Awakening

If you haven’t read The Awakening by Kate Chopin, you should. But you probably won’t so let me give you a quick synopsis. A Woman, living in turn of the century New Orleans finds herself stuck with two children she cannot stand and a husband who pretty much ignores her. She hates her life because it wasn’t one that she chose. One summer while her husband and children are away she takes up a lover. Her lover leaves her, as most men do, and she is unable to return to society – so she drowns herself.

I read the book for some class in high school. No one understood it. They thought the main character was a soulless she devil who should have shut up and been grateful that she wasn’t a seamstress. Even at 15, I got it. I never wanted to be that woman. I vowed never to lock myself into a life that someone else had chosen because it was the “appropriate” option. Now, at 25 I’m realizing that I have spent all of my adolescence and early adulthood doing exactly what I wanted to stand up against.

I feel an immense amount of pressure to be in a romantic relationship that’s going somewhere and to have a career that’s on the fast track to take me places. But I don’t know where I’m supposed to go or, where that somewhere is. I never took the time to learn myself or what I really wanted from life. So here I am, working in customer service, online dating, and continuously floundering through life.

I’m terrified to pursue writing, or music, or anything that makes me really happy simply because I do not know how. I have spent my entire life following directions and therefore never learned how to take the lead. I’m lost.

I made it to New York – I did that. I live under a train and beside a Popeye’s in a less than desirable part of Brooklyn, but I made it. I view the wealth and glamour of the city from my fire escape but I am not a part of it. I’m still the same shy little girl who never got asked to play kickball. I’m just watching from a far, fantasizing that I’m part of the game. I know, it’s disgusting that I’m sitting here wallowing in my own self pity – woe is me and so it goes. But I’m trying to understand what’s behind it. Why didn’t I just ask to play with the other kids? Why don’t I just try? Why is my fear of failure and rejection so crippling that I have spent years attempting to settle into a life that wasn’t meant for me? We could blame it on me, being a millennial, an upper middle white class girl born and bred in suburbia – I never had to try so I simply don’t know how. That however, is just a piece of it. The simple fact is, I never knew being my own person was an option – so I just chose to ignore the urge. I pushed it down and stomped on it until it was nothing but a squashed little dream.

“You’re not traditional, Liz..” I can still hear him say it. He stood behind me, zipping up my bridesmaid dress, gently wiping the sweat away from my neck. “You can find someone else, you can get married, you can have all of this…but I just don’t think it’s for you.” Hot little tears welled up in my eyes and I stared at the ground and then back at him. “I get to have this…I get to be like everyone else.” It came spilling out of my mouth so fast, that I didn’t comprehend my own words. On the outside, I had been a perfect daughter, friend, and suburbanite. I deserved to have what all of the rest of them had – a shiny rock on my ring finger and a man who would take care of me and impress my family. Someone so smart, tall, and perfect he could distract everyone from all of my flaws. A man to make me a lady – a partner to ease my family’s fears.

I am coming to terms with the fact that I may never have that – because it is never what I really wanted. I will never be successful at working 9-5 pushing papers, processing orders, or planning holiday parties because it is boring and I actually hate it. This is my awakening. I am opening my eyes and greeting a new way of living – one that I alone have chosen. I am accepting that the life I want for myself is untraditional and that my path is unpaved. I am taking in and coming to terms with my own expectations of myself – I am getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and using my fear to move me forward rather than shying away from it. I will be a writer with a voice that offers support and ignites change – I will love late in life and know that when I do it will be on my terms. I want something different and that is okay – I am okay. I am coming late to the party but I have never been one to be on time.

 

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Rape: A Year in Review

 hatoum

It’s been said that every two minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. In past years maybe this bit of statistical information would have been unbelievable but lately it’s become more obviously so. Maybe it’s because every five minutes there’s a new post, article, tweet, or controversy regarding rape. Honestly, between “comedian” Daniel Tosh’s less than hilarious rape jokes to the Steubenville teens who raped and urinated on an unconscious sixteen-year old girl, 2012 has definitely been the rapiest year yet. And it’s not because there have been substantially more rapes this year than the last. Quite the contrary, it’s because rape is finally emerging as a real issue. No more hiding it behind closed doors or stuffing it under our beds with the rest of our dirty laundry. We are talking about rape while challenging those who perpetuate it and I believe that’s something to celebrate.

Earlier this spring Daniel Tosh made some rape jokes. Of all of the things to chuckle at he chose something that directly affects 1 in 5 American women not to mention the countless men and children who have been sexually assaulted. Did he really think that would go over well? I never got a chance to properly address the witless comments left on my Facebook status which read, “Hey Tosh, rape jokes aren’t funny!” So, to respond to those who believe standup comedy is an art and rape jokes are just artistic expression, I say this: No, some things aren’t funny. It wasn’t funny when I lost my sense of self. It wasn’t funny when I’d cry myself to sleep thinking that somehow I was responsible for my own rape. By laughing at atrocities like rape we clearly continuing it. When we laugh at something we get comfortable with it. We allow it to come into our homes and sit down with us on the couch. Laughing only separates it from its own ugliness because after all if something makes us laugh than it can’t be that bad. Ending rape culture is more important than five minutes of half-assed standup.

Right wing politicians sure had a lot to say about rape this year. They even went so far as to take personal experiences and divide them into different “types” of rape. There was forcible rape, rape-rape, Legitimate rape, and of course emergency rape! Like, um excuse me but when isn’t rape a fucking emergency? Listen, anyone with half of a brain will tell you that categorizing rape is completely asinine but just in case you’re not sure, rape is when a person has sex with you without your consent. This can happen out of force, unconsciousness, inebriation, intimidation, or manipulation. I hope this simple definition cleared it up for everybody but if you forget just try and remember that rape is rape is rape is rape.

In December a 23 year old Indian woman was out with her boyfriend after 10pm and was raped. Some will try and argue that this is the very reason why she was raped. “What was she doing?” “Why was she out so late?” and the victim blaming will go on and on like this. Victim blaming is prevalent all over the world and India is no exception. However, this case was so undeniably horrific that it got people talking. Jyoti Singh Pandey was attacked by five men who gang raped her with pipes, leaving her completely disemboweled. She survived the encounter but died some days later in the hospital. India, a country where sex is so stigmatized that victims of rape are often shamed into marrying their rapists, is pissed. They are finally getting angry at rape and demanding that the perpetrators of this crime be brought to justice. From this ghastly incident rose a voice that is insisting rape be taken seriously. What happened to Jyoti was nothing short of tragic but if a conservative country like India can stand up against rape than why can’t we?

Oh, Steubenville just a little town with a big problem. Steubenville, like most of the United States, glorifies its high school athletes to the point that they are sure they can’t be rapists. Just like they’re sure these rising football stars didn’t rape an unconscious girl and then urinate on her at a party. You’re right coach. That little tart was just trying to bring down your team for her own selfish reasons! Err wrong. That’s most definitely not how that works. Sadly, this story is constantly repeating itself. For some reason Americans can’t come to terms with the fact that standing up for a rape victim is considerably more important than standing by the athlete who raped her, go figure. This time things turned out differently for the small town story. It made the national news and it’s still being talked about. Of course that little video of Steubenville teens referring to themselves as “the rape crew” Anonymous leaked last month sure didn’t help keep it out of the headlines.

So, there it is. We’re finally talking about it. The conversation has started without any intention of stopping. Rape is a truly insidious action and the fact that we can’t turn on our computers or pick up a newspaper without seeing it on a headline doesn’t mean the world is getting worse. It means that instead of pretending it doesn’t happen we’re finally addressing it and holding perpetrators accountable.  This year we’ve seen politicians, entertainers, athletes, and entire countries face this controversial topic. Finally, it’s the majority who’s standing up against rape. As advocates we are no longer the minority. In 2013 my only hope is that we can continue the conversation so that rape and rape culture can meet an ultimate end.

Oxygen: Television for Morons

I was in the midst of a romantic rendezvous with Across the Universe’s leading man, Jim Sturgess, when uninvited noise and clatter began entering my dream. Suddenly my delusions became dark and ridden with anxiety as I struggled to open my eyes. My make up from the night before had become a sticky glue. As I pealed my eyes open I directed them towards the television screen that lay before me. Sick with hangover and trapped helplessly between the cushions of an old leather sofa I began to comprehend what I was watching. What I saw disturbed and confused me. “What is this?” I muttered into the leg which lay next to my head. “It’s the Bad Girl’s Club. It’s awful but I can’t stop watching.” My friend sat staring off in a morbid trance. Rather than protesting I slid up on the couch and joined her.

If you have never seen Oxygen’s hit show The Bad Girl’s Club I would like you to first take a moment to congratulate yourself on not falling victim to mindless reality television. The series encompasses girl on girl victimization, violence, alcoholism, and overt sexuality. So basically, it’s old fashioned fun for the whole family. For whatever reason nine or so girls are placed in a lavish mansion in Beverly Hills, CA where they are pumped with alcohol and rewarded for their “bad” behavior with cheap fame. There is no lesson to be learned or encouragement to change their ways, only camera crews willing to instigate drunken fist fights and orgies. The Bad Girl’s Club is essentially Girl’s Gone Wild, gone mainstream.

Unfortunately this is most likely why it is Oxygen’s most popular, (possibly only popular) series. In today’s shock hungry society sex and violence sells and women are paying the price. So why then, would a television network who claims to be for women, exploit women? It’s simple really, the Oxygen network is playing into the market allotted for them by popular culture. Creating dramatic reality shows which display “independent” women as shameless, violent, lushes feeds the anti-feministic stereotype which our society has grown to love.

“See dude, bitches are crazy.” I cocked my head to the left to see where the voice was coming from. An unidentified male sat on the couch opposite from me and slurped up the pink milk from his fruity pebbles as he spoke, “Like this is why girls shouldn’t live together, you guys are catty and just plain nuts.” I turned back to the T.V. in time to witness drinks being thrown and hair being pulled. A one hour show had managed to push women’s efforts back to the stone age for my age group. Thank you Oxygen, for making my life as a twenty something feminist that much harder.

One must understand that I’m not basing my entire opinion on the effects of this show on someone who already refers to women as “bitches”, but at the same time isn’t this the reaction it evokes from it’s viewers? This series avidly promotes girl on girl violence as well as competitiveness which is a debilitating issue for women as is. These producers are banking on young women dividing and conquering each other like gamblers who throw down money at a cock fight.

I rolled from the couch and stumbled awkwardly into the nearby kitchen. As I sat down at the table I could still hear muffled screams from the television. I gained the strength to leave when seven girls attacked one girl in an argument on of all things, who was the “baddest bitch” in the house. Our stomachs turn when we see homemade videos of girls mercilessly attacking other girls on CNN, and think what has the world come to? Where did they learn this?  Well, this is where they learned it. Women learn to hate and to hurt at different levels through out their lives and competitiveness is intrinsically integrated into all parts of our culture, but it is here, on a television network targeted toward women where this kind of disgusting behavior is so obviously played out. It’s as if The Bad Girl’s Club is a step by step guide on how to exactly fit the stereotype of the new American woman.

Some are Silver, Some are Gold, and Some are Just Toxic.

From birth women long to be part of a collective. We are a gender who’s very DNA craves to belong to a group of our own. Naturally society has, with it’s sexism and constant competition for resources, ruined this for women. American society has placed heterosexual norms and historical expectations on women. The unrelenting pressure we face comes in all different forms. Sometimes we feel it from the media messages we’re receiving that tell us that we must be “the best and most beautiful” in order to get a man’s attention. So we compete with each other for male affection, fighting tooth and nail for what seems like the only resource that will ensure our survival. Other times it can hit us in our workplace. The higher up we climb, the more alienated from other women we become. This form of separation says “You’ve made it, you’re the bestwoman.” It can perpetuate the belief that giving other women a step up could somehow jeopardize your success, leaving you to hide behind the excuse, well no one helped me, why should I help any one else?  Women are very much expected to tear each other down and we are constantly being pinned against each other. Wives versus mistresses, successful business women versus housewives, slut versus virginal Mary, and even blonde versus brunette. The compulsive need to alienate other women is not natural but we have definitely continued to pass it on. It can be seen especially in female friendships.

Growing up in a middle class suburb of Ohio I was no stranger to catty friendships and I myself have had quite a few “frienemies” over the past years. You know, the kind of girls who would run full speed at the guy I had my eye on, simply because I wasn’twoman enough to claim him. Actually these girls were less of frienemies and more of my best friends but of course I didn’t really realize the difference at the time. Most of the friendships that have passed had fallen apart for good reasons. For a very long time I worked as the emotional punching bag for my two best friends. It never mattered what they did to me, because it could never be their fault, they were completely unable to be wrong. According to them I was the bad person, I was immoral and every problem was mine and not theirs. I know exactly why they acted like this. It’s because both of them were painfully insecure and they needed a crutch, which was me. They always had to be prettier and better than the other girls they surrounded themselves with because neither one of them had any sense of self worth. They never learned how to trust women so they were unable to be trustworthy to women. Get it? This is why women in groups tend to alienate certain members, because they themselves feel alienated from the group and probably always will.

Being brought down by other women can only increase distrust and increase one’s hatred for their fellow gender. It’s important to understand if anyone is having a negative impact on your life that you have the right to walk away from them with out an explanation or hesitation. Friends should be there to uplift you. They should act as a support system for you just as you would for them. Being honest with one another and communicating about your feelings openly is key to having any kind of healthy relationship, but especially for a friendship. If you can’t trust one of your friends with something serious, then that person probably shouldn’t be considered your friend.

I am lucky enough to have some of the most wonderful friends that I could ever ask for. When I am waiting desperately in the dark of the eleventh hour they are always there to light my way and pull me through it. These strong, beautiful women blow me away with their constant love and generosity. Sometimes even when you need it the most, it is hard to ask for help. It was especially hard for me to ask for help from my friends. Before, I would be made to feel like I was a burden if I needed to cry on someone’s shoulder (and come on, everyone needs a good shoulder to cry on), but now I understand that if I need something, all I need to do is ask and there they’ll be.

Good friends should teach you things about yourself, they should inspire you to be better than you are. Don’t be afraid to cut ties with the ones who treat you poorly, you’ll never be alone as long as you have an open and honest heart. I am a woman who supports other women, but I have no tolerance for those who do not support me. I have friends who shine brilliantly as gold, and others that due to the directions of our lives have faded to a tarnished silver, but even in spirit they continue to enrich my life. I will however, never regret letting go of the one’s who were toxic because I have no room in my life for let down, and neither should you.

Is Love the American Dream?

The American dream is a phenomenon that we’re all familiar with. Although it has lost much of it’s appeal since the 1950’s, the idea that all you need in life is a car, a family, and a white picket fence wrapped around your front lawn, is one that is still ingrained in all of us. For women, we have been pressured into a specific part of this dream, and rather than fading away it has simply changed it’s shape. I’m talking of course, about the expectation of being in a relationship.

As little girls we are bombarded with images and ideas of love from the mass media. Disney planted the idea in our heads that happiness can only be achieved with the love of a handsome prince. Perhaps if Jasmine had defied her father’s wishes and instead of marrying a “street-rat” became the first Queen of her kingdom, then maybe we’d have a little more faith in ourselves. However, like the rest of the movies she chose to marry a man and lived happily ever-after. So that’s what we’re faced with as children, Barbie goes with Ken, and Ariel with Prince Eric, but this expectation of hetero-love follows us through adolescence as well. When was the last time you watched a teen comedy that didn’t end with a perfect kiss and a happily ever after? Furthermore, romantic teen comedies also place the idea in our heads that sex means love. These films always move in the same way. Boy meets girl, girl fights off boy’s affection, girl gives in and has sex with boy, boy and girl fall in love and the movie ends. In reality, women are receiving messages that boys aren’t. Boys are feeling pressure to have sex with as many girls as possible in order to establish their masculinity. They’re hearing “fuck” when we’re hearing “love.” So really, what I thought was a flaw in my own logic was actually the result of me listening to the voices in American media. It’s good to know that my teenage years weren’t intentionally slutty, but it still doesn’t provide much comfort.

It’s not just the media that pushes women towards co-dependency with men. In many cases it’s actually due to a historical expectation. For example, my grandmother is one of the most educated women I know. She is hard working, well-read, and extremely powerful in her own right. However, whenever I see her one of her first questions regarding how I am is, “Are you seeing anyone?” I could win the noble prize for my writing for be one of the most powerful women in America but if I don’t have a man, then she’ll be forced to roll her eyes and sigh. Really? Is our worth as women solely based on our relationships with men? If I’m not sexually or romantically desired than am I flawed? Society would say yes. However, any reasonable thought right human being would of course answer no. We really have to think about this, do we want love for ourselves, or have we just been told to want it for so long that we just think that we do?

It’s the very reason why good girls throw their lives away chasing losers, liars, and cheaters. It’s because society is telling them too whether they are aware of it our not. If a woman is high powered and successful, if she has everything she has ever wanted in her life, but she doesn’t have a husband or a family then she’s not really a success story is she? A woman has to have a man in order to be complete. Not only does this idea hurt heterosexual women but it is also detrimental to negative lesbian stereotypes. If women aren’t women without men, then what does that make a lesbian?

It’s important to understand that we are receiving these messages so that we can combat them. No woman needs a man to make her happy, unless that’s what you actually desire. If so, go forth and play with romance, sometimes men can even be fun, sometimes. The idea that the concepts of wife and mother are what define us as women and ensure our place in this world is the oldest in history. In these modern times it has become less relevant. I believe that if the push for female on male dependence no longer existed women would not only fully embody their power but marriage would also change. Perhaps gay marriage would be widely acceptable because the hetero-norm would no longer be dominant. Marriage between men and women would be less an expectation of sublime happiness in which men become the ultimate bread-winners, and would instead would become a pairing of equals.

So what do you want out of life? Focus your concentration on what your soul longs for and settle for nothing less. Don’t join the rest of lemmings as they scramble for love and relationships, just focus on yourself and main independence with or with out another in your life. If you truly desire a husband, three kids, and a white picket fence wrapped around your perfect lawn then go for it, let nothing stop you. If this is not your dream then don’t let it make you feel like less of a woman. We are all entitled to our own version of happiness.

I’m a Barbie Girl, In a Barbie World

If you’re a girl, and you grew up in a time before Brats dolls but after Cabbage Patch Kids then you probably played with barbies. If you didn’t, I’m sure there was still one left to lie alone at the bottom of your toy box along with glitter and broken crayons. As girls we are taught how to be a number of things like polite and punctual. We are told not to hit, or scream and fuss when we don’t get our way. Most of the things we learned as little girls were shown to us. Over the next few weeks I will be writing a series of posts devoted to race and ethnicity. As women we have collective struggles and stereotypes which we are constantly fighting. However, there are also battles that are specific to our racial identities. To start things off, I will be writing about what I know best, white girl problems.

When I was in the second grade I went to a Catholic elementary school in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. It was the kind of place where moms drove suburbans and minivans and prided themselves on their home baked goods. I remember that these mothers were constantly at war with each other over school functions. They competed relentlessly for top positions in the PTA and scowled at each other’s cookies at school dances. Naturally, we followed in our mother’s footsteps and created groups of our own. White women are bread to compete with each other. We allow the ones who are like us “in” and spread nasty rumors about others in order to keep them out.

Besides the pressure to constantly compete with each other we also face demands concerning our image. I always played with barbies, not because they were being shoved down my throat by the media, but because I genuinely liked them. I actually played with my barbies until a rather unhealthy age but we won’t get into that. I was however, always a little disturbed by the concept of Barbie, with her pearly white smile forever stuck to her face. Mostly because she didn’t look like me. She had long blonde hair and bright blue eyes. She looked like my friends, she looked like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, but not me. These images were what was being defined as beauty and I looked nothing like them.

The pressure to be and look a certain way can be overwhelming for young girls especially when paired with our incessant need to compete. Although rates for eating disorders among women of color are on rise it has been reported that white women still occupy the majority of those who struggle with anorexia and bulimia.  Magazines that typically cater to young white women slap a thin, long haired actress on the cover along with text that reads, 101 Ways to Get Sleek Summer Abs! which is of course placed right above, 50 Sex Tips To Please Your Man! Which further perpetuates the link between thinness and sex appeal.

After the fifth grade I moved to the upper middle class suburb of Worthington. The pressure not only to be thin and desirable but to also be dressed from head to toe in expensive clothing was unfathomable. Every girl, regardless of her age, donned anAbercrombie  tee shirt and an overly flirtatious attitude. A characteristic that is not unique to white women is the idea that heterosexuality is a norm that cannot be questioned. Barbie dates Ken, just as the female Holister models can be seen gushing over shirtless boys in the posters that hang inside their stores. Transitioning from a private school where we all wore the same clothes, to a public one where what you were wearing meant the difference between which group would approach you first was difficult. In private school, my cousin and I would run off behind the gratto and pray to the “Virgin” Mary for boobs and boyfriends. In public school I was expected to have both of these and know how to kiss a boy. Pink and glitter had been replaced with thongs and lip gloss.

The pressure to be thin, to be blonde, to only kiss boys, and to wear expensive clothing effects women of all ethnicities and from all classes. The difference is that for white women these standards are especially directed at us. All of these images in the media are white, it’s no secret that we live in a racist society but from this racism and these colorless standards of beauty grow limitations which encourage sameness. A high competitive drive is the result of low self esteem. We are unable to love each other because we are jealous and afraid of the girls who possess what we want. White women in the United States are not taught to love themselves, they are taught to love Barbie or the image of a supermodel plastered to a billboard. Rather than being encouraged to love what we have, we are expected only to aspire to what we should be.

Let’s take this knowledge and grow from it. Let’s not allow the same mistakes to be made when raising daughters of our own. Instead of forcing them to wear pink frilly dresses and to only believe that love can only happen between a man and a woman, let’s show them that there are many different possibilities for them. It may sound wild to some, but introducing the idea that men can love men and women can love women to little girls is an important concept. Most importantly we must teach them to love their bodies and themselves and set good examples by doing the same. Let’s break the cycle by encouraging high self-esteem, love for the collective, and that there is beauty in difference and uniqueness.

Real Men Have a Sweet Tooth.

When a woman is mistreated in a relationship it is not only her heart that ends up breaking. The pain remains in her body and also creates cracks in her logic. Emotional walls build allowing her self-esteem to suffocate, which may result in the emergence of self-destructive relationships and negative patterns. How do I know this, you may wonder? Because I’ve lived it and for many years I was this girl. For a long time I took comfort in unhealthy relationships with men because it was all that I had ever known. I was afraid of the men who wanted to offer me love and support because I didn’t think that I actually deserved it. After four years of internalizing my trauma and turning anger for others on myself, I began to break the cycle.

Within a year I have not only spoken out about being raped but I have encouraged others to speak out as well. I landed an internship with Suzanne Roberts, a somatic coach whose life’s purpose is to empower women and girls starting by alleviating the pain and trauma we hold in our bodies. I have to come to terms with my experiences and am currently on the verge of learning to forgive. I have let go of friends I once loved as well as let old ones return. These outstanding women have helped find the love that I desired within myself. All of these stepping stones have inspired me to reform my life and become the powerful woman that I deserve to be. In other words, I am on my way.

I met him in early September when summer was politely making it’s way out, allowing autumn to enter through the back door. It was short and sweet. A light-hearted romance that filled me with new feelings and even newer ideas. On our first date we laughed and talked for hours. We parted ways giggling in the same way we had when we met. When he spoke, he spoke to me. When we touched, he was touching the real me, the one I usually try to hide away. After we slept together I had realized that for the first time, I had actually stayed present. I didn’t leave, I didn’t retreat to the dark places in my mind. I stayed put, beneath him the entire time. Being treated as an equal startled me. He gave me back a sense of humanity that I was all too used to throwing away in sexual situations.

“It’s because he’s a man, he’s older and he’s not a little horny boy like you’re used to!” My cousin spoke with reassurance from the other girl’s in the room as she cooly smoked her cigarette. It made me think, is that it? Do men simply grow out of being cold and sexually distant? Do they hit a certain age and eagerly drop their immaturities at the door before calling, “Honey I’m home!” Perhaps, but perhaps not. In my case, I know that it was something more than that. Because I had developed a budding sense of self-care and a new found love for myself, I had allowed men with the same self-worth into my space. I was beginning to attract those on a higher level because I too was occupying that same place.

“He may be a man, but he has the sweet tooth of kid. You should’ve seen his eyes light up when he was talking about cookies the other day.” I laughed, rolling my eyes and feeling giddy about the day that had passed. “Well, I’m sure tons of dudes like cookies but you wouldn’t know because this is the first one who’s gotten to know you as aperson!” This was also true, it was the first time since I was seventeen that I wasn’t being treated as a sexual object. As wonderful as it was, he had explained upon meeting me that he was moving overseas for a year. Like all good things, it had to end. A bitter sweet goodbye to a bitter sweet affair.

Even if I never see him again, even if we never speak to each other from this point on, I have been changed. Feeling fully appreciated by a man that I was intimate with was a stepping stone towards empowerment that I needed. As women we need to break the vicious cycle of the careless men that bind us. We need to free ourselves from mistreatment so that we don’t perpetuate unhealthy patterns. If we never leave our comfort zone and face our demons before we are too set in our ways then we face the risk of being stuck in them for the rest of our lives. I deserve to feel good about myself, just as I deserve to find fulfilling love with men. I’m letting myself enjoy my sexuality and be present throughout sexual situations because I finally feel like I deserve to be.

Sometimes good people come in and out of our lives. They change us, they inspire us, they cause movement within us that results in permanent growth. It’s important that you take away from this piece that we must be secure with ourselves before secure people feel moved to enter. Happiness starts from within and once it is released it is an unstoppable, impermeable force. Some may say that meeting him just weeks before he left was bad timing. This isn’t true, but timing is everything. If we had met any earlier I wouldn’t have been ready. Now that I am, I will take this experience and carry it with me.