Everyday, I put on some armor before leaving the comforts of my home. I take one last look in the mirror to make sure that I have no blind spots to attacks on my dignity and self-confidence. Are my jeans too tight? I’ve gained some weight and I’m filling them out more than usual. What is it they say– thick? What about my hair?
Normally I would put my headphones in and turn on my music to mute your offenses, but today they are broken. I close the door behind me and instantly I feel the noises of the street, your street, attack me. So, I just put one foot in front of the other in caution and apprehension. As I venture out further into your territory, I become naively comfortable. I allow myself to calm down, focus on other things.
Is that how all of your walks go? Are you just always allowed the peace and serenity of enjoying where your thoughts take you?
My heart starts beating just a little faster as I realize that in about a block, I’ll have to pass you in your pickup truck, with your windows down and your hairy, tattooed forearm peering out. But maybe, just maybe, you won’t say any–
“Hey there sweetheart!” you yell, a grin on your face as you make eye contact with me. I shudder and walk faster, suddenly loathing all the parts of my body that made you want me.
With every time that you see me as your object– your piece of meat to claim– I feel ashamed and angry at myself for even dreaming of something different in the first place.
But my dream! It’s so carefree, so liberating that I just can’t help myself! In my dream I am always just a girl, no, a woman, walking down the street with her own purpose, her own aspirations, her own personal goddamn space. I am seen as someone who can create, inspire, impact this world for the better. In this dream, I am someone who should be respected and not shouted at like some animal in your sex fantasy zoo. But no. To you, I am reduced to a piece of ass you feel it is your right to claim on the street.
Well, guess what? Why should I be ashamed? With every “hey sweetheart” or “come here baby” I become even better at shutting you out, because you don’t matter to me. Your projections of your own inadequacies and shortcomings as a human being will not deter me from being unapologetically myself. Every time that you see me as yours, I am that much more untouchable. And your voice? It’s just an annoying buzzing in my ear that, while annoying, I just swat away. You wanna know what? I could care less about what I’m wearing or what my body looks like in your eyes, because I’ll just be doing me, and I love me. So my world? It’s glorious.