A World I’m Interested in Building
I’d like to share an experience and perspective with anyone who’s interested in listening, having an open mind, being okay with feeling triggered, and anyone who’s interested in an experience different than theirs. In my time here I have come to recognize a pattern within myself that I want to remedy. I want to practice sharing my experience from a place of grounded-ness and compassion, not from a triggered place of anger, sadness or insecurity. So, this is me sharing my experience so maybe you can hear me, so maybe you can see things through my eyes-feel things through my body, so maybe you can think about things a little differently.
This is my story: I was biking home earlier this week, and travelling down Avondale from Kitchener into Waterloo. As I was biking a car full of boys (and I say boys because they seemed to be young in age – teens to early 20’s – and maturity) yelled something loudly at me as they drove by. As I flinched at the unexpected loud noise, I tried to calm my heart and tell myself I was safe on the road. As I was successfully calming my triggers, I couldn’t help but notice that the car full of boys had stayed still at the stop sign I was quickly approaching. Fear paralyzed me. They were waiting for me. There were no other cars. It was after 8:30pm. Stories of women being pulled into cars, words that have been yelled at me came flooding into my mind, and my fear and distrust of men struck through me like lightning bolts. I looked left and right quickly and I ran the stop sign, I could hear their dismay and their fast tires on the pavement as they sped forwards to reach me again on my bike – I felt hunted, I felt like an animal of prey without my pack. So, I steered onto the sidewalk – gaining a little comfort in the 7 feet of safety I could grab onto – and they yelled something again as they finally drove past me. I project they continued down Avondale and turned onto another road in laughter and never thought of me again. And here I am writing with shakey hands, as my adrenaline fills my throat and finger tips. And the question begs, why? Why am I here and them there?
Well, I really believe that those boys had no idea the effect they had, and continue to have, on me. And I also feel confident in writing that most men and women aren’t aware of how much we truly affect one another – triggers and love combined. The way we communicate is a part of these misses. I am writing here today from a place of determination and love for humanity, I want to be vulnerable with you and share how scary that was for me. And I also want to share how much I love those boys. I love them for triggering me and creating THIS opportunity to share. I believe they had no idea I would be scared of them-that they would shake my security and safety. But it happened, and it will happen again because I’m a woman. I’d love to look back on this post one day and say that’s not an accurate statement anymore. I believe that day will come, but first we must share our experiences with each other.
I cannot speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself: If someone yells out their car door at me, I do not want to talk with them, be with them, or get to know them. I do not feel sexy and good about myself when people yell things at me about my body. I do not feel seen, heard, and worthy when people yell things out a car window at me.
I want to take a moment here and apologize to all the men that I have whistled at, honked in enthusiasm at, or yelled encouraging words at. I am sorry if in those actions I caused harm or fear. I acknowledge that I too have taken part in this cycle, and I want to release this.
So, if you’ve taken part in this cycle too, I ask you – I encourage you – to ask yourself what your intentions were. Why did you do it? What did you want to give and receive in that exchange? Did you truly get what you wanted? And, are there better, more efficient, respectful ways of achieving your wants? How can we take responsibility over our actions and act in respectful, sexy, and consensual ways towards one another? Now that’s a world I’m interested in building with you. I also feel compelled to share that it is not my intention or want for you to feel shame if you too have taken part in these sorts of exchanges. I want this to read as an opportunity to choose a different path of action. And if you do feel shame, sadness, anger, joy, after reading this, all your emotions are worthy of acknowledgement and you are enough as you are. If you want to talk more about this, or you want support in any way, please ask for what you need. Thank you for listening, for seeing me, and maybe for responding here and sharing your words with the world. What a wonderful world we live in, with all its moments.