Hi, Hey, Hello!
I’m back. How are you all?
It seems only fitting that I would return with a book review. Although actually in this instance it isn’t so much a book review, it’s more a rant of some description. This book sparked something in some part of my brain and then I just kind of couldn’t stop thinking about it and it was this book’s fault.
This book wasn’t enlightening me to anything new. I am a woman. I am very aware that the world isn’t exactly bias towards me. I am also a person of colour. So double whammy there. This wasn’t anything that I didn’t already know. But I honestly found this book slightly exhausting to read because it just opened up the grand scale of it all. And honestly, it sort of tipped me over some kind of edge.
This book caused my breaking point.
Which was actually a long time coming to be honest. Like 2 or 3 years. For some reason it feels worse now then it did when I was at uni and was surrounded by people all the time. But then it wasn’t everyday. Now it pretty much is. And reading this book, in a really twisted way, felt like a blessing because it was just full of people experiencing the exact same thing as me and for some on the exact same scale.
And I don’t talk about it because it’s exhausting and it’s constant and it would sound like a broken record but it’s there. And I’m not making it up. Because seriously after a while there is a part of you that thinks that maybe you’re just being oversensitive to it and that in itself is ridiculous, but I’m not. There are other people who have witnessed it. Who have acknowledged that it happens frequently when I’m just walking with them. And who blessedly don’t just tell me to ‘take it as a compliment’. But they don’t have any idea of the actual scale.
And to be honest, nor did I. At this point, age 25, it’s just normal to me. Even though it’s not. I’ve heard other women act surprised when they report a tale of some builders cat calling them or some dude hanging out of a van window while honking the horn because they thought that kind of stuff didn’t happen anymore. And I can only act surprised that for them it’s not normal. And then I get irrationally annoyed that they get to live their lives without men stepping into their path and leering. Without feeling actual fear walking past a building site because you are going to have walk past a group of men and you know you’re not getting out of it unscathed. To not have to witness people on bikes and in cars or vans slow down slightly as they drive past you. To not be able to tell from a far when a guy is gonna shout something at you and then most likely get annoyed when you don’t respond and then proceed to start insulting you instead.
That’s my life. It’s been my life since I was about 11. Maybe younger. But I can remember it being from then. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been tall and so people, and when I say people I mean men, and when I say men I mean grown ass men, just assume that I was older than I actually was. I’ve been about the same height since I was about 13/14 so that might have been a factor. It definitely wasn’t because I had big boobs or an ass or anything. And let me tell you something, when I kind of just accepted that this was my life I became hella grateful for that fact. Which is ya know, pretty fucked up when you really think about it. (However what I will say on that is that facially I do not have not looked my age, I consider it a win when I don’t get ID’d because that’s such a rarity, I had to confirm when going through passport control last week that I was over 18 and therefore did not need to be accompanied by an adult…)
And then when you really start to think about it it all kind of becomes a lot to deal with. When you start breaking it down and looking at all the little incidents that just take place on a day to day basis it all gets kind of overwhelming. When you can look at your life and realise that the first time you were sexually harassed was at 11 and the same applies to when someone touched you without your consent it honestly feels like a punch in the gut.
14 years. And at this point I have lost track of it all. Keeping track gets exhausting and really thinking about it was exhausting too.
But I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it either.
And it’s also now making me more aware it all over again. When before it was basically just white noise to me at this time and I got used to just moving out of the way that I felt was going to give me some grief, now I’m aware of it again. I can feel people looking at me again. I can hear them even louder as they insist on chatting shit in my direction. I find myself getting more freaked out about it and getting more affected by it and I’ve just been hit again by the sheer grand scale of it all.
I keep replaying this conversation that I was a part of last summer in which I didn’t even have to say a word because the actual issue in just that obvious in relation to me. It went something like this:
Person 1: ‘But what about the guys, what were they like? Were they flirty?’
Person 2: ‘Yes, the answer with her is almost always yes.’
Me: ‘Not wrong.’
Person 1: ‘Makes sense.’
And then we laughed. Because, what else can I do? I really don’t know what else I can do.
There’s not much I can do. The issue doesn’t ultimately lie with me, on many levels I know that. I also know that I can’t just be blindly annoyed about it all the time because that in itself is not very productive to anything. I don’t even really know how to tackle it as an issue on what feels like kind of a small scale. This book did go some of the way to making it seem more manageable an issue, which I have to level with you, is pretty impressive given the grand scale of the problem.
It hurt to read for a lot of reasons, but it also felt cathartic to do so. It drudged up a lot of shit and it kind of opened my mind to a lot of things. It came at a time that I didn’t even realise I needed it to exist in my universe but I did. I needed the entire sequence of books that I read and are coming over these next few days to be honest. I don’t even really know why I needed it, but things just felt like they clicked into place and kept doing so for a lot of last month.
I would recommend the hell out of this book. To anyone and everyone. This book sparked a whole thing inside me. It’s very Defying Gravity (not quite the same, but ya know, work with the vibe of it).
Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!
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