Search

The Girl with the Daffodil Tattoo

A Welsh girl let loose in a wild world

Category

Empowering Girls and Young Women

Runs in the Family

Love, love, love this song.

Runs in the Family
My friend has problems with winter and autumn.
They give him prescriptions and shine bright lights on him.
They say it’s genetic, they say he can’t help it, they say you can catch it – but sometimes you’re born with it.
My friend despite he gets shakes in the night and they say that there’s no way that they could have caught it in time takes his toll on him.
It is traditional.
It is inherited.
Predispositional
Day I’ve been wondering what is inside of me, who can I blame for it?
I say it runs in the family
This family that carries me to such great lengths to open my legs up for anyone who’ll have me. It runs in the family, I came by it honestly, do what you want who knows it might fill me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Fill me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
My friend’s depressed she’s a wreck, she’s a mess.
They’ve done all sorts of tests & they guess it has something to do with her grandmother’s grandfather’s grandmother saving war soldiers who probably infected her.
My friend has validation in some allergies that she dates back to the 17th century.
Somehow she manages in her misery.
Strips in the city and shows all her best tricks.
I mean well, I’m well well I mean I’m in hell well I still have my health at least that’s what they tell me.
If wellness is this what in hells name is sickness?
But business is business and business runs in the family.
We tend to bruise easily.
Mad in the blood.
I’m telling you cause I just want you to know me – know me and my family.
We’re wonderful folks, but don’t get to close to me cause you might knock me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Knock me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Mary have mercy now look what I’ve done but don’t blame ’cause I can’t help where I come from.
Running is something that we’ve always done well and mostly I can’t even tell what I’m running from.
Run from their pity, from responsibility.
Run from the country and run from the city.
I can run from the law, I can run from myself.
I can run from my life, I can run into debt.
I can run from it all, I can run til I’m gone.
I can run for the office and run for my cause.
I can run using every last ounce of energy.
I cannot, I cannot, I cannot run from my family.
They’re hiding inside of me.
Don’t change my life.
Help me if you might but don’t tell my family.
They’d never forgive me.
They’d say that I’m crazy.
But they would say anything if it would shut me up
Shut me up
Shut me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Shut me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Me up
Advertisements

The Audacity to Create/Overcoming Self-Silencing

 

“Never let you’re lack of talent stop you from having fun.”

A motto I’ve developed recently for permitting myself to have the audacity to express myself. There’s a voice in my head that says:

Who are you to think that what YOU have to say is important? So arrogant. Shut up with your first world problem moaning.

Oh, you just wrote something? That’s shit. You don’t even know basic things, like how to use affect and effect properly, or what “irony” really is. You’re a sham, a fake, a phoney. A Hypocrite. Get a real fucking job you princess twat face whore fool. No one will ever…

It’s a pretty disturbing voice.

Fallout from a sexual attack: some 2 years later

This is a story about two men. One was my friend, who said he was a feminist (bless him), and another who was his cousin, who sexually harassed me to the point of me losing my fucking shit.

Two years after the incident, I bumped in to my former friend. He looked at me with eyes that glittered with… hatred, anger, upset… hurt. Maybe he’d had a bad day. One of those terrible fucking days, when the rug is pulled from under you and you land on your arse with a jolt and your like “fuuuuuuuuuck”, this is a terremoto of  a day, bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeh can’t deal. Can’t process.

I’d written some shit. What had happened was vile, complicated, as sexual violence always is; some people reacted, others stood by, some sides were taken…

My side is a lonely side. But it’s where I live.

It’s arrogant to think that his look, his terrible look, was because of what I wrote. But, the honest to god’s truth is, I’m still, two years later, so traumatised about what happened, I can’t even bear to look at what I did actually write. To reread. To relive. (There should probably be some hyphens there. Fuck hyphens.)

Maybe I said/wrote something awful about him.

Look again. Face what happened.

No. Not strong enough. Can’t relive. Can’t face.

Did I make a mistake? Of course. The best thing is probably to always retreat, to be cautious, to feel out others. Group dynamics. La manada, pack mentality. Avoid, smile, “Oh, thank you sooooo much for the compliment, I just have to go over there now. Have a great day. Love you so much. Byeeeeeee”.

My former friend, the guy who I had thought was really awesome, is cousin to the person who seriously harassed me. I’d gotten on well with him. I held him in regard. Until what happened, happened.

When “it” happens, “it” being the nightmare you are always trying to anticipate, always trying to avoid… Fight or flight. Only two responses?

No. There is a third response. And that is FREEZE.

You come out of the bathroom. The bar is empty. All your friends are outside. The bad guy, the cousin, is there. He’s blocking your path. He’s telling you a bunch of vile shit.

“I don’t care if your boyfriend is a boxer. I’m going to take you like this, I’m going to do this to you…”.

My soul froze.

It was less than five minutes. It could have been three. Maybe it was even two.

I wish.

wish.

wish.

wish.

WISH.

I wish that I was that strong girl I have shown to the world for so long, fearless. Bullies can smell fear. The wolves come after you.

Anyone who knows me, really knows me, knows that beneath the fachada/façade, I am so sensitive, and that I feel things so deeply. But you cannot show that to the world. No one can. No one, or very few people, can say: “I was vulnerable. I was xxx”. Whether that “xxx” is being fully raped, or just all those other “little attacks”, little femasculations… You wish it didn’t happen. Had never happened. You can wish a lot of things away.

He didn’t rape me. He didn’t lay a finger on me. But to me, the threat was there, the threat that cut me like a knife. And my reaction was from that deep, nightmarish fear, and the lack of support from everyone, the silence of everyone else, was the real nightmare.

What if he’d done more? He could have done anything.

He didn’t. He only went a few steps down that road.

My female friends stopped to say “hello” to him in fiestas. I turned on my heel, went home immediately, betrayed.

“His mother is sick. He’s got so many problems”.

No excuse.

My mother died of cancer. I spent six months living in her house 2 weeks a month. It fucked me up big fucking time. I was a mess for a year after, I still live with the aftershocks.

Did I do weird shit like that? Did I threaten to rape anyone? Did I?

No. I was fucked though, more fucked than I’m ready to admit right here, in this little story. I lived with my then boyfriend at the time. After we parted ways, I told him “Yo, I’m sorry that I was such a cunt while my mum was dying and after.” He was surprised. He was like: “I don’t remember you being like that at all. AT ALL”.

Maybe I want to believe that. After all, we all want to believe that we are “good”, that our position is “right”. Hitler, me, everyone; no one wakes up in the morning and thinks: Today I’m going to be a complete fucker and fuck everyone over that I possibly can. The bigger the arsehole, the better. Mwah hah hah haaaaaa. Not even Tr*mp.

Ok, maybe Tr*mp.

Everyone justifies. People beat their partners. Emotional scars last years. Men, earning more money than women, beat their wives for years, and the woman stays. Women, having power of custody over the kids and all that, can right royally screw a guy by stopping him from seeing his kids. But all abusers see themselves as victims, that’s how they conceptualise the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual breaking of another being. Everyone is right, so everyone must be wrong as well.

Except me. I’m right, right?

After what happened happened, I’ve seen the cousin about 10 times. I completely, utterly,  100% blank him. If he sees me with girls, he calls my name, over, and over, and over again. If he sees me with a guy (he often sees me with male friends. I have a few good eggs that I cherish), he’s silent.

I wish I could punch him in the face, break his nose, nut him. I would love for it to stop. But the idea that violence solves conflicts is a fantasy. He is a man, he has problems, he acts the way he acts. The more violence I show him, the more I am in the wrong, the more he is the victim. Like when he started making unwanted sexual advances to me at lunch time, then a few hours later, he followed me to the toilet, to get me on my own, to sexually harass me. Bullies are so empty inside, they need the easy prey. If he’s calling to me in the street, calling my name, and I go up and twat him, he’s the victim. That is the justification he wants and needs.

So, my former friend looked at me.

I can live the whole rest of my life without seeing that look again.

 

Good Men

There are yawning gender gaps on almost all the attitudinal statements. While at some level the attitudes of men on this don’t surprise me, they still dismay me. That 40% of men agree that women often exaggerate stories about sexual harassment in the workplace (a result somewhat at odds with the response to the question about “lasting impact”). That nearly 40% of men believe discrimination is no longer a serious problem in Australian workplaces. That half of men believe that, compared to previous generations, women have little to complain about in the workplace.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/commentisfree/2017/dec/12/its-an-important-moment-for-women-but-will-metoo-create-lasting-change

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The above paragraph from the Guardian hits a chord with me. Over the past 18 months, I’ve lost 3 romantic relationships with men, after they have told me how “equal” things now are, how “men deserve a fair trial” in the face of rape culture. Every woman has a story of sexual violence. If she hasn’t told you, it means she doesn’t trust you, either because of other experiences or because you have done something that means she thinks you won’t believe her. Women live in constant fear of sexual violence, and change their days accordingly. How much make up one wears, the clothes one chooses, getting a taxi home instead of walking…

I don’t need a man to “get” it. I need a man to be able to close his mouth, open his ears, and engage his brain. Recently, I thought I had found that guy, but, painfully, it turned out I hadn’t.

I have decided to believe all women. This is radical. To believe all women means disbelieving all the bad men, which goes against society’s current of supporting the current power dynamic.

I am aware that, in terms of women’s history, I have won the lottery. Not only am I from a country where I can vote, own property, have my own mortgage and bank account without a man co-signing, but I am white and physically attractive, so even for my generation, I have considerably more power than many.

Many men today pretend to be gender conscious. They cook, they clean, they change nappies; they are also praised by society for doing this. Women sacrifice their whole lives for their children; forget commendation, condemnation for the slightest infraction. Superhuman efforts from mothers receive no praise, with criticism of mothers in the media a subtle constant. High levels of anything? Too many teenage mothers. Too many working mothers. Too much…blame on women.

A big problem I have in my search for a partner is that I get sucked in to believing that a man can see past his privilege, can have a sense of his own power in society; more right to speak, less interrupted, less criticised. (White) male transgressors were drunk, or mentally ill, while women did it because they are bitches, sluts, bossy, headstrong. Men can do no wrong, women can do no right.

I go on dating apps. If I’m honest, what I’m searching for is “true love”, someone to build a long-term relationship with. Someone I can support who supports me. Someone with whom we both bring out the best in each other. Life would be easier if I didn’t have this urge. I’m tired of investing time in getting to know people, trusting them, and being disappointed.

 Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre

 

 

 

Friendship

In the brief periods where I have swiped away on Tinder, I’ve come across familiar faces. I’ve been living in a small town for a few years now, so bumping in to people you know is  inevitable.

One guy was not someone I knew but an ex-lover of my friend who no longer lives here. She had always spoken highly of him, saying he was a nice guy, considerate, interesting to talk to etc. We started messaging.

I felt weird about it. I asked another friend if I should message my original friend and ask her if it was ok. We wrote the message together.

Her response was: “Yeah it is a little weird but I have no plans on coming back to Bilbao any time soon so”. Eventually I told the guy that she had said it was weird and that she was a good friend of mine, I missed her a lot, and that.. well… even though we had planned to go for a drink, I wasn’t in to having a date with him, and if he wanted to meet up as friends for a coffee that was great but if he didn’t that was fine too. His response was: “That made me laugh. I thought we were already meeting up as friends”.

Sigh. Friend. A hard word to define. I love my friends deeply and I often think about what makes a good friend. My friends I usually meet dancing, or in work, not via Tinder or some other dating application. The more life experience I get, the more I realise that I have a different concept or definition of friend than other people.

My ex and I broke up partly because he put his (male) friends and their sexual/racial harassment of women first, before me. I had once said, when the relationship was going well, that I considered him to be my best friend, to which he scoffed, and said he hated the concept. When things were going badly, during an argument he told me that I was less than his friends to him, that they would be at his funeral and I wouldn’t, that our relationship was just temporary. It was said in the heat of the moment and I never really got over it.

When I was a teenager, I had a lot of what I considered to be male friends. One by one they tried it on, I said no (I don’t fancy my friends. Something happens in my head where people are put in to a box marked friends, and like family, they are out of bounds. This also happens if I know a man has a girlfriend. I just don’t fancy him), and suddenly, they didn’t want to hang out anymore. Or I said yes, we became an item for a while, it ran it’s course, and then we didn’t have much contact.

I’ve come to feel that a lot of misunderstandings between men and women come from what I term as the “heterosexual game”. Men are expected to bear the responsibility of being forward, getting rejected etc, pushing and pushing because she says no when she means yes, she wants to be chased, and women are supposed to wait for men to approach them, and give subtle, yet confusing, mysterious signs.

At the bar, a man buys you a drink. You accept. Maybe you are scared of the consequences of rejecting him. You chat. If a man buys me a drink, I buy him one back. I hate that sense of “owing” someone. If I want something more with someone, I say that directly. If I don’t, I don’t. I’m learning to be more and more direct about what I want and what I don’t.

Recently I’ve been trying to rent a room in my apartment. Long story short, someone who I’d briefly met at a party came to see the house. I found him very physically attractive. I told him (via text) that we had decided on someone else for the apartment, one of the reasons being I didn’t want to live with someone I was attracted to. He ignored the advance, which is fair enough, and life continued. My friends here laughed at me: they found it really weird. But in my head, in my logic, it’s weirder to pretend you want to be friends with someone, then make a sexual advance, and then you’re suddenly no longer friends.

Maybe I take friendship too seriously. Maybe I confuse family, and friendship. I don’t know. But I prefer to be honest and transparent. If I fancy someone, and I get the opportunity to say so, I do. I like to make the first move sometimes.

I hate losing friends. I hate it when they move away, or get so wrapped up in a relationship that they don’t have time for you anymore. I hate it when they put up with things in their relationships because they need stability, economic, emotional. A strategy I’ve used for quite a while has been to keep my friends and my love life completely separate, meaning that if I consider someone a friend, I don’t want to lose that friendship in having a sexual relationship with them.

I suppose the reality I avoid facing is that all relationships are transient, that people come in to your life, walk with you some of the way, and then your paths diverge again. That sometimes you are closer to one person, sometimes there’s more distance.

I’ve come to suspect that I am an example of a woman with a strong personality in my own culture, but here I’m like some sort of Queen Kong, putting my foot in it wherever I try to tread, always out of step, always driving on the left; too open about my sexuality, too dry, too loud, too outspoken. I watch Broad City, or Amy Schumer, and I recognise myself in these strong, Quixotic, bad ass bitches, and I like it. Not many other people  seem to, and that is tiring to live with.

I suppose that the trick is, wherever you live, to find people who love you for who you are. I am a strong flavour, and maturing like a fine wine, but I’m reaching a point where I like myself a lot as I am, and if others don’t like it… they can just avoid me. Not everyone is going to like you in this world, and it’s better to decide what kind of person you would like to be and what are your values than trying to please anyone else.

 

 

 

Don’t write about me on your fucking blog!

In the past two weeks I’ve had several people get annoyed at something I wrote on this blog. One person, who I know well, spoke to me in person, and he seemed genuinely upset. The other person contacted me through WhatsApp and he was writing in Spanish (and I in English) so I can’t really tell the tone of the messages. Sometimes things seem stronger in Spanish, when it’s just that the person is really passionate about the topic. I don’t know where the line is and am often criticised for not doing it right, which I then wonder is more about someone else’s interpretation of what I said and their own projections than about what I wrote (in Spanish). “We thought you were being sarcastic when you said ‘have fun’ “. Well, that’s the last time I try to be nice? Lol.

My sponsor says that as long as I don’t use people’s real names and that I’m honest it’s ok to write stuff. Am I honest? I suppose I tell things from my point of view. I suppose my view of myself and my own actions might be the best version, might be the one I paint with the kindest eye. I like that my sponsor reads my blog sometimes and tells me things that I haven’t realised, like “You never mentioned that alcohol figured so much in this when you were talking to me about it”. It makes me realise that I have a super human power of denial growing up trying to ignore the elephant in the room, and that this is affecting my adult life.

No one has ever paid me a penny to write on this blog, so why do I carry on if all it brings me is more conflict, and people telling me I have hurt them? Just after my mother’s death, my cousin said that she had read about Mum’s last months here and I felt that that made us closer. Like somehow, there are things that spoken conversations just don’t cut and…

I think I’ve always preferred to write than to speak. Gives me time to choose the right words, the right way to say something. As a kid I was always playing with typewriters, scribbling in notebooks. My mother wanted to be a writer, I suppose that’s why they were lying around, why no one was speaking. It’s ironic that now my job is helping other people to speak, helping young people to have the confidence to express themselves in their third language, when I myself am not so great at saying what I really want to say in the moment.

I have a fantasy that if I just say in the right words, just explain enough, then people will understand and things will change. My sponsor says that things will change organically and that my pushing and judging (who me? judgemental? 😛 ) will have the opposite affect, but that I just want a fight. I believe this (grudgingly) to be true, and why I carry on talking things through with her. A friend might not mention to you something like that, they might just agree with you, because they want to carry on being your friend and hanging out.

The blog helps me get my thoughts out. Sometimes I feel like they’re trapped, running around my head, and my stomach and back hurt when I get really stressed. Diagnose it as what you will but it’s my reality. The last time I went to a psychiatrist (when I was completely fucked after my mothers death and I wanted to throw myself out the window for months and months because I couldn’t help her) he told me that I should have a baby as my problem was I’m just bored so… I’m done with diagnosis for a while. I thought it was better to let things out here than burden friends with my moaning, or bitch about one friend to another, which I catch myself doing more than I would like.

I’ve often thought that people don’t get annoyed at what is being said unless there’s a grain of truth in it. I remember times when someone was nasty or mean to me, completely out of the blue, and I just thought: this is literally nothing to do with me.

I think people feel a lot of guilt, and that makes them behave defensively (because who likes feeling like shit) which then stops them from admitting they did something wrong so that they can learn from it and try to do better. I like the acronym for shame:

Should

Have

Already

Mastered

Everything

The worst thing about someone getting pissed at what I wrote on here is that it just churns me up so I need to write more. Then I’m in a quandary. I don’t want to hurt the person involved any more, as they’ve told me they were hurt by what I wrote etc etc, but… the need to write is there.

Today someone said to me via text that what I write is on the internet for “everyone” to see. Jesus fucking christ, I thought. My mother was one of the only people who read my blog and she’s dead as a doornail now, so… (dark humour. It’s how I cope). According to WordPress (they have a nifty little stats thing) people only read my blog when I post something. They potter over (probably looking to promote their own blog), maybe give me a like, send me a message to see if I’ll like their posts… Anyway, I started to learn about digital marketing this year with a friend and there’s a reason people pay Google and Facebook to make their ads appear at the top. If you don’t do that it’s almost impossible to find things, even if you’re directly looking!

Apparently someone had “stumbled” on to my blog. Nah. Nit. No way. There’s no stumbling on to a shitty personal blog like this. There’s searching, there’s reading, there’s  getting pissed about something because you’re looking for something to be pissed off about.

I have this fantasy that if I just say it right, if just this time… No. People change when they’re ready to change, and I’m not in control of anything except myself. I just need to keep my side of the street clean, do the next right thing, and when I mess up own it and try not to do it again.

How other people feel is not my responsibility. You can’t “make” someone angry or sad, they just either are, or they aren’t. Sure you can say mean shit to people, but if they don’t believe it to be true, then they aren’t bothered. Or are they? I don’t know anymore.

The Low Blow

Out dancing, I saw my ex. It was carnival, and I was dressed as a woman, wearing a wig with long brown hair, similar to my real hair when it’s long. He, like many others, didn’t recognised me.

I felt weird that I was wearing the long haired wig, as my hair had been a bone of contention between us. During my “radicalisation”, as he called it, my hair had gotten shorter and shorter. “Please don’t cut your hair more. I like it long” he said to me, his short hair meaning he could just shit-shower-and-shave before going out, instead of spending precious time washing, blow drying, straightening.

6 months after our break up, I gave him the finger across the dance floor in a jokey way. He didn’t recognise me. I said: “Hola cabrón” (“Hi bastard”), also in a jokey way. We both have a dark sense of humour still. “Don’t fall in love with me because of the wig” I told him.

Later in the night, we were talking outside.

-Don’t you think it’s unpleasant that you write about me on your blog?

-You gave me permission. I asked you months ago and you said I could write whatever I wanted, that you didn’t care, as long as I didn’t use your name.

-Yes but can’t you see that it’s mean writing about me?

-You gave me permission.

-Yes but we have people in common. They’ve read it and they’ve told me it’s fuerte.

-Hahahaha. Who the hell reads my blog EX? Most of our friends speak English but I seriously doubt if they would want to read my blog in English.

-I’m not telling you who.

-Fuerte that I write about it or fuerte how you acted and why we broke up?

-Just fuerte.

-Are we talking about your family? Have your family read my blog and have been criticising you and how you acted? If you’re feeling guilty or ashamed, that is not my responsibility.

-Yes but imagine if I was writing in French about our relationship? About you?

-I don’t know. I don’t think I’d care.

The argument went back and forth, pointlessly. He kept on repeating “Try to see it from my point of view”. I kept on saying “Don’t interrupt me”. Our roles were reversed from when we were dating. “Try to see it from my point of view. These people are super sexist and mean to women”. Then, for the first time since we had known each other, I did a new thing.

I walked away from an argument.

Growing up, my family argued constantly. People in primary school joked that I would become a lawyer, I was so argumentative (mean, sarcastic, horrible, bullying. The adjectives go on). I’ve worked hard to change but I do believe that, following certain guidelines, arguing can be productive. It can allow both parties to say how they feel and a resolution to be reached.

My ex-partner thought the total opposite. He hated arguing. So we wouldn’t argue and I would bend and we would do what he wanted, which was staying in bed sleeping at the weekends, or cooking with meat. I thought going with the flow was a good thing. Until I didn’t and I left him when he said he didn’t love me anymore because of my short hair.

“You gave me permission at the time. But now you’ve changed your mind as it’s affecting you. I’ll take down what I wrote, ok? My intention was not to hurt you.”

I walked away from the argument but I felt a little bit churned up. Had I done the right thing?

I told my friends about it over a kebab. One of my friends, who always says what she thinks, said “It’s a low blow”. Then she changed her mind and said I’d done nothing wrong.

How would I feel if he was writing about me?

-I don’t have secrets. When I do bad things I own up to them and say sorry. I have a lot of ex-boyfriends and I’ve done a lot of less than good things. I’m honest about my fuck ups.

Or am I? Am I a self-righteous, judgemental so and so? Maybe I’m both.

Ironically, the conversation I had with my ex has made me feel the need to write this.

I’ll talk it over with my sponsor on Monday and see what she says. Ultimately, what I write says more about me, and how I think, feel, and process etc, than about anyone else.

The dance floor

It was carnival weekend. Everyone was out in their finest fancy dress, having drinks with friends and smiling.

We got to La Ribera bar at 11:30pm. The band still hadn’t started yet. People were dancing Lindy and having fun.

As usual, there was a large group of people standing on the dance floor, people who (as far as I knew) didn’t dance. I said to some friends “How about we go round and politely ask people to move to the sides?”. My friends responded “Or we just go like this when we dance” and motioned kicking and pushing them.

I decided to ask them politely when the live music started. I started like this:

“Hi guys. Would you mind please moving to the sides because people want to dance?”

The group had about 10 people. The girl next to me pretended like she hadn’t heard.

One guy, who I assumed was gay, said “brrbrbrbrrbrbrbrbr”. (yes, ok, sometimes when the music is loud and I don’t know someone I don’t understand what they say in Spanish)

I asked him to repeat it.

-I’ve bought this drink. This is a bar. I have a right to be wherever I want.

-Yes, of course. But this is the dance floor. There’s a lot of other space in the bar.

-It’s aggressive to ask.

-I don’t understand. How is it aggressive? It’s a question of safety. Girls dancing with heels have really hurt my feet and ankles, more than once.

-Yeah yeah, whatever. We are dancing.

I suppose it was aggressive in a way, because as gay men, these people have probably been told they’re not welcome in a lot of places, in both overt and subtle ways. I’ve experienced being at bars where there is football, and feeling very unwelcome, and getting shouted at for getting up to get a drink and obscuring people’s views.

I waited for the guy to finish his g and t. He held the glass for a long time. Then I asked him to dance.

-Noooo. I don’t know how to dance

He said, with a strange look on his face. Maybe he knew that the dance culture was already too heteronormative. Maybe he was tired of standing up and being himself to that tide of shit.

-Please. I’m a teacher.

-Of course you are.

-Would you like to dance as a leader or a follower?

-A follower I suppose.

-Let’s do it!

-No. Really no.

Soon after they left. I suppose they only came for one drink on their night out. Judging by how rude they were, I suppose they were from out of town, as people tend to be dick heads when they think no one will see them again.

It wasn’t a nice experience. I suffer from anxiety so as soon as he told me “he had every right” etc, I felt very nervous and didn’t want to walk past his group, nor dance near them as I didn’t want to be shoved in to them by leaders who were bowling with followers by accident, or accidentally do that when I dance as a leader with a  follower. This is something I don’t observe men being preoccupied with, as they dominate the dance floor, people making space for them. Sigh. How can I learn to be half as confident as a mediocre white man?

What I’ve learned:

Bring lollipops to partner dance events to give to people who get the frick off the dance floor. SWEET SWING BABY! YEAH!

 

Harassment in the Basque Country

We were at the fiestas of a nearby pueblo. My “friend”, someone I’d known for a few months as a cousin of my friend’s boyfriend, started making sexual advances just before lunch, about  1 o’clock.

“You left the other night as you fancy me or John. Come on, admit it. You fancy me, that’s why you left early the other night, because you didn’t want to cheat on your boyfriend.”

I let him down gently. “No” I said. “Look, you’re a really nice guy, but I really don’t feel that way about you.”

Fast forward a few hours. We had been drinking all day. We were sat outside a bar, about 20 of us. I went inside to the bathroom, drunk as hell.

I came out of the bathroom. The bar person wasn’t there. There was no one actually inside the bar, except my “friend”.

He wouldn’t let me past. “I know you fancy me, and I don’t care that your boyfriend is a boxer, I’m going to take you like this and I’m going to fuck you”. He kept repeating it over and over.

I was scared. He wouldn’t let me past. I didn’t want to touch him, I didn’t want to get within arms reach of him. I should have belted him one then.

I got back to the group, and I started shouting, thinking it will alert the others to how he is sexually harassing me. I thought they would protect me.

No one made eye contact. His friends, my friend’s boyfriend and on of their friends, then spent what seemed like hours talking and talking and talking at me.

“You’re too feminist. Nothing happened” they kept saying, over and over. I would later come to learn that two men against one woman is typical in this culture, that this is a pattern.

My heart is hammering as I write this, and this was almost 2 years ago.

None of the women made eye contact with me. Most were foreign. They sat and pretended like it wasn’t happening. I get it. I get that no one wants to be with the unpopular girl, saying unpopular things like I was.

My chest hurt. It was like a nightmare. They spent the whole night “talking” to me about it. Finally I just gave up. I couldn’t remember where the train station was. I asked directions. I went home.

The next day I was supposed to go to a bbq with some other friends. I felt too horrible to go.

Months later, my friend told me she was sorry that she didn’t help me, that she didn’t say anything. I had already forgiven her, but it took guts to say sorry and I was proud of her. She described that something similar had happened to her recently, and that her boyfriend had gotten angry with her for “provoking” one of his friends in to coming on to her.

I love my friend but I can’t be around her boyfriend and his friends. They are her life. We don’t see each other much now. I don’t resent her. We are all walking a hard road.

I see my “friend” at random times. Sometimes I see him when he’s drunk, and he shouts “Hello” to me, highlighting the fact that I completely ignore him, trying to provoke me. I saw him at a feminist rapper concert. I saw him at a festival, when I was with some female friends. They all went over to talk to him. I went home without saying goodbye.

I saw him a few months ago. He tried to make conversation with me, but not in a horrible way. I gave one word responses and moved away. Sometimes when you face something head on, you attract more wasted, ruined time.

My friend, the one who is with the guy who says she is asking for it when his druggie friends sexually harass her, says “I know you hate him, but I’m gonna be with him forever”. I don’t hate him, I don’t think he’s a bad person, but I just don’t want him in my life. Not even for a second. I have a family history of people dying young. I don’t want to waste another instant of my life on this guy, and his rich, spoilt, bratty friends who think they can do whatever they want because the pact between men is so strong that no man will call them out for harassing his girlfriend.

There’s a part of me that has compassion for the boyfriend. This is a society where it is hard to make friends, where people make friends in primary school and then… if you get pushed out, you’re out in the cold. My compassion withers away every time he interrupts his girlfriend, especially when she’s sharing her experiences about race.

I suppose there comes  a time in every persons life when they realise that they would rather be alone than be around people that don’t make their day better.

I tell my sponsor: “I feel like I’m standing up in a strong flowing river, and it keeps knocking me down, but I keep getting up. And I don’t want to stop. I want to keep fighting because it’s the right thing to do”.

She tells me: “There is another way. You could get out of the river and come with us on the shore.”

 

 

 

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑