Wednesday, June 30, 2010

fear

I like having a vagina. (I know, I know, I’m not suppose to say such a thing, and certainly not name the thing so obtusely. I love the fact that we’ve all become so comfortable with with the penis. Viagra and Erectile Dysfunction make us blush no longer. I’m thinking it’s about time for the vagina. After all, to so many, it’s just such a lovely place to be.) I like the softness of my womanly body, for the most part. I like that being female allows for so many opportunities to be sensitive and strong, pensive and exuberant, flirty and serious. I like that we have the freedom to express and experience the full range of human emotion. I like being a girl. I like being a woman.

when we're lying underground in the grave

What I do not like, however, is the fear very few men can ever understand that overtakes a woman who is alone in a place she does not feel safe. What I loath about being a woman in this world is knowing exactly how vulnerable I am to even the thought of being victimized by a stronger, faster, more vicious human being.

Last night, my Photography class was meeting up at the famous downtown Seattle’s Pike’s Place Market.

first aid for my soul 

Now, I grew up in L.A., and not the Beverly Hills side of the tracks either. I know what a sketchy neighborhood looks like. I know what men up to no good look like. Seattle is sincerely a kiddy pool compared to where I went to high school. But even in a kiddy pool, women are vulnerable to drowning.

No harm came to me last night. I was never even touched casually by anyone that I can remember. No one yelled profanities at me, threw anything at me, or even leered at me. But the potential for so much more was there, and I hate that I felt it necessary to give in to the fear.

IMG_0194 

I parked in a public lot. A man, who exuded gentle authority, claimed to be watching cars for tips, as there had apparently been problems in the lot recently. I was sick, exhausted, and worried about getting to my class. I took him at face value and assumed he was employed by someone associated with the lot. I gave him $4. It slowly became clear to me, while I was paying for my spot at a machine and he stood close by asking me for another $20 for rent, that he was not. He knew he was distracting me from interacting with the machine so he stepped away to give me a moment to think. In that moment I made my decision. Although he’d done absolutely nothing threatening, I was going to give him the money, just in case he had a mind to mess with me or my car.

As I left him and walked down the street toward my destination I became furious. First I was mad at myself for being so easily intimidated. Quickly I realized the fault did not lay on me, but on him, on centuries of political and cultural history, and on sheer physiology.

IMG_0662 

I have no inspiring conclusion, no warm wrap up. I’m still stunned I suppose. I’m still outraged by the fear inherent in the possibilities that lay out there, on the street, for all us who are female.

I still like my vagina.

And, I fucking HATE being afraid.

3 comments:

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

As always, the beauty of your posting throws me for a loop and makes me see things differently. Most of us ladies have been placed in similar positions. Once, while getting into my car one hot summer day, window open to let out the heat, a filthy face suddenly appeared next to mine from the open window. I gave him money, too, although he didn't threaten in the traditional sense. Afterward, I felt violated and dirty and robbed of more than just my money. Yeah, I understand and am happy that you only lost $20 and not any more of yourself to that loser.

sdkevin said...

Hey honey, your powers to articulate your feelings never cease to amaze me. I'm sorry you felt afraid last night and even more relieved that nothing worse happened than losing a few bucks. Love you! p.s. I love your vagina too.

Larissa said...

I love your new summer design! I agree with Kevin, besides loving your vagina too I am astounded by your ability to articulate your feelings so clearly. Well done! I too love all of the things you mentioned about being a woman. I don't necessarily agree or endorse the subject of inherent fear in being victimized and being a woman. However, over the course of our friendship, I have learned that we can disagree, see things differently and still "be cool".