In high school, I was a member of a traveling theater troupe performing The Jungle Book at the region’s elementary schools. I was Baloo. Bask in my coolness. One day, we were carpooling from or to a performance, I don’t remember, and one of my male castmates was in the backseat with me. He was drunk. I don’t remember the specifics, but I was “being a bitch” and he had a way to shut me up. It was to take out his dick. I don’t think it made it all the way out because I’m pretty sure I punched him in the stomach and told him to quit being an asshole. But I remember seeing way more of this dude than I’d ever planned on or wanted to.
Now, this was, what, 20 years ago now? I doubt this dude remembers this. I doubt the dude driving the car remembers it. I don’t even remember who else was in the passenger seat. I very vaguely remember this incident and don’t think I told anyone contemporaneously, because it was just another example of this guy being a drunk asshole. I haven’t thought about it in 20 years, until all of this Brett Kavanaugh nonsense started.
The more I think about it, the more I’m angry. I’m angry that I was just annoyed by the incident and brushed it off immediately. I’m angry I didn’t have the words or the context to understand why this particular power play is so fucked up. That taking his dick out was this guy’s idea to shut up a mouthy broad and how this is rape culture. Because whatever his plan was beyond just whipping it out, his dick was forced on me. Yes, just the sight of it, because I was lucky? And aggressive? And we were in the backseat of a moving vehicle so it couldn’t go any further? But I have no doubt this dude could have physically overpowered me, could have hurt me, could have taken it as far as he wanted, and would have felt entitled to show me my place.
From the reports I’ve read, Brett Kavanaugh had a bit of a drinking habit in high school and college. Maybe some of those times he took out his dick as a “joke” or tried to get a little action without necessarily getting consent. Two women have publicly come forward (as of now) to say these things happened to them. Mitch McConnell just stood up in the Senate and dismissed their claims because there’s no contemporaneous evidence, no corroborating accounts.
I’m writing this to say I believe the women. Because every woman has a story (or two or a million). And because this shit happens all the time, we justify it by saying he was drunk or we put ourselves in a bad situation, or we deserved it because we were being a bitch. We don’t tell our parents because teenagers don’t tell their parents anything. We might tell our friends, unless they’re mutual friends and we don’t want to deal with not being believed. We might write about it in a journal or talk to a therapist. Or we might chalk it up to life and boys being boys and the way the world works and maybe we were lucky it wasn’t that bad was it that’s no reason to get this guy in trouble most of the time he’s fine he was drinking he was high I was drinking he was joking around I don’t want to lose my friends over this I don’t want to think about it at all because it makes me feel small and sad and worthless and it was really my fault I should have should have should have I stopped it it wasn’t rape rape or assault assault or didn’t leave a mark just laugh it off and move on and move on and move on and one day you won’t remember.
But we have a collective unconscious, women do, where we know and we remember and we dream. And we hear the stories of our friends and family and neighbors and strangers and we say “Oh yes, I remember now. I remember that dick and that shout and that insult and that pain and I remember my silence and your silence and rolling my eyes and I remember forgetting.”
So say what you will about whether this is a disqualifying incident. Whether a boy being a boy is enough to say you cannot be the law of this land. Debate your morals versus your power. But do not tell us that there is no evidence no corroboration because we are here to say I believe. I remember. I am the evidence. I am the corroboration.
In my line of work, I get a ton of desperate calls from people who have broken dishwashers or, gasp, ice makers in their pool houses that have stopped working and there is a lot of huffing and puffing because now they have to use the OTHER ice maker in their MAIN house and can you even imagine suffering such an indignity? Surely, you cannot. [puts hand over eyes and faints]
But I have never, until today, received a desperate phone call for a very simple, very minor, cosmetic issue from someone who wasn’t selling a house. (People selling houses are ABSOLUTELY BATSHIT INSANE over minor appliance issues.) The woman had left a voicemail describing a minor cosmetic issue, but requesting a full-on, major, expensive repair. She sounded kind of desperate, but I’ve had people get angry with me that we would have to wait a few days to repair their pool house ice makers, so I didn’t think much of it. Within 20 minutes, while I was on the phone with other customers, she called back twice. I was definitely annoyed at this point because her appliance was FINE, just had a SMALL DENT GIMME A MINUTE LADY. Continue reading
Over the summer, I caused a Facebook kerfluffle when I had the audacity to complain publicly about a man who sexually harassed me at a restaurant. Many people supported me, but the ones who thought I was being “unfair” were also vocal. What he said had to do with my boobs, and not even the worst thing that a near-stranger (or otherwise) has ever said to me. But I was at a place I’d previously felt safe because I knew the owner and pre-pregnancy, I’d been a regular. But now this asshole was the regular, and no one there claimed to have heard what he said to me, because he says shit like he said to me to women around the city all the time. Or maybe they did hear what he said to me, and chose to ignore it. Either way, he gleefully admitted, and expanded on, his comments to me via Facebook message, which I screenshot and posted in the then-growing comment thread for all to see (and some to blatantly ignore.) Continue reading
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I’ve been floundering trying to figure out my gratitude list. I think we’re all in agreement that 2016 has just been a complete shitshow of heartbreaking celebrity deaths, the rise of White Nationalism, terrorism and shootings, school bus accidents and personal struggles. I’ve spent most of this year in an anxiety spiral, bursting into tears at the drop of a hat, not sleeping and hoping that today isn’t the day I die from a ragestroke.
But I love Thanksgiving! I love cooking all of the foods. I love staying home on Thursday and maybe visiting family on Saturday. I even like going shopping on Friday. Most of all, I like reflecting on the year that has passed and finding my joys. It is an accounting we all do far too infrequently and that’s what makes this holiday special to me, even during terrible times. And in that spirit, here are the things that I’m grateful for right now.
● Upon reading a brave young lady’s account of being sexually assaulted at a metal show,
I was reminded of the time I confessed to a past boyfriend my deep dark secret of being
assaulted myself. And how he called me a liar. Same boyfriend a few months later got
angry at me for yelling at one of his customers at the bar he worked at because the
customer grabbed my ass, and was equally handsy with other ladies at the same time.
● Taking a walk last night, I was hollered at by an SUV full of young men. Contrary to their
intentions, I was not flattered, only thankful I was on a busy street so if they tried to
physically assault me, at least I was in public and would maybe get help from passers by. Continue reading
I’ve discussed the fact that I (probably) can’t have kids, and how much it sucks. I mean, I’ve mostly come to terms with it – but there is a neverending grieving process involved. I want a daughter who’ll kick ass and end up running the world. I like to imagine her, this funny, smart, brave kid – and all of the things I want to teach her. Since it doesn’t look like I’ll ever get that opportunity, I still want to share my philosophies with y’all, because they’re a damn good way to live your life and I think every child, especially the girl chirren, should have these words of wisdom spoken to them from birth.
Don’t let others define you. Your life is going to be full of people attempting to tell you who you are – they’re going to try to label you so you fit into a category in their life. The problem with that is you can start believing the labels, tailoring who you are to fit someone else, everyone else. You are your own person, you define who you are, labels are bullshit. Embrace all of the wonderful complexity of you and defy anyone who tries to simplify you – their inability to accept life fully is not your problem, don’t reduce yourself to make things easier for the unimaginative.
You make your own joy. Every day, every moment, is filled with choices – choose joy as often as you can. Don’t rely on others to make you happy, you’ll always be disappointed. But if you’re already happy, you’ll shine brighter than everyone around you. Find what brings you peace and happiness and pursue it fiercely. Encourage others to do the same. Be a beacon of joy.
Don’t hide from pain. You’re going to get hurt – physically, mentally, emotionally. Don’t let the fear of pain keep you from chasing life. You might end up with some scars, be proud of them. A scar means you won, you survived, you’re still here. Scars are never ugly. Protect yourself as best you can, but at the end of the day, take the risk for what you want. Continue reading
This blog entry will actually be about putting your damn pants on, no matter what kind of pants they may be. Plenty of people wear pants, and more often than not, those pants are put on the same way by all kinds of different people.
I am a runner. When running, my pants (or shorts) of choice are primarily made of lycra and/or spandex. This is not an uncommon selection, no matter where your gender identity lies (which is on the female scale, for me). When I run, I don’t like to have loose fabric weighing me down or creating wind resistance. Minimalism in clothing is important in running, ranging from shorty shorts in the summer and tight pants in the winter. While I am nowhere near elite status, you will see this type of clothing amongst the most decorated runners.
When I run, I am disgusting. I sweat, I wheeze, I spit, I wipe my nose on my shirt. Any sort of “ladylike” manners get thrown out the proverbial window when I run, and I don’t care. I have a mission to complete. Over time, I have added another non-ladylike mannerism to my oh-so-appealing running persona – the middle finger.
You guys, I’ve been staring at my monitor for way too long trying to figure out how to say everything I want to say without offending anyone. Abortion is such a delicate topic and it’s so personal and touches so many nerves and it’s just fucking tough to discuss rationally. And I think that’s one of the reasons the pro-choice side seems to be losing everywhere. It’s a lot easier to hold up pictures of mangled fetuses and scream at strangers and to murder doctors – and to convince people that these extremist actions are needed to protect the babies. I can’t do the equivalent, there is no equivalent. So we on the choice side make carefully worded arguments and try to hold debates and sign petitions and lose the battle of showmanship.
It’s easy to throw our hands up and simmer in our rage and gnash our teeth with every new law restricting our rights and to feel just completely useless. And I don’t honestly believe that reading this post on this little goofy blog is going to convince an anti-choicer to join my side, but I can’t stay quiet. It’s not how I roll, y’all. So, I’m stealing an idea from John Oliver (which, if you’re not watching Last Week Tonight you’re missing out, it’s brilliant), I’m going to write a whole bunch about an uncomfortable topic and if you read all the way through to the end, you’ll be rewarded with a video you want to watch. Like of tiny animals being tiny and adorable. Deal? (Yes, you can just scroll down without reading, but that would be a total dick move.)
You guys, I’ve missed you!! I’ve missed writing – life has been a giant can o’ crazy this year and PYDPO has been a casualty. I apologize. I’m hoping that things will be settling and I can get back to sharing way too much personal information with strangers on the internet very soon. There have been so many things I’ve wanted to discuss with y’all recently! But every time I’ve started to write about MRAs or #NotAllMen or Rihanna’s ass, the rage has overwhelmed me and I’ve had to stop. So today I’m going to ignore all of that shit and talk about something much more important: all of my gray hair.
I turned 33 this year. I’m in the middle age zone – I’m all settled with a partner and kids, I have a career, I long for home ownership, I worry about retirement and life insurance. While all of that makes me feel like an adult, what makes me feel old is my hair. Years of slathering on Water Babies to avoid sun poisoning coupled with lots of extra collagen has left me fairly wrinkle free so far, but my roots show my age. And what used to be one here or there has turned into the fact that I’m definitely, totally going gray.
Today’s guest post comes from Dani, self-described as “Social justice extraordinaire. Americana mama. On any given day, you can find me on my couch, with my dog, or with my face in a book. I sing songs in the shower every day.”
Since I can remember, I have been at war with my body.
From the time my body became, I guess, WHAT it would be, I had a round belly and an ass that at times felt like I was carting around a cosmic pot o’ gold, and at other times, felt like I was transporting something the likes of a commercial dumpster. It just depended on who was looking at it and what I had to eat that day.
As I approached my late twenties, and started dating the guy who is now my husband, I realized that I was uncomfortably rounded. My belly protruded quite nicely out in front of my body (I got asked if I was pregnant more than a few times), and my ass had grown in proportions I didn’t know were possible. So I started modifying some of my lifestyle choices, i.e. not drinking super sugary liquor drinks, beer, or sweetened, soy-milked coffee. I tried to limit the amount of trips I made to China Panda to get mock chicken nuggets and faux crab Rangoon, and I learned how to cook. I got my weight down from probably 165 to 155, and it has been there ever since.