My whole day has gone and I’ve got nothing to show for it. I sat in front of a computer at 5am to write and, here I am; watching night fall with only a sentence or two down. I’ve done nothing to justify the adderall, three cups of coffee, leftover Indian, and three melted chocolate Lindt truffles I’ve consumed, but I keep up with the flow of bad habits in hopes that a life of monotonous suffering will somehow produce a prosperous return. What have I done all day?
I want to be a writer, or at least that’s what I’ve told myself for the past ten years. I want to be a writer, or a bird, or a duck, or even a band-winged flying fish. I tell myself I am a writer like there’s an optimistic guru hidden somewhere in my soul, but when the time is finally carved out to write I’ve got no authority. I am beat down and pessimistic. Which perhaps is a valid feeling for a writer, or a fish. I said one day I’d write about this giraffe that’s been walking around my head or about a kid named George being scared of the shore, but I can’t persuade those thoughts to leave the hidden corners of my mind. They’re trapped in a tangle of expectations, weighted with heavy soil-less potting mix like seedlings in a ten dollar garden kit under prefabricated light. I can’t force them out, so I break from the business of doing nothing to buy a bottle of wine in my sweatpants. On my way back to writing I watched dusk fall and street lamps flicker on; a whole day gone again.
Today I walked a blind girl to class. I’m not saying this for you guys to think I’m a good person and I promise not to post a discreet FB update letting you all know I’m perfect and I do perfect things for humanity. The truth is, I only offered to help guide her because the thought of being blind in a crowd of college kids made me sick with anxiety, and I could not bare to see her attempt to be independent and fail. Plus, her hijab and dope shade of red lips somehow made me think we were star-crossed boss bitch lovers. She was cool. She had confidence and she walked with power, but she got stumbled up at the college gate because a school of freshman were hanging in a circle unaware of her walking cane. I offered to make a path for us. She smiled because she was genuine and grateful, but my compassion was tinged with self gratification. I walked her for me. I walked her so I could feel better about who I am and not be forced to standby awkwardly while the Parting of the Student Sea didn’t happen. Nonetheless, she held onto my arm as I trambled through the crowd of privileged freshman and whispered how fierce she was into her ear.
I felt like Gaga guiding a group of her misfit monsters through life with that we will conquer this world together attitude and a side of haughtiness.
I steered her toward the direction of her destination with about fifteen or so feet left to walk a (somewhat) straight line to her classroom door. Just as I looked back with pride at the sea of privileged flesh we rummaged through, my new blind friend missed the doorway and walked directly into a brick wall.
(I never said this story had a happy ending)
I took a long, hard, tear inducing fall from my high horse when I realized my good deed now seemed like a cruel trick. I was Regina George and I hated every second of it. I walked away in shame hoping aforementioned sea of freshman somehow missed my humanitarian denouement. Tears were flowing out of my eye sockets like pellets of fancy Lionhead rabbit shit and I just wanted to poke both of my eyes out so I could A) make the crying stop and B) live in solidarity with all of the fierce AF blind people in this world.
It’s a weird feeling to feel fortunate for my luck to be born a middle class white chick with 20/20 vision while simultaneously being ashamed for having said luck. After my encounter with my friend at school, I became haunted with the fact that I am me, and even more frustrated that I have some hidden superiority that thought she needed me. My failed Gaga compassion didn’t embrace the independence, courage and bravery my new friend exudes everyday. Instead, my haughty walk established a perfect norm and perpetuated it. I made her an outsider, some form of otherness that needed me to grant them entrance into the cool crowd. It was as though I walked her while chanting, WATCH AND LEARN – like a distant friend that says “I got you”, but does’t actually have a clue.
Attempting and failing to help walk my friend to class made me realize I don’t actually have any understanding of the life she lives. I’m an outsider to her norm. But that doesn’t make me less normal – just as her being an outsider in my norm doesn’t make her any less normal.
I do believe there is still good being done, whether it’s with that tinge of self gratification or a pure heart for others, but can’t we do better than that? Can we help without creating some schism of normality?
A couple of months ago I wrote a paper during a visit home to Louisiana. It was a midterm about Hillary Clinton and the haltering statistics that kept her from the presidency. I’m an all-star procrastinator in general, but the 15-pages about Hill drug on for an unusual amount of time, mostly because the topic proposal I submitted months prior was geared around Hillary winning. You know, because I LIVE DEEP IN THE BROOKLYN BUBBLE.
I had loads of articles proving America had shown significant signs of progress (ie: increased percentages of career women, number of women in the Senate, the lame ass statistic guru over at FiveThirtyEight, my own personal outlook of Clinton being the political version of Beyonce, etc. etc). Equipped with some dope quotes from Judith Butler and Luce Irigaray, I planned on showing how Hillary’s win was an inevitable step in furthering the trend of gender equality. But Hill didn’t win (cue cries), and instead of writing about America’s progress my paper shifted to a dark depiction on the social restraints that still hold the female race back.
In the midst of my writing delirium, I ventured down from my hideout spot overlooking the bayou to refill my coffee cup and steal a few more sugar cookies. While I sat in the kitchen, a sweet friend of the family asked what I’d been doing all day:
“Writing”, I said.
“Writing what?” he responded.
“A feminism paper.”
“What’s your husband think about that?”
I could talk for hours about the irony in that line, but I’ll let Bey take care of that shit.
Before the Women’s March on January 21st, I thought men were holding us back, but after a few scans through social media – I realize us girls are pretty guilty, too. Yesterday I saw loads of comments from females claiming there’s no need to march, because they are already equal. My mind was blown, but again – that’s mostly at fault to the bubble I live in. Still, I have some stuff to say:
If you feel that way, if you believe you are fulfilled and whole and worthy and equal and substantial and powerful and independent and not talked down to and not belittled and not gawked at and you don’t receive smirks when you’re caught doing a man’s job and you don’t get told that you’re too pretty to work, or that you just need to marry rich – then girl I AM HAPPY FOR YOU. If you actually believe a woman’s place is behind her husband, and you honor that lifestyle – THEN GET IT, GIRL. If you a trifling hoe and just wanna live off your sugar daddy – GIRL, I FEEL YOU.
But there are people, outside of your bubble, who needed to march. I’m not suggesting you support them, but I am suggesting you stretch your comfort zone a little. Maybe take a real look at your day-to-day interactions and see, even in the subtleties, if you truly feel there’s no barrier.
I know I live in a liberal bubble. My friends are liberals, my friends are feminists, my friends need free healthcare, my friends need planned parenthood, my friends need birth control to be covered under insurance, and my friends need equal pay. My friend’s are marching to make a change, and these changes never come easily. They don’t come with opened arms, or with sideline cheers. They come with resistance, with angst and with a shift from what is normal, a shift from what is customary and safe.
Maybe you posted about your privileges as a female on Facebook because seeing the “p” word blasted everywhere got you in a bad mood, maybe those graphic posters with pink vaginas made your stomach curl and you just weren’t ready for that at 8am, or maybe you thought those girls were nasty – that they weren’t someone you’d bring home to momma. I’m not sure what ran through your head, but if it was discomfort – the march worked. If the media coverage and posts from the march shifted you from your norm, if they pushed you to think – if only for a second – about how unbalanced our society is, then they did their job. In the short seconds you cast judgment on the march, the signs, or the protesters, your norm of the idealized 1950’s version of the female race is either vindicated or broken apart. The stark juxtaposition forces you to stay in your bubble, or stretch just a little bit outside of it. Protests are like a tug-a-war with traditional thought; they may not win the battle, but they’ll make you dance around your safety zone.
Whether we all want to admit it or not, we live in our own bubbles. We allow ourselves to take in news we want to read, friends we want to agree with, and even religions we want to abide. Uncomfortable situations are meant to divide a further line between the ideal and the modern. They show up on all news streams because they are provocative and easy coverage. Aside from the commentary surrounding protests, the actual events are the only chance to see an unfiltered take on politics. Marching is a raw act meant to raise question, cause you to think, search for meaning, and help you reach a new outlook on a movement – even if that newfound understanding is a mere centimeter’s distance from where you stood prior.
I will admit we’ve come a long way since the 19th amendment in 1920, but that doesn’t mean we are finished. Women didn’t march for voting rights on January 21st. They marched for the subtleties, the what does your husband think about that. They marched to break the ideal. They marched for a new formation. Maybe you don’t completely agree, but I hope you moved a centimeter or two.
Now, a small dedication to my dope ass hubs. Thanks for being you and letting me be me.
I recently heard someone say, “they belonged” in New York. She didn’t mean she deserved to be here, rather she couldn’t survive anywhere else. After roaming across the country at a young age, she landed in East Village and fell trap to its charm. She’s been here 15+ years and now calls NYC home. When I met her, she was celebrating the anniversary of her move to the city. While she basked in the empowerment of her growth and independence, my heart hurt. I felt an urge to exonerate my roots – a strange deviation from my usual mindset.
Sometimes roots feel like a trap. They meander around each other like a snake – coiling in a stationary wheel and wrapping with it a wistful nostalgia that you belong. Some people stay – some escape; nature has no preference. Life still grows from the dirt, leaves wither and bloom, branches break and rebuild. Sure, to anyone in the whimsical leaves, the roots are stifling, but that’s because you know their power. You have explored the crisp air, experienced the roughest part of seasons, and learned to mold and reform in the feeble stability of your freestanding stem. You are adventurous in your careless evergreen, but the roots are charming and infectious. They are you; you are one in the same.
There is comfort in the absolutism of my roots. I understand now that they are part of who I am, and my desire to roam is a desire to expand – not escape. Because there is no escaping. The past is where it belongs. It is planted as a means to stabilize your future. Growing into something wilder doesn’t mean you are any less you, you are just a little bit more.
I woke up the day after the election to a text from a friend that said, “I didn’t think this was possible.” I opened CNN, along with all of my social media accounts, to make sure this was really happening. I thought for sure someone was going to let us all know something disastrous happened at the polls. Maybe they miscounted 49% of the votes?
As the reality of a Trump presidency started to breathe itself into existence, I set out to blame everyone. I blamed the third party voters for wasting their ballot. I blamed the black community for not showing up like they did for Obama. I blamed the DNC who ruined us when they pushed for Clinton instead of Bernie. I blamed the Christians who voted against abortions, but for misogyny and rape. I blamed the working class in America who wanted change – no matter who gave it to them. I blamed the liberal media for deceiving us into thinking Trump didn’t stand a chance. I blamed SNL for sensationalizing Trump’s persona by mocking him, subsequently drawing more press and attention to his campaign. I blamed Fox News for turning him into someone relatable; someone a guy could chat with in a locker room.
I turned into everything I hated about Trump, blaming everyone but myself. Because after all – I was the progressive thinker who voted Hillary.
In my state of naivety, I scrolled through Instagram for a break from the news, but my heartache deepened. In my feed I saw Khloe Kardashian bragging that her Lip Kit sold out in 6 seconds, I scrolled through selfies of intelligent women with Snapchat puppy-dog noses and flower crowns, spotted Kyle Richards advertising a hair vitamin with over 10k likes, and watched Kate Upton share her secrets to “the perfect brow”. Is this what ruined us? Do we not believe in ourselves? Are we too caught up in the hype of media, the hype of selfies, of being pretty? Are we too afraid to think independently? Are we afraid of taking charge? Are we afraid of being powerful, instead of sexy? How else could 53% of female voters elect this man? Do they not know their own value?
I wanted to throw my phone across the room, or anywhere that could magically make the female race look more like it does in my head.
I am not insinuating that the state of our country rests solely in the hands of our Instagram feed, but if you’ve been wondering what is keeping us from being seen as the next president of the United States – It’s your selfie, it’s my selfie, and it’s our need to promote our beauty more than the authoritative person that lives behind what the world wants us to be. Why is this how we choose to represent who we are? Why is this the norm for women? If we want to be perceived as powerful, we need to start representing that in our feeds instead of doe-eyed selfies with porcelain skin. If we want the media to stop placing us on an impossible standard – we need to stop trying to meet that standard. There are lots of reasons we lost and there are copious people we can fault, but it is hard to deny the fact that we lost because Hillary Clinton was compared against an ideal version of what society thinks a woman should be. She lost and we will continue to lose until that depiction of women is shifted.
When the results started rolling in Tuesday I felt threatened. I felt lied to, betrayed and even undermined by a nation that could actually vote and side with a man so bitter towards progress and equality. On Wednesday, when I had to continue on with my life, everything seemed pointless. Why go to school when no one will ever see me as a leader? Why educate myself when I’ll only ever be seen as a number between 1 & 10? This isn’t the life I voted for.
This election, if nothing else, has given me a strange urgency to tell you your voice is powerful. You are powerful on your own accord. You don’t need me, or any sensationalized media to derive self worth. I hope you know that.
Trump winning is not the female race’s fault, but maybe we can take this election as a growing pain that pushes us to a higher, more authoritative mindset. I’m not saying we can’t feel beautiful, dress well, or wear makeup. We are beautiful women, and I love the desire to express that, but we need to focus on flouting the image 49% of the United States have towards women. This win says a lot about our nation, about our gender equality, and about the female race not being taken seriously. It’s time we change our mindset. It’s time we change the mindset of everyone who can’t see past the girl. We are powerful. Let’s make everyone else think that too.
Yesterday was just like any other day. I had my normal cup of Red Hook Roast coffee while I walked Mosie our usual path around the corner of Dekalb. I got dressed while Lucius played in the background and quietly praised my expensive boutique workout classes when my pants zipped without much effort. I walked a mile to the subway, the same path I take everyday, and made a mental note to finally try that South African place I keep eyeing. A rising sense of rush came over as I watched bikers race in business pants with their briefcases attached to the side of their city bikes. Horns echoed while red lights acted as downtown Brooklyn’s morning dictator. I looked down at my espadrilles and thought, I should walk faster.
I raced down the concrete stairs of the subway station, bolted through the turnstile like I had somewhere really important to be, and skipped the final steps to the platform just as the B train left screeching like a lightening bolt with the speed of a snail. I waited 5 mins for the next train while I pretended like it was a real hassle so to fit in with the other commuters. The crowd of straphangers grew denser, each one taking turns looking down the barrel in anticipation for their next bout of habitual morning tasks. I began to question the train’s schedule just as its light peaked through the darkness.
We all boarded, too eager to permit current passengers an easy exit. We filed in like ants marching to a crumb and piled tight with an awkward I don’t know you this well disposition. I peaked over a burly man’s shoulder as we rode across East River and gawked as the Manhattan sky line came into view. Kanye was playing in my ear buds per usual.
It was a normal day. It was exactly like the day before.
I walked up from the subway at 42nd street in Mid Town. The Chrysler Building was beaming in the sunlight, a new AM New York was thrown into my hands, and the crosswalk was filled with people already checking emails on their iPhones. Bryant Park’s fountain made a fresh come back from its winter break, but mostly – today was exactly like the day before.
And the day before that one.
I walked past the same street performer I saw yesterday. He sat with two hamsters, two rabbits and a parrot all piled on the same ratty, tan carpeted cat tower they’ve been sitting on year round. A sad dog sat next to the tower with another rabbit on the sidewalk. The city streets seemed to fly by them, almost as if they were an island of stillness. New tourists crowded around – making it seem like the sedated animals were something really thrilling, but they were all the same as the day before.
I walked up to my office building, swiped my card to pass through security, rode the elevator up to the top floor and thought – how is this weird, hectic life so normal to me now? I’d already forgotten the time I didn’t feel like a local here.
Yesterday a friend said to me, “Aren’t we living the dream?” My mind began to race with everything that was currently on my things to accomplish list as I tried to place this dream he was talking about.
In a slew of days, weeks and months small changes in life merge until you can no longer see where you started, only where you are. When I look back at the starting point, I can hardly remember what led me here. This was my dream since I was 16 years old, and while I celebrated the moment when I found out it was coming to fruition, I haven’t celebrated my time here. My time actually getting to live the dream out. I think a lot of us forget that. We work and work for something to happen, and never return the acknowledgment that we achieved something.
I’m constantly looking forward for what’s to come, etching out in my mind what I need to do to get to the next now, that I forget all of the feats that led me this far. I forget to enjoy where I am.
I guess what I’m trying to say (mostly to myself) is, just because you’ve made it to your dream doesn’t mean you’ve finished living it. Don’t let a big feat feel like a small feat when you spent years getting there.
People have told me you don’t need dads or moms (or anyone for that matter) to live a fulfilled life. Maybe that’s not entirely wrong, but it does seem incredibly sad and lonely to think about a life without people who know you and genuinely care for you.
Those caring roles seem to naturally stem from parental figures, but I’m realizing I also have the ability to choose those people – or allow them to choose me.
My dad left when I was about 8 years old, I could get into specifics, but I don’t have the time to waste crying about that shit for a whole day – so I’m just going to say he left, and I’ve basically been fighting for his attention ever since.
I know, I know – this is such a common issue and I’m not special and I need to grow the eff up.
But I think that’s part of the whole problem. People are always telling me others have it worse and I should be grateful for what I have. But this whole dad issue has been rocking my boat for 20 freaking years, and maybe it’s because I keep thinking it shouldn’t be rocking my boat.
In the future, I’m sure I’ll experience something far worse that will make me realize this shouldn’t have plagued me for so long, but for right now – in this moment – I am upset about a very common issue that I’m sure more than 1/3 of the world experiences.
When I was a kid, I thought the more cool things I did – the more my dad would come around. Deep down, I wasn’t into being on the cheerleading team or whatever other social sport was popular at the time, but I thought the more events I had – the more chances my dad had to show up. It turned out to be a shoddy plan filled with lots of disappointment, but I kept up with it through high school, always hoping my name would be called for the squad or homecoming court. Not because I actually wanted to be on the team or named pretty by public school kids riddled with pubescence, but because I wanted an excuse to call my dad and tell him to come see a game or walk me down the football field.
I know, so desperate.
When the sport/popularity contest didn’t grab his attention, I decided to go all in with prayer. I threw out my secular CDs, broke up with my now hubby to “focus on Jesus”, and started spending my weekend nights reading the bible. I even canceled my senior cruise to spend one month on the mission field – somehow justifying that if I was a better Christian I’d get what I wanted. I drank all the kool-aid possible, and spent every day praying that my dad would come around, or at the very least not die. (I’ve always had a fear of him dying) I took it as my personal responsibility burden to not let him ruin his life, and at 18 years old, the weight of that shit got pretty heavy.
For the past ten years, I’ve been trying to convince myself I don’t have daddy issues – I thought I left all that behind with my fake ass high school years, but here I am, 28 years old, still crying over a dad that was only actively in my life for 8 years.
I don’t get it.
My recent trip to Italy became the soul searching trip of a lifetime. I called my dad before I boarded the plane, even though he didn’t know I had a trip planned. I cried when he didn’t answer – which is why I usually never call in the first place. As the plane took off I thought about what he’d really know about my life if I died.
Morbid, I know. I’ve got daddy issues. TAKE IT EASY ON ME.
I realized he doesn’t know where I live. He doesn’t know that I’m enrolled in Lit Crit courses, or that I even have an interest in writing. He calls my husband Michael. He doesn’t know that I’m not sure about the whole Christianity thing, or that I had two miscarriages, or that I graduated summa cum laude, or that I genuinely like the taste of whiskey. If this plane goes down, he would still think of me as the seven year old driving go-carts through our woods.
Worst of all, I would die with him thinking I voted for McCain.
Our first stop was Venice, and it hit me on our second day there that I wasn’t going to keep focusing on a few years that sucked.
I have a good life, and I need to stop worrying about what happened before I got here.
I don’t know what happened in Italy, but I gave up trying to save my dad, and I gave up searching for his attention. I realized I can dictate what comes in and out of my life, and I made it my personal agenda to start that right away – in Venice where I felt altogether disconnected from the world around me, yet completely cognizant of the people I want to be in my life. Call that egocentric, or snobby, or whatever you want, but when I figured out there are some things I can actually control – I thought it best to start building a life I love.
I have people who chose to be in my life. Why am I focusing on the one person who didn’t?
It’s a strange concept to accept when you’ve been eager for the love of a specific person, but there are other people in this world who will care about you. Sure, it would be nice if it was that parent you’ve been trying to grab the attention of, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s important to be aware of the relationships you’re missing out on while you’re waiting for the one person who keeps letting you down.
Daddy issues are weird, especially when you’re almost thirty and you thought you’d be over it all by now. But the truth is, it’s a constant struggle to understand why someone who should want to be in your life isn’t.
I had a few bad years, but I’ve had just as many good years. Escaping the constant feeling of rejection isn’t me not being true to myself, my background, or my family. It’s me choosing to create a better life with people who decided a long time ago to be by my side.
Some people call that giving up, others call it moving on.
A few months ago I got letters from the grad programs I applied to saying I didn’t make the cut. You may remember me writing that sad post about the tears I cried and my determination to figure out a new dream/plan of action.
Some people didn’t like that I suggested you have to give up on things, but sometimes I convince myself I’m okay with failure in a desperate effort to handle the rough realization that I don’t get everything I want.
I know, #firstworldprobs.
When I heard a no from the programs, I had to tell myself I had other options – even though I knew I didn’t. My dreams hadn’t changed, but the wind in my sails was straight up stagnate (ie: the whole effing boat was sinking and my shoes were bricks).
Not getting in felt like everything I’d worked for was wrong and insignificant.
Loads of friends sent me encouraging notes to cheer me up.
Eff grad school, you don’t need it
Grad school doesn’t make you a writer
You’re still #gold
The support was incredibly sweet, but I still wasn’t okay with not getting in. I wasn’t ready to accept a no, and thinking I needed grad school to become a writer wasn’t my issue. I knew an acceptance letter from Brooklyn College didn’t mean I suddenly became a columnist for Slate or Vanity Fair, but when I got rejected I realized I wanted grad school for me – not for a job, or a future life I envisioned. I wanted it for me to selfishly keep doing what I like doing.
And I wasn’t ready to let it go.
I decided to email all of the programs and beg for guidance.
If New York has taught me anything, it’s that I’m a VERY small fish in a VERY big pond, and for some reason that’s actually comforting when you’re asking important people for things. Maybe that’s weird, but my thought process is – These people don’t know me. Cap Green emailing them literally means nothing.
So I emailed ALL OF THEM.
If that sounds like the most desperate thing you’ve ever heard – it is.
And it gets worse. I didn’t just write the random, no-reply email address that sent the heart crushing rejection my way. I pulled up each programs’ list of English professors from the university sites and emailed EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM.
(Perks of a background in stalking/PR)
I didn’t ask them to accept me, because I really didn’t think that was a possibility. I asked for help. I told them I felt my window for grad school was closing, and I wasn’t ready to give up. I tried to keep the pleas professional, but I’m sure they sensed the tears hidden within the syntax.
I received a few emails from professors stating I should “keep writing” and not lose hope.
A few weeks went by, and I received a letter from the head of English at Brooklyn College. I opened thinking – I know, I know, you said no.
I GET IT.
But that wasn’t what he wrote. Instead, he suggested that I resubmit my application to English Literature, as he thought I’d be a ‘perfect fit’.
So I did. I gave it one more shot because I had no shred of dignity left.
Two agonizing weeks later I got a letter in the mail saying I was in.
I don’t know if this is inspiring or exhausting to hear, but I guess the whole point of this post is to say –
Sometimes you do get exactly what you want. Sometimes your hard work pays off. Sometimes you get the shot you thought you deserved.
I know it’s cliche and annoying to hear when you’ve been actively fighting for a break that won’t seem to happen, but don’t give up on what you want. Fight for it even when people (like me) tell you not to.
Wednesday I received an email from Pratt Institute. It said something along the lines of:
Okay, they didn’t say it quite like that, but that’s what it felt like in my gut/heart/tear ducts/legs.
Pratt was supposed to be my “sure thing”. I’ve applied to a few other dream schools, but Pratt was my safety net. To be honest, I’m still really confused why I got rejected. I mean, I may be a hot mess in real life, but I look pretty dope on paper.
I got the email mid-way through my 13 hour work day, which meant I had seven hours to somehow figure out how to fake being okay and keep my shit together. I left work around 8:45, took a 35 min train ride home, walked a mile through a dark park, opened the door to my apartment, and headed straight to my bed to cry.
This wasn’t my normal Cap Cry. This was one of those devastating cries.
The ones where you feel like your life is ruined and you’ve got no future and everything you’ve worked for has gone up in smoke and you’re trying to live a life you can’t handle and you’re about to break from exhaustion and if you have to go to one more god damn PR meeting you’re going to break down in the middle of your office like a two year old who can’t reach their goldfish.
FOR REAL. EVERYTHING SEEMED LIKE SUCH A BIG DEAL.
I cried for a solid hour still wrapped up in my wool coat, work shoes, and dress pants on my bed. I think at one point I even screamed “I just wanna write shit that matters!” (#kanyedramatic)
Today, I’m still sad. I woke up with a little less faith in myself, a little less pep in my step, and a very bitter heart.
I couldn’t figure out why I felt so defeated. My career is always filled with rejection. I write something, send it off, get no answer, and try again.. and again.. and again. Sometimes it pushes me to work harder – sometimes it makes me want to build a tree house in Canada and change my name to something really hippie and carefree like Margot Sunshine. (Not sure why Canada is part of the escape plan)
The blow shouldn’t have hit me so hard. I’m actually lucky to be doing PR for a great company, but there is still a side of me that just thought I wasn’t ready to give up on the end goal.
I’d actually just asked a friend – “When do you stop trying?”
I’m still curious. When do you realize what you want to do and what you can do are not always the same thing? I thought I would never settle, and while I’m lucky to have a great job – the idea of grad school made me feel like I still had a promising future. It made me feel like I was still on the path of becoming a writer.
Now, I feel like I’m done.
I think it’s okay to accept that some things don’t work out. Sometimes life does feel unfair. Sometimes your input doesn’t necessarily match up with the output. Sometimes you have to accept failure.
I’m not suggesting you give up on your goals. Try with everything you have to get what you want.
But if there comes a time when you realize you’ve given it all you can to no avail – It doesn’t mean you won’t be happy.
My maintenance man, the one you may remember me talking about in They Outran the Rain just kissed me, and I don’t mean in a sweet, British, double cheek way. I mean in a flirtatious,is he going to throw me back in my apartment and have his way with me way.
He bear hugged me, squeezed me in tight, and kissed me in that awkward, high cheek area near the ear. Let me rephrase that – his sloppy lips were on my ear and he kissed repetitively until the shock from the awkward encounter finally left my body and my limbs found the strength to push him off of me.
If you’re like Todd Akin, you may be wondering what I did to entice the maintenance man to kiss me. So here’s the low down:
I was leaving my apartment for pure barre. I was gross with no make-up on and was wearing a wool coat that fell right above my knees, an infinity scarf that ensured no skin on my décolleté was bare, and snow boots that came to my knees. You know, obviously begging for attention.
It looked something like this…
The fact that I’m justifying how much I was not “asking for it” genuinely frustrates me. Because, let’s be real – even if I was dressed like Princess Di and had a little Kim K cleavage showing, I still have the right to go outside without feeling like some rando is going to find it his right to claim me as his perverted exhibition for the day.
But I guess in 2016 women still have no say in who they actually want to touch them.
I don’t know this man more than a quick “hi” and nod in the halls. We are not friends. We are barely acquaintances. Initially, I thought he was a nice guy (I say that in the most passive aggressive way possible), but now I am creeped to my core.
He violated my sense of self. He made me suddenly question what I’d done wrong. Had I led him on? Had I dressed in a manner that suggested I was “that type of girl”? Did I secretly want the creepy 50 year old man to kiss me?
Which only adds more frustration to the whole thing.
I knew the situation was sketch when he first approached me, but when he wished me a good day and started walking in for a hug, I was left dumbfounded. I did an awkward side hug to politely suggest that I wasn’t cool with this level of intimacy, but he obviously didn’t pick up on my vibe.
Side note: I barely even touch my loved ones and I have a weird, unrealistic fear of people touching my face.
When he pulled me in for the main show, I was almost too naïve to pick up on what was going on. I was running through the list of ways I could escape in my mind all the while thinking – I don’t want to make him feel awkward or embarrassed.
Then it hit me, I don’t know this man well enough to give a shit about hurting his feelings.
So I used my only move, the reverse and duck, and got the hell out of the building – intent on never returning.
[insert the importance of taking a self defense class here]
I did eventually return… mostly because I pay too much in rent to afford a hideout home, but also because I always gain major girl power after I’m removed from a situation and get a chance to reflect on how I could have been more badass.
The fact that some stranger made me feel that low made my blood boil like Kanye’s does when you bring up #buttstuff.
I don’t know how to promote girl power without being labeled as some crazy feminist, but I know I don’t feel an obligation to be polite or ladylike to anyone making gross remarks or advances towards me.
My grandmother has a story that I wish I could tell. It’s made her the strongest, bravest, most perfect person in this world. Her experiences were constantly being whispered in my ear as a young girl. She would remind me to know my worth, know what I’m okay with, and never be afraid of any man – no matter how burley they are. #thankscorrine
What I’m trying to get across is that all of these weird advances from strangers I’ve been experiencing in NYC are uncomfortable and frustrating on so many levels. No one should have the power to make you fear your safety, question your sense of worth, or diminish who you are as an intelligent human.
I like feeling fierce AF, but I hate feeling as though that’s where my value lies.
Even more than that – I hate feeling like someone has the right to assume some sort of claim or power over me as a female.