Today I have done things that I never felt I had to do before and I don’t like it.
Now don’t get me wrong- I am a woman, so I walk to my car looking around with my keys between my fingers most all of the time. I don’t get on elevators with strange men that make me nervous. I get on the phone with my husband when I leave an event at night alone. My husband Tim insists on taking me to certain theatres when I want to see a show alone. And if I drive myself, he wants me to text when I am inside, when it is intermission and when I leave. I don’t like any of that, but I comply for his peace of mind and mine.
Today I saw a guy enter the space where I was and I felt a little nervous. I was in a space I consider very safe and Tim was in the back if I needed to call out for help, but the mere fact that I felt unsettled made me mad.
Then I saw a Facebook post from my minister that I wanted to respond to. I decided not to comment the way I wanted and instead just decided to hit a response of sadness, anger or love and I could not decide. I was horrible angry. I loved his sentiment but it made me overwhelmingly sad. I didn’t know what to do so I hit sad and tried to move on.
I went to my office to look at my exploding calendar- too much to do in not enough time. I saw where I wanted to go to a mall a little bit away from my home for a store that is not anywhere else nearer to me. And I wanted to get my make up done for a special occasion while I was there. I stopped and realized I didn’t feel comfortable going there alone. For the first time ever I wasn’t being warned away by a friend or asked to rethink things by my overly protective husband, I was scared on my own. And I didn’t like the feeling.
As women we have learned that we have to look under our cars and be aware of our surroundings at all times. When we are out alone we can not throw caution to the wind EVER. But to be wary of going to a local mall, to worry about someone walking into one of our places of joy, to not know whether we are more angry or sad at recent events makes me question every move I make and I don’t like the feeling.
How much worse will things get? How afraid must we be as women? How can we ever protect ourselves enough? Who all are we supposed to be afraid of? What can we do to make life joyful AND safe? What do we tell our young women? Our children? Who can we trust and where does it end?
I mourn the girls we have lost recently, the fear that has built for years and the future we face. I mourn the innocence lost, the promises unfulfilled, the family pain I can’t even imagine. I dread the feelings I have tried to push down since being assaulted years ago as a teenager. It is unsettling to say the least.