It’s been said that when I was 10 months old my father was putting me to bed in my crib and in one swift motion I lurched my chubby little arm into the air and grabbed on to his adam’s apple with a death grip. To this day an uneasy look still creeps across his face when ever my mother retells that story. “She looked right into my eyes and there was nothing there. I swear I couldn’t even breathe.” I mean, I let go so I don’t know what he’s still so shaken up about. Then again I guess I also demonstrated some rather unsettling behavior toward my Ken Dolls as well. Instead of my brother ripping the heads off my Barbies, I was ripping the legs and arms off of Ken. After realizing that Barbie no longer had a boyfriend I would shave the head of another and make them date. So really, the fact that I’ve been single my entire life really isn’t such a mystery. But where exactly did this anger come from?
I suppose we could blame it on my mother for letting me watch the movie Bastard Out of Carolina at such an early age but I’m not here to play the blame game. After my last hopeful relationship didn’t work out I’ve been thinking a lot differently than I had been previously. Usually I get my heart broken because he’s selfish, or afraid to commit, or probably gay but as of late I’ve been wondering about what I’m doing wrong. I suppose that first off I’m not really sure how to be in a relationship with men. I’m not even just talking about a romantic relationship either. Not even my male friendships have proven beneficial. If they’re not gay, then they’ve probably tried to sleep with me which really cannot result in a secure platonic relationship. There are of course the few who simply act like women, but in the worst way.
Perhaps learning how to be and feel comfortable around men was something that all the other little girls learned to do along with french braiding each other’s hair. Was this what I missed at all of those sleepovers I wasn’t invited to in middle school? By the end of high school I had finally shed my training bra and began to move up in the world. I learned how to be sexual with men, that was easy. All you had to do was add alcohol. It wasn’t enjoyable in the least, but it was easy. I assumed that like in the movies, sex led to love and relationships. I learned that it doesn’t work that way, which was a rather awkward lesson. Somewhere along the line I developed a severe distrust and disdain for the opposite sex. I wore my hatred as proudly as I wore my chunky gold earrings, which were also not a good look. If pain and anger are left alone to stew inside of you, they will undoubtedly grow into a bigger problem than you may be ready to deal with. Let me be your example. Living with hatred is like not being able to figure out why your fire alarm is going off, it’ll drive you crazy.
Earlier this week I found myself in this weary position yet again and in the midst of my chain smoking and man bashing my cousin stopped me, “There really isn’t anything wrong with you, you’re great. You just keep attracting guys who don’t want to be serious with you. You have these wonderful relationships with women but you can’t apply them to men, do you know why? Because your man-hating mantra is playing loud and clear even when you don’t know it!” Wow, this may have been the wisest thing she had ever said to me, besides perhaps the time she said, “Sometimes I get so angry I could just bite a brick wall!” But she had a point, a good one. There’s a certain deepness in me that will not remove itself. It’s holding me back and keeping me at a distance from what I truly desire.
It’s not easy letting go of the past in order to create a better future. Sometimes I’ll wake up on a really great day and I’ll feel full of love. However, just as I allow myself enough kindness to smile at the stranger sitting across from me on the bus, he has already taken my gesture too far and begun to fondle his balls in my direction. Hatred for man kind, one. Faith in strange men, zero. Now, I know neither this man nor the other creepy men I’ve encountered at my various retail jobs are the same men with whom I’d form relationships with, but nonetheless it’s unsettling. Either way, I’ve realized that it’s not my love for Ani Difranco and Jewel, my passion for feminism, or even my shamelessness that prevents me from being in a healthy relationship. It’s the negative energy that I’m constantly releasing which keeps the boys at bay. As hard as it may be, I’m committed to changing my ways. I’ll even refrain from bashing the men I’ve slept with. Well, maybe I shouldn’t make too many promises.