Arn't I A Woman?: Let's sing another song boys



Oct 22, 2012

Let's sing another song boys

Wow. It has been a really crazy, emotional, tantrum-inducing hormonal mind fuck couple of months. A million things have changed: I moved out of a house that I lived in for five years, a house that became a physical manifestation of my mental illness. I got a better job, one that doesn’t cause panic attacks, so that’s good. I (tried?) to quit smoking, quit drinking for a month, and went off my medication. This was all within like a 30 day period or less. Most of these changes invariably have “positive” values attached to them. But I’ve never been one to adapt to change well. I cling on very tightly to things I know, even if they are bad for me, because I know them, I know what to expect from them even if it is misery. I’ve been on a lot of new medication, new doses. And I had really bad side effects from them. I started to have bursts of rage, like rage I couldn’t control. My skin broke out which was horrible for my self-esteem. I felt like I couldn’t control anything, and without control I feel powerless. And when I feel powerless I feel helpless, and when I feel helpless, I curl up into a metaphorical fetal position until I can’t lie there anymore.

In therapy they ask you- when was the last time you remember feeling happy? For me that has been during one period of my life, for about 6 months or so. I went through this transformation and it was really positive for me. I started to get healthy. But attaining happiness isn’t the same as sustaining it. And it’s not like you get happy and it just stays with you from then on out. You can lose happiness just as much as you can gain it.

So there was this whole new world out there for me, and I explored it….and then I got burned by a lot of things. I think the biggest thing that affected me negatively during those periods were my romantic relationships.

I never dated until I was in college, I was always really insecure and never thought a guy would like me. When I started to become healthier I felt more confident. It was the first time where I enjoyed flirting and dating casually, and it was just something I had never experienced before. But I was really naïve, and ended up letting guys take advantage of me. I basically only had horrible relationships, which kept perpetuating itself to the point where I just thought that was how a normal relationship was supposed to be. So I was never happy in them. The first guy had a horrible drug problem, which I never knew until after we broke up. It ended when he woke up one day and said “hey I’m moving away and don’t want to be with you after that, I’m leaving in 2 weeks but we should stay together until then”. I was confused after that relationship, because I had had all of this confidence and thought I felt good about myself, but then I didn’t understand why I felt so bad when I was with someone, and it started to place the seed that that was how I should feel and what I deserved because why else would it be happening?

So I got into another relationship pretty quickly after we broke up. This was a guy who vandalized my basement because he was upset with me, and then told me he loved me (the same night) and I thought “yep this is the right thing for me.” (I’m a genius). So obviously that was a very horrible relationship in so many ways I wouldn’t even have enough room to talk about here.

So I haven’t seriously dated anyone since. Relationships terrify me now. I just end up having all these weird relationships with guys, almost whatever I can do to avoid actually having to be vulnerable I will do, it’s self-sabotage and I’m great at it. The problem is just being myself without all this anxiety about it. If I could do that, I think I’d be ok. But I’m afraid to because it means I have to let my guard down and I don’t want to do that because when I have it has only hurt me. I know it sounds super cliché! But I guess its cliché for a reason?
This is just a culmination of thoughts that were finally condensed into a non abstract entity when I saw a guy recently that I hadn’t in awhile, and we had a weird brief relationship, and even though he was a total jerk to me and I try to ignore him because I feel like talking to him would be accepting his behavior, there was still part of me that was like, oh, I miss him, even though we never even really had anything to begin with. So I’m in this ambivalent place right now where I’m struggling between being someone who accepts those self-destructive relationships, or someone who can be in a healthy one, and thinking I deserve that.

I still love Frank Ocean so please listen to him while reading this. I like to put it at the end because I think it would be fun to see how you might interpret this differently. Smiley face. 

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Sojourner Truth

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

Sojourner Truth

Delivered 1851 at the Women's Convention

Akron, Ohio