In my adult years of dating men, I often marvel at their collective inability to get me, to allow my feelings to exist without trying to fix or solve me, to comfortably let me lead, or to be curious about what I might say, do or be if they stopped talking for a bit and just listened without an agenda.
It seems to me that if they could find a way to know what’s in my heart or allow me the space and safety to express it, things could be so much simpler, more meaningful, real and the possibilities endless. But there are wounds, violations and aggressions that have never been able to fully heal before the next one occurs. I’m so deeply exhausted by this that I honestly find it easier to avoid most men altogether.
It’s a deep secondary loss, what never gets to be or occur because of all the time, energy and life force it takes to try to heal from and prevent and move away from sexual aggressions, assaults, unwanted advances, abuses of power, gas-lighting, being taken advantage of, blackmailed and even just lightly coerced, convinced or pressured.
As a result, I live a life mostly surrounded by women and a few carefully selected men that I trust. It takes a huge amount of faith for me to allow any man beyond my filter and armor to see who I really am. It’s sad that this is the way I’ve always been as an adult and I don’t imagine it becoming different any time soon. The loss is mine and also belongs to the collective and is part of our brokenness as humans.
“…when I think of the women forced to disappear, I am confronted by the void that’s been created in their absence. I mourn every single day for an alternate past, present, and future in which women can move through the world as freely as men. I feel robbed of a women’s history with contours I can’t even fathom. I feel robbed of women’s time, I feel robbed of their joy. I can scream and donate and protest knowing my tears don’t vote, don’t raise awareness. But privately, I mourn.”