I’m trying to learn to use a new word: “No”.
I’m trying to learn that that word doesn’t need an explanation, that I have every right to command my body, boundaries, and health, and that I don’t have to give excuses, or even reasons, for that. If I’m not interested in someone, I’m trying to learn not to feel guilty about my “no”. I’m trying to figure out how to reject come-ons without feeling awkward. I’m trying to learn that it’s okay to set limits.
I’m trying to learn that if someone oversteps my physical boundaries by groping me without any permission or harassing me on the streets, saying, “back off” does not make me a “crazy PMS-ing feminazi.”
I’m trying to learn that I have as much right to my space as you do to yours.
I’m trying to learn that I’m allowed to feel angry. When others behave criminally, being female does not make rage a disallowed emotion. I’m not obliged to ignore harassment. I’m not obliged to hide my anger. I’m not obliged to be nice to assholes I’ve never met who take ownership of my physical boundaries.
In other words, I’m trying to learn that my body and mind belong to me.
In other words, I’ve spent 40 years behaving as though they aren’t mine to control and that I owe you special rights to step beyond my limits.
In other words, I’ve spent a lifetime creating discomfort for myself for the sake of others’ feelings.
In other words, I’ve always given predators that one overstep that tells them “I’m a good victim. Try me.”