obvious strength

 

there are now machines that can replicate the pain felt during menstruation. i saw a video clip of some grown men writhing in pain from the simulation. crying in bed like newborns, screeching their lungs out, on the verge of clawing their eyes out. they’re catching a small glimpse of the pain we survive through, for fun, like a costume. the pains we rise & triumph through. go to school with, go to work with, go live out daily life with. now imagine labor pains.

 

the worst insult for a man is pussy.                                       the worst insult for a woman is cunt.

 

somehow the place of all our origins has become a location of weakness.

 

being female bodied has always been a balancing act between how i am perceived and how i perceive myself. that’s the distinction between gender performance & gender identity.

 

my gender is a river—fluid—transition familiar, both & neither. i occupy the in between.

 

a male professor once advised the female students of the class not to write about rape because it’s unoriginal and most women just think if they write about rape they’ll get famous.

 

victim blaming hides in our every day language.

 

have you ever had to tell a friend not to feel guilty for their own rape?

 

a coworker tells me a guy at work forced himself on her. she didn’t realize that what had happened was not exactly consensual until three months later when she was more able to talk about the details. she didn’t want to report it because she feared she could lose her job, her career, her apartment. i fear a part of her still blames herself.

 

have you ever had to tell yourself not to feel guilty for your own rape?
i heard a story once about a guy who was raped by a woman. he was clearly still shaken up by it, but has been trained to shake it off, because all his guy friends tell him he is lucky for this trauma. that any guy would be grateful to be violated in the same sense. their sense of empathy too wrapped up in sadomachismoism.

 

being yourself is a subconscious strength.

 

my best friend escaped a traumatic kidnapping, kicked and fought her way out of a man’s car at nine years old.

 

feminine is not synonymous with flaw or failure.

 

my best friend tells me he’s been molested by a cousin. he tells me this in the 6th grade. sharp pangs of recollection electrify my consciousness. my memory of an illegitimate uncle surfaces like potbellies in bathtub water. i don’t tell him i know what he’s going through, because i don’t. i just don’t. we bond over daddy issues.

 

another friend, this time in college, tells me he was sexually abused. i can relate but first i wonder how many men need to be poisoned by patriarchal patterns before we start taking their pain seriously.

 

i’ve been blamed for “my own” rape before. i can’t celebrate halloween anymore.

 

how does an action that you never wanted, you never asked for, you never initiated, you never had the choice to deny, never had the chance to reject, become yours anyway?

 

we call it yours even though it wasn’t your action.

 

and make you carry the dead weight with you. forced to tango with a limp corpse.

 

and the ones who truly own this onus of action simply carry on. now that’s weak.

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