It is heartbreaking the way men feel entitled to women and women do not feel worthy of men. Mirrors betray us all in different ways. “You are good enough” and “you are not good enough” and “you DESERVE her” and “you will NEVER deserve him.”
My best friend gets catcalled every time I go out with her and she vomits over her lanky legs and bushy eyebrows. She is beautiful, but she is afraid. Sometimes when I cry, it is for her.
I spent a lot of time talking to men about why they do what they do and they too often get that look in their eyes like “what the fuck is she talking about” like “who is she to question us” like “what I do is not wrong” like “it’s not ALL of us” before laughing and shrugging it off. I almost feel bad for them, because it seems they do not know the way their words feel like bullets coming from guns we cannot lobby against. But I snap out of it quickly, because it cannot be my job to educate them all while their eyes bore holes through my breasts and never through my forehead.
A lot of the time my friends from other states ask me when I’ll meet my next lover. All romantic, all Hollywood-esque, we’ll run into each other on the sidewalk between 23rd & 3rd. He’ll casually strike up a conversation with me at the coffee shop where I am so buried in my textbooks I forget to blink. None of that can ever happen, because any time a strange man looks, talks, walks in my direction, I have such a strong instinct to run that it makes gravity look weak.
Maybe it isn’t fair, but my one friend vomits, another friend forgot that love and bruises are not the same thing, and I don’t know a good touch from a bee sting after that too many times too often thing with that boy whose hands stretched in places I did not understand. And the police won’t file a report for that other friend, because not enough evidence, because she couldn’t get herself out of bed for the rape kit, because his good grades, because the hollow sound of a girl who will never know herself again is not ever enough evidence. And all of us cry, secretly and constantly, consistently silent in our shame.
Maybe it isn’t fair, the fear. But I can’t see how it’s up to us to fix it anymore, the entitlement, the greed, the insatiable hunger - the constant barrage of “it wasn’t me, I do not need to help you, to empathize with you.” All we get is only silence and empty bullet shells and so many holes in too many women I love. So many that if you look too quickly, you look through us. So many that the longer we stare in the mirror, the less of ourselves we see.”
— too much weight on my shoulders today - n.m.