Sunday, July 13, 2014

Stay Away From my Man! The Single Woman Threat

So as it's been written before I am processing out of a relationship. It has been I believe a little over two months since I have moved out on my own and it has taken me a little longer to really get out and meet people as I really wanted to take time and be alone. 

I have been open in talking about my singleness and the joys of really getting to know myself in the process of personal growth. A lot of that conversation happens via social media, Facebook, Instagram, twitter... And by no means does not exist to celebrate my break up but rather to celebrate my resiliency in the face of heartbreak and my need to share that being single is NOT a bad thing.

In the midst of sharing my story and my journey it seems as though other women have begun to view me as a threat even though I am not actively looking for, interested in or paying attention to their partners. Recently I posted a rather funny photo on Instagram (or at least what I deemed to be a tad comical) and received a rather interesting response (see below): 


When I first saw this I was shocked! I didn't recognize the woman's Instagram name, her photos were private and so I had no idea who this woman was. My reaction was mixed with confusion and anger- I started racking my brain about the couple dates I went on and if she could have been partnered with any of those people.

So with some nifty googling I found out who her fiancée was... A young man I grew up with back in my home town who I had recently started following on social media. I assume she noticed that I "liked" one of his photos and apparently found that to be a symbol of my personal interest in him and hence a threat to her relationship. Initially I was upset and wanted to respond in a rather aggressive way, but then I figured I should just explain myself, maybe give her a lesson in how and why social media exists as a means of connecting with past, present, and future friends and not a tool for hook-ups and dating (at least that is not how it is used in my life). Instead I decided to just delete her comment and block her because I figure I am mature enough to just let that go, but I felt it necessary to challenge her comment still: 

I decided to post the above photo with a variety of hashtags challenging not only the woman's aggressiveness toward me, this stranger she didn't even know; but also, her very heteronormative assertion that I was interested in men in the first place. 

Being single and operating in a space where I am trying to develop strong sisterhood relationships with other women is challenging because this instance revealed to me that not only will some women not want to befriend me, but many (especially partnered women) might view me as a threat. 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said it best: 

"We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men" 

To the woman who posted on my Instagram: I forgive you, I love you, you are a sister in the struggle and I support your journey of becoming. 

(But don't let that shit happen again...)
Hehehe :) 



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Period Shaming: Roses are Red

So it is early Wednesday morning, I should be getting dressed to head to work but my supervisor posted this amazing video on Facebook of author and slam poet Dominique Christina. "In response to a male Twitter user who shamed women for menstruating, Christina wrote this poem to her daughter, explaining why she should be proud of her body's ability to do amazing things."

This reminded me of my own relationship with my period. I remember when I was 10-years-old (yes, that's right...I was 10 when I got my first period) I went to my nurse in 5th grade and asked her for a pad, she responded "a writing pad?" and while my 10-year-old self wanted to say "no you dumb bitch I'm bleeding in my underwear what the fuck do you think?" I simply said "no, I have my period." My nurse actually thought I was lying and so I had the assumption that White women didn't get their periods as soon as Brown women, specifically Latinas since she seemed so damn surprised. She was so awful that my friend actually came to the nurse with me and pretended she had her period too as if it would be more believable if I was not the only student in the entire school with her period.

 At different points and moments in my life my period has meant different things. When I would go to the Mosque with my grandmother I hated having my period because as a woman I would not be allowed to pray which really meant that everyone... EVERYONE knew that I was on my period (which also gave men the idea that I was of age to marry). When Monica, "Don't Take It Personal" came out I thought "SHE IS TOTALLY TALKING ABOUT HAVING HER PERIOD!" That song was my anthem when I got into my moods and was continually called a bitch during that 'time of the month.' Well wouldn't you been a tad moody if you were bleeding for up to 7 days and 7 nights (what biblical numbers).

When I became sexually active my period was my best friend... month by month by month I yearned for her arrival after growing up hearing that Latinas are more fertile than other women and we had excessive hormones in our bodies (*side eye*). As I got older the pain of my period became more severe and I dreaded those days leading up to an often untimely arrival.

This one band camp (no seriously I was at a music camp). I got the worst period of my life, I was bed ridden, throwing up and the stupid people wouldn't even let me call my grandmother for comfort (there were no cells phones allowed and no calls but an emergency - this apparently was not an emergency). When I was getting ready to go to college I knew that I could not miss class because of bleeding- it was painful and just not an acceptable excuse. I got on birth control pills to help manage and regulate my very painful periods and it actually worked! I hardly had cramps, I could go about my day feeling pretty close to "normal" and out, she came and went. Six years and two abnormal pap smears later I have decided to stop using birth control and to allow my body to be free and natural and in pain if it must be for a multitude of reasons but for one that Dominique Christina said oh so beautifully:

                                   "women know how to let things go. 
                                   how to let a dying thing leave the body. 
                                    how to become new. how to regenerate."