Here’s a thing… Like most (all) people I wear many hats and have many roles and many ways of being in this life of mine. And at the base of it all, I am a woman living in a patriarchal culture.
What that means, is like all other women, I have experienced sexual and physical assault, rape, been stalked, cat-called, and gaslighted. It means that I too have internalized the stories of how women don’t matter, aren’t good enough at anything, always take up too much space, and are worthless. How we know nothing, and especially know nothing about our own bodies (and therefore shouldn’t have rights to them).
I didn’t ask for any of these things.
Not when I went to that party.
Not when I wore that short skirt.
Not when I flirted with that person at the bar.
Not when I drank so much I almost passed out.
Not when I had the audacity to enter into a male-dominated career and profession.
Not when I walked down that street to class.
Not when I laid there as still and silent as possible and left my body.
Not when I screamed and fought.
Not when I made a scene.
Not when I melted into the background.
Not when I took that class or chose that major.
Not when I sat in that seat on the bus.
Not when I wore those boots.
Not when I danced that way.
Not when I initially said yes and changed my mind.
Not when I met with that professor.
Not when I invited him into my home.
Not when I was born with female genitalia.
Not when I was pregnant.
Not when I was struggling to become pregnant again.
Not when I was writhing on the floor in pain.
Not when I asked for help.
I never gave consent to any of these experiences. I never gave consent to the messages and stories of my worth and value to burrow into my skin and muscle and core. I never gave consent when I was in preschool or elementary school or junior high or high school or college or graduate school. I never gave consent because to give consent we have to be informed, we have to know we have a choice, we have the option say no or yes or maybe and to change our minds as many times as we fucking feel like it.
Like all women I learned at a very early age that my body is not my own. My mind is not my own. My spirit is something that can be trampled and disregarded. Like all women I learned what I had to to survive. Like many women, I am still unraveling it all and finding my own ways to peace and rage and using my voice. Like most women I am a work in progress in connecting to and trusting my body, my instincts, my intuition.
Because we live in a world where we are told not to trust our own bodies and knowing. That our “spidey sense” is illogical and should be ignored.
Because we live in a world that tells us we can’t take up space. Our bodies are to be small. Our voices small. Our impact in the world, small.
Because we live in a world that pits women against each other as competition.
Because I am fucking done with this bullshit.
Because I will fight with every breath I have to dislodge these stories from my own body and to help you dislodge them from yours.
Because I will use every breath I have to prevent these stories from burrowing into my daughter’s skin.
Because the Truth is I have a birthright to my body. I have a right to saying no or yes.
And you do too.
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