Rage


In response to this horror  of an op-ed, Melissa McEwan wrote this.   To which I say, Yes, Melissa, yes!

 I ran a lot as a young teen, ran the mile in junior high and briefly flirted with being on the cross-country team in high school; in any event, I ran.  During the schoolyear, I’d run in the morning.    I stopped running after my sophomore year in high school after a foggy morning experience that still leaves me shaking when I think about it.

We lived in a classic northern California subdivision, wide streets, two car garages, palm trees mixing with live oaks along the sidewalks, etc., etc.  I was running along the sidewalk along the street, probably around 6am.  It was barely light, and foggy.  The fog was brighter than the sky.  As I neared the end of my run, a  pickup truck was coming the other way towards me.  It began to slow.  Shortly after I ran past it stopped then pulled a U turn in the middle of the street and began to follow me slowly about 50 feet behind me.  I had begun hyperawareness after it had slowed, and when it turned around I went into hyperfreak mode, thinking, “shit, shit, shit, shit”.  I was still running at a jog trying to think fast as it continued to follow me.   I saw a turn off ahead, which I knew to be a cul de sac, Sleepy Hollow Court.  Aha, I thought, I’ll turn there and he’ll think I’m going home because it is only a half block long so no one out for a run would otherwise turn there, right?

 So I did, ran up the cul de sac and hid behind a pine tree, half afraid that I’d made “the wrong decision” because I would now be trapped in the cul de sac if followed.  In my hyperfreak mode I never once thought to bang on a door of the dozen houses I passed, it was too early, people were still asleep. I was alone.  Also, I was simultaneously worried about being labeled a hysteric.  Yes, I was completely terrified and yet at the same time worried about embarrassing myself.  I waited, breathing heavy, for over 15 minutes, terrified that if I left too soon, the truck would still be waiting out on the main drive through the subdivision.  Finally, I left, walking, figuring I’d save energy if I saw the truck again and needed to sprint for home.

 I was lucky, the truck was gone.  Who knows what the driver’s intent was, perhaps they were only lost.  I don’t care.

 I never ran alone in the morning again until I was in my 20s, living in Manhattan, and even then, vast portions of the year I would not run in the morning because it was dark out.  Ten fucking years of less exercise because of one scary event.  Ten fucking years of less FREEDOM because of one scary event.

 Do NOT fucking tell women where and when they can run.  We’ve already internalized it.  We’ve already endured the comments on the street, on the trail, wherever we walk or run by.  We’ve already limited our choices to our own comfort level based on experience and the ever present voice of “WARNING, WARNING you could be next.”  We’ve already turned down the ipods to make sure we can hear any footsteps behind us.  We’ve already

 DO NOT fucking victim blame.  Fuck Off Logan Jenkins.  You just have no FUCKING idea what you are talking about.

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I know this, deep down, and yet I regularly suppress this knowledge in the rush of daily life.  I was reminded today while listening to the radio while getting ready for work.  Story: house fire. Reason: candles.  Subreason: the electricity was cut off last Friday. Result: Two kids dead, another kid and the mom in the hospital in critical condition.

What ‘completed’ this essence of despair was the closing comment by the broadcaster that the parents are now under investigation for endangering the kids and/or neglect.  Because of the fire.  Caused by candles.  Caused by the electricity being turned off.  Caused by an inability to pay the bill.

fuck.   I keep trying to add something here, but I am without words.

 UPDATE: We have found someone -who seems phenomenal & has glowing references-who starts Monday.  Please cross your fingers for me! 

Our new sitter, who was working out beautifully, gave notice yesterday.  She found a full-time job working in a daycare.   I strongly suspect that she took our job as a stop-gap because she was new to the area.  If I’d known, I would have still hired her while looking for something more permanent.  While it saved us temporarily, and she was great with the kids, we are now back searching after less than a month and we will be without a sitter in ten days.

Please excuse me while I run screaming in panic and frustration. 

Update: Just wanted to add that my broken thumb is better and out of its cast.  However,  at the moment, I would prefer a broken thumb than no babysitter.   Yes, that is right, a good babysitter is worth more than a right thumb.

So I was reading this post at this blog (so happy to have found it and I added it to the blogroll) and wondering why the types of verbal assaults that dizzy describes, such as that or this type of stuff, doesn’t happen to me more often.

No, seriously, I’m not looking for trouble, but I’m wondering if I have sunk so far into the muck of settled parenthood, getting along to go along with the dominant paradigm of working-outside-the-home-momhood and trying to get through the day with the shreds of my sanity intact that I’m only noticing 5% of the insulting things that happen to me on a regular basis.  And what happened to my anger?  I’d like to have it back.  It’s exhausting being angry all the time, but it’s exhilirating, too.  

I have definitely experienced all sorts of verbal harrasment, but not as frequently as I used to.   It may be that years of suffering these unwarranted intrusions have made me oblivious a lot of the time, worn down from the constant onslaught.  But I think it’s also that now I am in my late 30s I have moved from “potentially fuckable and thus subject to any and all pestering that any idiot male chooses to provide” to “eh, not old, but why bother.”

Part of me is really enjoying this slide into the invisibility of females over 35.  Part of me is just pissed off.  Look, I don’t need the hassle, but when even the lack  of hassle pulls you into the swirl of the patriarchy and assigns you your rank therein, it’s annoying as hell.

There’s just no escape from the assholes.

On the way out of the office today, I was caught waiting with The Silent Man.  This guy, who works on my floor, does not talk to anybody.  Seriously.  I supppose he must talk to his boss and probably some support staff, but apparently does not interact with anyone else in the office as far as I (and several of my colleagues) can tell.  He exudes this aura of chilly disinterestedness.  I’ve never had the nerve to do more than smile at him when stuck in the elevator hall because of the pall he carries with him.  Of course, because he doesn’t really look anyone in the eye, he probably doesn’t see the smile encouraging him to say hello.  Anyway, in a very distant way he reminded me of the dementors in the Potter books in that his silent presence is so palpable that even when I have gotten on the elevator chatting with other people we all fall silent in his presence.  Weird.

This got me thinking about dementors.  In the Potter books, the dementors suck all the happiness out of people whenever they’re around.  They drive people crazy with sadness.  They are not personal dementors in that they have the same effect, generally, on everyone.  I was thinking though, that I, and probably many others, have a personal dementor.  A personal dementor is someone who just makes you crazy.  Perhaps with sadness, such as the Potter dementors, or in my case, crazy with rage.

When I say drives me crazy with rage, not only has this person done absolutely infuriating things, but has done them so often and made me so ‘demented’ that even minor faux pas and irritations that I would overlook or dismiss in someone else make me glower and storm about in overwhelming anger at yet another offense by this person.  This relative, quite literally, drives me crazy with rage almost by “being” sometimes. 

It is absolutely absurd that I let this person affect me so and I have on occasion tried every trick I can think of to simply not engage, not allow the minor irritants to get to me, but I have always failed.  Basically, I end up doing all sorts of stupid passive aggressive things when I am around this person and it drives me nuts.  I can be very straight-forward about issues, problems, etc., with most people, but not with this person.  I tried it once and it blew up in my face.

One of my best friends in law school was managing editor of the law review and as such, had the not so joyous task of giving assignments to her peers to review/edit articles.  There was a guy in our class who became her personal dementor.  He was typical of a subset of people on the journal who once they had ‘gotten on law review’ and had that credit to add to their resume did simply the barest most minimal amount of work, complaining all the while about how put upon they were.  Anyway, everything this guy did drove my friend nuts the entire year she was editor.  Finally, in desperation, she decided that for Lent (she being Catholic) she would give up her anger at him.  It worked.  I”m not sure how.  She still despises him, but for the last few months of the year she was able to let go and he did not phase faze* her. 

I wish I could find a way to do that with my personal dementor.  I need to be able to do a Patronus charm.

Please share your thoughts on personal dementors and how to defeat them – any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

* Updated to correct wordchoice.  I seem to have more and more problems with homonyms the older I get. Weird.

Reading this post via Carnival of Feminists reminded me of all the ways in which I, and some of my friends, were humiliated during those awkward years of 11-14.*  All these emotions and memories come rushing to the forefront and it seems impossible to type down in any coherent fashion.  But I think it’s important to get this out there – the regular confusion, assaults and resulting shame due to confusion about who is to blame (the self? the aggressor?). 

(triggers?) (more…)

I almost had a rage-induced anuerysm on the way to work today.  NPR was interviewing the head of the National Right to Life organization as part of this week’s series on the fallout of the Supreme Court’s decision last week upholding the federal late-term particular type of abortion ban.  Yesterday they interviewed someone from the Center of Reproductive Rights.  Tomorrow, an ethicist to discuss how medical advances are changing the debate.

Anyway, aside from shrieking at the radio when the interviewee was expressing his dismay that there appears to still be five votes on the court that would require health exceptions on any abortions done past viability (Really?  Mr. Johnson, you may be happier with the outcome of this decision than you think based on some of the analyses I’ve seen), I further lost it when the interviewer, as part of a question, said “Now you’ve been personally involved in this issue for a long time . . .” I’m surprised I didn’t wreck the car.

Personally involved? Uh, the interviewee, a MR. Johnson, is a MAN.  And presumably always has been.   Therefore, unless he’s been in a situation similar to that of DBB’s in this post, this guy has NEVER been and never will EVER be personally involved in this issue.

Yeah, and Mr. Johnson’s comparison of the NRL’s work to the pre-civil war abolitionists was extremely offensive, too.

I have a headache from screaming so loud at my radio.