8

So I’m standing outside of my regular Monday night bar with my best friend. I’m standing there, enjoying the weather and the summer. It’s Monday night–and I’ve committed, for the past several years, to spend Monday night in this fashion. So here I am. It’s Monday night.
We’re sharing war stories from the week and shortly, we are joined by two other Monday night regulars. There is no place in the world where I should feel more safe. These people are family. I am surrounded by three men I love and trust.
Gently, quietly, a white SUV pulls up to the corner, the window rolls down and a white boy sticks his head out the window.
“I could kill that bitch right now!” he shouts.
There is a brief moment of silence whilst I and the men I am surrounded by process what he’s just shouted.
He says again, “Hey! I could shoot that bitch right now.”
I step forward. One of my friends, puts his hand on my shoulder, “Hey. Emma. Don’t.”
I know, viscerally, that he is scared. I know, viscerally, that I am scared. But I also know the kind of world I want to live in and what I am willing to do to get to that place. So I step forward. I present, to the asshole in the SUV, a target clear of white men, and I say, “Excuse me?”
He rolls up his window.
As he does so my best friend steps up behind me and shouts, “What “bitch”? Who are you calling a “bitch”?”
And I shout “You got something to say to me, you say it to my face! Bring it on! You think I’m scared of you?”
He drives away.
But the truth is that I /am/ scared.
I am so. So scared.
We stay outside because the bad guys do not get to win.
And this asshole, circles back around.
He circles back around to show me that he may or may not have a gun.
He circles back around to show me that at the very least he has something that looks like a gun.
He circles back around to show me that he thinks he lives in a world where I deserve to be frightened.
And I stay outside. I stand my ground. With my friends behind me, knowing that the best thing I can do for the things I believe in is to keep my feet firmly planted.
Several hours later, I am still crying; still shaking; still frightened. My best friend looks at me and says, “Yes. But you didn’t let him win. He circled back around but he couldn’t do anything. You said no. He never expected you to say no.”
There are days you win and days you lose. Days when you let the misogynists win because you are just. so. justifiably terrified. And days when you say nothing because of….well, exactly the same reason.
Today I stood at the edge of an intersection and made eye contact with a man I knew wanted to kill me because I am a woman. That’s what today was for me. That’s what this fight means to me. ‪#‎fourthwave‬ ‪#‎riseup‬ ‪#‎nottoday‬

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