you off without a second thought if you show us that you are capable of being the kind of man to hit, beat, rape, insult or yell at a woman because you know she’s “strong enough to take it.”
It’s unfortunate that so many great men feel “punished” for the acts of so many weak men, but if you want to change that, you have to start showing us that you are out there, instead of demanding our respect, you need to start sharing your own experience with us and letting us have room to share ours, as openly and honestly as we need to .
Girls all over the world are opening up seed pods hidden deep within themselves, filled with the potential of “what if I could?” and they are learning “what if” can absolutely mean “I can totally do that without help,” which means that we do not actually “need” to have a man in our life.
We don’t need to have women in our lives either, for that matter – because abuse definitely goes both ways. If you are in our life it’s because we chose to have you there, because we want you there. We as humans choose who to surround ourselves with, so if you want to be a part of our life, perhaps you should take some more time away to decide whether or not you deserve to even want to be there.
Thank you for coming to my Brown Girl She Talk.
All my love,
Devon J Hall