Why David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive is one of the best films ever made: You get lost in a dream. You like the dream. Then, by the time it’s too late, you realize “the dream” was a sick,depraved little nightmare all along.
"1 in 4 women get sexually assaulted. That’s is almost every woman I’ve ever met." - Kayla Ancrum
1. Walking alone on a deserted street at night, I think of –
Generally, when I’m walking late at night, I don’t feel like I’m in danger. Generally, I feel completely fine and free until someone or something viscerally reminds me that I’m prey. Like a man who is just trying to get home quickly, walking too close behind me. Or some teenagers smoking in an alley who duck out at the same time I walk by. Or footsteps behind me that turn out to be another girl. Its like being a bunny and seeing something wriggling in the bushes and as your bunny heart begins to race with dreams of foxes and dogs, out comes another bunny and you breathe just to live another day.
2. My first time - If are you open to it, you could share the first incident of street harassment/teasing/“catcalling” you experienced.
I honestly couldn’t tell you. I became prey so young I can’t remember. The worst incident however, I do recall: I was riding the train to high school and it was rush hour so it was very packed. I felt something weird happen to my leg but it was over really quickly, and my wallet wasn’t back there so I didn’t think anything of it. When I stepped off the train however and turned to check. I noticed that a complete stranger had ejaculated all over the back leg of my jeans. I cut the seams and ripped them into shorts right there on the train platform and walked the 8 blocks to school in jorts. It was 18 degrees outside.
3. Healing is - What do you do to regain your sense of self, rooted in being a woman/woman identified person who has to fight for herself in a world where so much physical and emotional violence is directed towards our bodies and minds.
I don’t allow myself to wallow. 1 in 4 women get sexually assaulted. That’s is almost every woman I’ve ever met. I understand that my experiences are common and treat them as such. I do not let them affect me and I discuss them openly because until people realize just how common these occurrences are, we will keep excusing them as incidental. It is of more interest to me to teach the men around me in my life about feminism and about how to treat women like human beings, with respect, than to turn inwards when dealing with these issues. Every man and boy who I have taught to stand up to fellow men and reel back in disgust when they see women being dehumanized, is one less woman who gets cum on the back of her jeans.
4.Do you think your city is safe for women? What can be done to make it better?
No city is “safe for women”. There is nowhere on earth that is safe for women. Even small matriarchal towns and sects are under constant threat of gender based violence.
5. What is your survival song - a method to self-care, a mantra, a ritual or something you hold close to revive and strengthen yourself after a shock, setback or trauma? (This section is important because I think a lot of young girls who read this will gain strength and means for their own survival songs.)
Keeping Warm by We Were Promised Jetpacks. Its an incredible millennial song about surviving inherited circumstance.
“The chances of being born are so slim
So keep warm, so keep warm
And take some heart at being born at quite so young
You can learn to talk, and learn to walk in your own time
You’re so young.”
I love that understanding that you’re so precious and so vulnerable and so young, and no matter what you’re doing as long as you try your best—even if that best isn’t good enough– you are still okay. You are still Doing Good. There aren’t many places young people can hear that said out loud and with such tenderness. So, whenever I feel small, I listen to that song and think “ I feel so small and hurt right now, but really—I am small, and that’s okay. One day, I will grow. If I keep going, I will grow”.
Kayla Ancrum is an American YA author who is fond of tea, fan fiction and turkish delight. She is repped by Amy Tipton of Signature Literary Agency.
I hate that as young girls and young women grow and mature we’re brainwashed into this ideal that we have to always put ourselves last, that caring for ourselves FIRST is an issue, that a marriage somehow provides us with our sense of worth and purpose in life, that we must cater to men in each and every way doing whatever we can to make them comfortable and help them prosper even if it includes diminishing ourselves and our capabilities, not speaking up, staying quiet, doing anything and everything to protect them even it costs us, not calling them out on their flaws and shortcomings plus not setting boundaries etc.