Tag Archive | #icant

Voice

How do I explain to my daughter how and why perpetrators of sexual assault and  harassment are put forward as leaders? How do I explain the continued objectification and abuse of women? I don’t have simple answers.  But I can write and reflect. I began this piece over a year ago. Given what’s happening in our country right now, it’s fitting to revisit.

I began writing personal essays while in college. My column, Mujer Hollering, became my way of expressing my views on various issues on campus and in my life through a personal lens. I wrote about issues of gender, ethnicity and culture. I was committed to being a woman with a voice and reflecting on how we are treated and perceived. It was challenging at first.  When you are conditioned by family, culture and society to be a woman in a specific way, having a voice of challenge and opposition is controversial and misunderstood. But I didn’t let that stop me.

Last summer, Luvvie Ajayi shared the following story on Facebook.  A dancer with a social media presence was approached online by one of her followers. He sent her pictures of himself and asked her about his physical attractiveness. When she didn’t respond because she was traveling, he became angry. He tried to video chat with her multiple times. When she still did not reply, he began to send her messages.  Lots of messages. He took back his initial compliments of her beauty. He called her fat, ugly, and boring. He questioned her credibility as a dancer since she allegedly had a “bulging belly.” This was a one-sided conversation; the woman was not on her phone or her computer when this transpired. When the dancer finally saw the exchange, she posted it to social media. The man was horrified. He told her he was humiliated because he was being questioned by family and friends.  He claimed strangers were harassing him. He told her he feared the story going viral. As one of the thousands who shared this post, we ensured it did. Like they sang in Chicago, he had it coming. Don’t start none, won’t be none.eb8306a4be1a7c593bb5696676c1a9b4112e85c7.gif

I haven’t forgotten this story because the familiar narrative struck a nerve. I could relate to the dancer’s sense of bewilderment when she discovered this garbage on her social media page. This is the sort of nonsense we can be subjected to when we reject unwanted advances. God forbid we’re not compliant in the harassment. Harassment is not romance. There is nothing romantic about being commanded to tell someone how good-looking he is. If a woman is not meek, then she is a b****. I’ve known many women who have been physically threatened or even physically attacked because they said no.  Women have the human right to safety, to our own space, and to enjoy ourselves without anyone imposing on us. Let us be! Yet the reaction is often anger. I don’t want my daughter subjected to this rage. I’m going to continue to teach her to be a strong woman who can confront these situations and people. Parents of sons, raise them to honor women.

Mujer Hollering is still here. I’m going to continue to raise my voice for my sisters and for our daughters. So speak out however you can, in intimate social circles, on social media, or at the polls.  Women will not be silenced.

 

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The spoils

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“The river of addiction flows

You think it’s hot, but there won’t be no water

When the fire blows…” Pop Life by Prince

 

So you win

Again

you break rules and people’s trust

yet you’re never sorry

but you’re the sorriest excuse

you’re an insult

to the profession

There won’t ever be a confession

but we have our suspicions

we know you ain’t got inhibitions

you stay the object of our derision. 

Make the right decision

get your sorry self out the way

you only stay

to make us pay.

Day after day

you play a role

But you don’t fool us.

This time you got one over

and that’s not right

 

So you win

again

never accountable

never responsible

never willing to accept or reflect

You stay lying to yourself

and those obliged to listen

but you’re the sorriest excuse

you’re a disgrace

I stopped being able to look you in the face

You’re lucky I didn’t catch a case

and let hands do what mind has pondered

too much energy was squandered

trying to get you to step up

or step away

but we won’t play.

This time you got one over

But you won’t ever be right

In the mind or in your life.

 

You won

but tick tock tick tock

we will run out the clock.

If I were you I would take stock

and start planning my retreat.

The universe won’t be beat

You best get right

Or you might finally

Lose.

 

Worst foe

“I been movin’ calm, don’t start no trouble with me

Tryna keep it peaceful is a struggle for me” by Aubrey Drake Graham

 

To all the fake traitorous former friends in my life and those of my loved ones:  You tried it!

 

Let go when a friendship falls apart

Can’t let it hurt your heart

Most friends who turn out to be false aren’t worth grieving

 

I gave you my time, my energy

I cared for you like I cared for my best friends or for my family

You played me

This is how you paid me

You betrayed me

How am I supposed to feel sympathy for your stupidity?

I have no pity left  

I don’t care about the hours spent giving you advice through conversations, through phone calls, through text messages

I care about myself which is what I should have been doing instead of looking out for your fool self.

Go lose yourself in your addictions, your questionable relationships, your time wasting

You need help, not my health.

I will pray for you but I won’t speak to you.

You took.

You damaged.

You go.

I will be tempted to be vengeful but I know that is not me. That is my anger against you. I refuse to give in to it.  

I have wasted enough of myself on you.

I will leave you in peace and I expect you to do the same.

Don’t speak on me

Don’t speak to me.

Do not come for me.

 

An enemy is an enemy

but a friend turned enemy is the worst kind of foe.

Please go or I will have to let you know.

That’s a side of me I don’t want to show.

I know better now

I know who you are

You’re not going to get far if this is how you do those that show you love

Now go on.  Go do you.

Let the universe handle you

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those damn Ides of March 

Betrayal

From Dangerous Liaisons