Don't Let it Go

 

 

Today my mother asked me to get eggs from downstairs. It wasn’t a big deal because the vendor was right outside the apartment building, and it would literally take about three minutes to get them. Lazy as I am, there was no chance I was going alone, so I dragged my younger sister with me. We were getting what we needed when these two boys came from behind and one of them pushed the other one on me. I didn’t even realize what happened until I heard a bunch of other boys giggling from behind. I stared at them, disgusted, and left. What else could I have done? What else do any of us do for such things? Things like these are too small to report and not small enough to ignore. So, are we just supposed to forget things like these? Things that punish you so often for simply being a girl, a woman? 

On our way back home, my sister finally broke the silence and said, “You know that was on purpose, right?” And I had no answer. Funny thing is, this wasn’t even the first time something like this had happened. And every part of this feminine heart knew this wasn’t the last. 

"We know even success, and money, will not protect us from the humiliation of simply being a woman. So that makes us tired."

Every single girl in this whole d*mn world knows this, relates to this and experiences this. We’re all aware that things like these are going to happen by virtue of being a woman. We're scared. We don't want to mention it, because it's kind of a bummer, chat-wise, and we can't help but think, "Which one of us? And when?" We walk down the street at night with our keys clutched between our fingers, as a weapon. We move in packs — because it's safer. We talk to each other for hours on the phone — to share knowledge. But we don't want to go on about it to you, because that would be morbid. We just feel anxious. We're scared. Given the figures, we can't sometimes help but feel we're just waiting for the bad thing to come. Because that would be a realistic thing to think, and we like to be prepared. Awfully, horribly, fearfully prepared. We're tired. So, so tired. From the moment we hit puberty, we've been cat-called in the street; commented on by people as if we weren't standing there in front of them, hearing all this. We know even success, and money, will not protect us from the humiliation of simply being a woman. So that makes us tired. This is why, maybe, women can become suddenly furious — why online discussions about feminism suddenly ignite into rage. Tired, scared people are apt to lash out. Anger is just fear, brought to the boil.

“Your clothes are not okay”, “maybe you’ve outgrown that dress”, “your strap is showing”, “ignore it”, “forget that happened” the list is endless. And tiring. And frustrating. Being a woman is hard. But you know being a woman also comes with courage. The courage to stand up. The courage to fight. The courage to give voice to that pain. The first time something like this happened to me, I cried, a lot. I did not know what disgusted me more, those brutes, or my own body. I was ashamed of myself and it didn’t even make sense. I was so convinced to not tell my parents about it because “Ma would be too hurt” and “what will I even say to my father.” But I knew I had to tell someone; it would have killed me if I didn’t. And that was probably the best decision my numb mind took in that moment. The person I told said I couldn’t not do anything, I wasn’t weak, and it wasn’t my fault. And maybe, sometimes, you just need to hear it from someone else, maybe that’s all it takes. After that, there was no coming back. And I never felt better, stronger. Today, that stare made the giggling stop. And I could see in their eyes that they knew they were wrong. 

So, the next time it feels like a pain to be a woman, turn to someone who’ll remind you that you’re brave and beautiful. Speak up, for it is not your fault. And don’t let it go. Remember, you’re beautiful because you fight like a girl.