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  1. Small Victories

    Tuesday, November 24, 2015

    By Friday, I felt so exhausted and couldn’t wait to get home after work, pour myself some wine, and just be. I loved my plans to have no plans. I needed the freedom to fall asleep if my eyes started closing. I was not up for dealing with one more thing.

    I work in a program housed on a college campus. So I pretty much spend the day in an environment largely free of sexual harassment. I can actually go through a day there without thinking about my gender except for which bathroom I use. Time like that is good for the soul.

    I was about two blocks from home and the small two-way street was further narrowed by some construction going on. Additionally, a car was double-parked, cars behind were honking, and I was expecting one to come shooting into the wrong-way lane to get out of there.

    I stepped as far back as possible and was against the construction blockades, giving the cars all the room possible. Another pedestrian was near, and, without paying attention to the traffic, he offered for me to pass him by. My eyes opened wide at the car behind him that did shoot out into the wrong-way lane, and I shook my head no. His attention was still on me and not the traffic. Then he said something about my eyes, and I actually felt a real sense of disappointment as I felt my status go from person to something decorative.  I passed him by, and he made more attempts to get my attention in that way. He originally had my attention when I tried to alert him to the traffic, but he wanted a different kind of attention. He pursued, “God bless them” (referring to my eyes), and “Did you hear me? Did you hear me?” He originally was going in the direction I was coming from, but now his voice sounded like he decided to follow me. 

    It is my neighborhood, I work two jobs to survive, I am tired, and I don’t want to feel intimidated on my way home from work. In a very real tone of voice, and without turning around, I said, “Please don’t talk to me like you know me.” To my great surprise, he said, “I’m sorry.” I nodded and, to keep the peace, said, “Thank you.” He couldn’t leave it like that.

    “I’d like to know you.”

    “Thank you.”

    I walked home without the feeling that he was still around. However, when I arrived to the front of my building, I turned around and looked before unlocking the lobby door.

    Maybe he heard my age in my voice and realized I’m older than he may have originally thought. Maybe he heard my sick and tiredness of it all – of being objectified, infantilized, belittled, reduced. Maybe I really have guardian angels and am cloaked with a special kind of protection. Whatever it was, it felt empowering to have words, to be able to just express what I had to say without yelling or using rude language, and for it to be respected (as much as was possible for him).


  2. 4 comments:

    1. RHC said...

      Yes we must take joy in small victories!

    2. Melinda said...

      I hear you Sista! Glad you found your voice and sent the mutt(my apologies to my furry friends) along his way.
      Here's a quote I love and want to share with you:
      " I stopped explaining myself, when I realized people only understand from their level of perception".

    3. Canada Anne said...

      yes guardian angels are with us.

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