No beverage: just frustration
Hi friends! So I know you haven’t heard from me in awhile, and honestly, I had a post mostly written and ready to roll out for my big return (stay tuned for that one) but today I feel like I just need to get something off my chest. And this just happens to be my outlet of choice
For those of you who’ve been loyal readers (thank ya kindly) you know that as a runner, and as a woman, I’m no stranger to creepy men doing creepy things. Just as a recap, I’ve been catcalled, followed, spit at, had someone pretend to jerk off at me…the list goes on. I once had someone tell me repeatedly to kill myself and that he hopes I die because I ran into the street while his dog was chasing me.
These experiences don’t make me special, I know. It happens to most, if not all, women. It also happens to men and individuals in general. But let’s not pretend that it’s an equal distribution.
For those of you who follow me on social media, you know that I’ve also been intermittently vocal about my issues with creepy men doing creepy things, in addition to the occasional irresponsible dog owner. But here’s the thing about using a Facebook status as an outlet for a complaint. People don’t always want to hear it. It’s old news. It’s dramatic. It’s just words.
A couple of years ago, I didn’t say good morning to someone on a run. They didn’t say good morning to me either, so I wasn’t aware I had missed the conversation. But anyway, the person proceeded to scream terrible things at me. But when I took issue with this, I was accused of being dramatic, of putting more severity into something that wasn’t that severe.
To that person I say, how do you know? How do you know the intention was just words? How do you know I’m mistaken? Because I don’t. And I was there.
This all brings me to my title and to my rant. Leaving a workout yesterday, I saw a man notice me and cross the street to my side. The man made me uncomfortable before he even crossed. I could see he was having a conversation with someone, and I could see that he was watching me. As he crossed the street he approached me saying, “I am homeless. I need help. Give me money.”
Ok, so if I can interject for a second: any John Mulaney fans get some New In Town vibes from this?? Anyone? Just me?
“I am homeless”
“I am gay”
“I have aids”
“I’m new in town”
Anyway, I didn’t answer the man. I was alone. I felt uncomfortable, and I wanted to get to my car. I also don’t carry cash, but that’s not really here nor there. What matters here is that when I failed to answer, he continued to follow me, demanding an answer, calling me a fat bitch, and saying he was going to punch me in the face.
He didn’t. I’m fine. I got in my car, and I drove home. I called my parents. I immediately tried to minimize it. Was I being rude for not answering? Did I manifest the situation by being uncomfortable before he even started speaking? Am I really fat?
He didn’t actually hit me, so was there really a problem?
Like I said, I’m fine.
And yet, none of this is ok.
That brings us to today, and my motivation for this post.
Today I went for a run. One mile in, some guys in a work truck drove by, and one yelled at me and told me to take my shirt off. A half mile further down the road, a car full of teens said something similar. And like I said earlier, none of this is new. And I know the odds that anyone is going to stop is pretty small. But at the same time, I have been followed before.
And it brings me to what my mom said on the phone last night.
“As a woman, you can never just assume you’re safe.”
You see, when I saw the guy yesterday, I immediately got a weird feeling. But no one wants to be that girl who assumes everyone is out to get them. And again, the guy never touched me. But he also didn’t get close enough. So when it comes down to it, who knows?
And are you noticing that even here, in a space that I own, I’m taking care to make a space for this man? Are you seeing how much I feel like I need to clarify that I wasn’t hurt? Can you read into it the insecurity I feel around the possibility that someone may think I’m exaggerating or being dramatic? Can you tell that even now I’m questioning whether I overreacted to the situation.
In the case of the two cars today, I didn’t think that they were going to pull over or anything. Like I said, that type of behavior is pretty common. But it’s all just so exhausting. It’s demoralizing. I’m trying to accomplish something, and instead I’m reduced to an object that is not deemed worthy of even the slightest respect. It makes you question why you’re doing all of this shit in the first place. The repetitive decision making process of determining what’s a threat and what’s just “guys being guys” makes the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the run seem pointless.
Which is why I’m sitting on my porch right now instead of finishing the last two miles of my run.
So I guess that’s really all I have to say on the matter. There’s nothing really to do about it, and I’m sure I’ll be back out for a run tomorrow. But sometimes it feels nice to just remind people that this is the shit that women get to deal with.
Thanks friends, and I promise you’ll get a new post this week! A fun one!