I started writing an amusing (if I may say so) post about getting my legs waxed, but kept getting derailed by one that’s been swimming in my fingertips since November 8 last year.
Tomorrow the free world gets itself a new despot – the Stale Cheeto aka Fuckface Von Clownstick aka Little Donnie Diaperpants aka PEEOTUS aka The White Pride Piper aka…you know what, just go here and here.
I share the sense of disappointment and alienation with the American people; but with it has returned a jarring personal memory for me.
Years ago at uni, I was the unwilling protagonist of a skit. It had all the elements of a timeless “meninist” crass comedy. Sexism, body shaming and the kind of blind confidence that can only spawn from generations of patriarchal entitlement.
I use the non-term meninist in quotes, because it will never be a thing.
I use the term timeless, in that, all these years later, it has never left me.
The skit was about how naked photos of a girl (coincidently, her name was mine with a letter changed) were leaked, and how all the excitement was quelled upon seeing how small her breasts were.
I stood there in the crowd, between seniors, juniors and peers, between friends and strangers. I stood there in the crowd, as realisation dawned on every one and they turned to look at me, one by one. I stood there in the crowd, as eyes pried through my tee, and judgement slobbered around my body.
I just stood there.
When I finally came to, the curtains were being drawn amid loud boos – and one too many cheers. I convinced my friends that I didn’t care what a bunch of immature college nobodies thought of me.
Here I am. 13 years later. Not caring what the immature college nobodies thought of me.
Until recently, I thought it was humiliation and rage that crippled me that afternoon when my classmates pointed at an imaginary picture of me in the nude, and frothed at the mouth before agreeing that my breasts just weren’t doing it for them.
I’ve often wondered what the “creative” process was like. I imagine the boys deciding to put up a skit. I imagine them thinking of what would get the most reaction from the crowds. I imagine someone suggesting me as a subject. I imagine all of them arriving at the premise of the story.
I stop imagining when the bile starts rising.
What I thought was sheer humiliation and rage back then, was my body refusing to acknowledge hurt and disbelief at the violent breach of trust by those who had been sharing the same space with me for four years.
I’m working to find the fabled higher consciousness where you learn to free yourself from painful memories. Until then, that it happened, marks its permanency in my mind.
This is the memory that my brain picked out as the president-elect prepares to take office.
Everything about this campaign has brought back how I felt that day/week/year, and I feel for what the American people (and most of the world) are going through.
That people they’ve been sharing their space with all their lives just displayed in front of the world how lowly they regarded them – their body, ability, sexual-orientation, religion, origin.
But rather than standing frozen in shock and disgust, the world is rising up; and goddamnit if it isn’t the most beautiful things that’s come out of all this.
I’m not an American citizen or resident, but I think we can all agree that this poison has seeped into every living room and work cubicle around the world. Luckily, the antidote is making its way in.
When I let that offensive skit slide all those years ago, I opened the doors for every student to pass their judgement on my whole being, and made room on that stage for the next non-conforming girl to get publicly harassed.
As an indignant Fox News reporter wondered: Are we planning to be in a state of mass protest for the next 4 years?. Yes, that sounds pretty accurate. I’m joining the global movements against systemic racism, sexism and bullying at every level, in my own way. With it, I hope I can wash away the ugly stain on my memories.
So no, Mr Trump & co., you cannot and will not get away with “Sayin’ it like it is”, because what it is to you, is repulsive to us. These words that you callously toss around because of the podium you’ve been afforded, are validating the basest of opinions and actions. Now we will toss our powerful words around, too. Equality, feminism, respect. Basic. Human. Kindness. And the podium on January 21 at the Women’s March is far bigger than any you will ever have the honour of standing on.