I don’t know how to start this post.
Do I just tell it straight, anecdotally, as it occurred?
Do I begin with something more obscure?
Do I come out swinging?
I guess first I’ll say this: I am tired of being afraid and I am tired of having to forgive.
If there is one true difference between a bad woman and a bad man it’s that I don’t cross the street to avoid the former. I don’t consider my beating, my rape, my death when wondering if I should stand up to the former. Groups of women do not incite fear, terror, or dread. A loud woman is annoying. A loud man is frightening.
But for some reason, loud men don’t ever acknowledge this.
Loud men who need everyone to hear their loud thoughts and their loud opinions and need to take up space and attention and the goddamn air are oblivious to the fact that the volume of their voice has a direct correlation to their physical ability to knock someone the fuck out.
When I try to think about all of the Rooms Full of Terrible Men I’ve been in, there are too many to count. My whole life, filled with the rooms of word vomiting egos spitting hatred and vitriol or sometimes just plain ol’ boring know-it-all garbage.
Rooms Full of Terrible Men verbally tearing women apart like it was their job.
Rooms Full of Terrible Men who lose all human decency because of a few drinks, or being around other Terrible Men, or feeling like their masculinity or some other thing they think they’re entitled to is threatened.
I was in a Room Full of Terrible Men last night. At a live lit show that I was reading at. A story about becoming a mother, becoming a protector, becoming a hunter capable of killing. And killing was honestly what I wanted to do to the men who swore and yelled, heckled and spewed disrespect with their lack of ability or entitled defiance to shut the fuck up or leave.
A Terrible Man who got up during the open mic to tell a “cunt” joke at a show whose host is a pregnant woman.
A Terrible Man who made fun of a woman’s age as she told her painful, raw story of being raped at gunpoint.
A Room Full of Terrible Men who did nothing about the Terrible Men who were ruining it for everyone else.
My heart raced the entire time, pounding with rage and fear and disbelief.
The world needed me to experience a tiny taste of what it might be like in a Room Full of Trump’s surrounded by a Room Full of Ryan’s.
Or really, the world reminded me once again of what it feels like to be afraid of men, the ones who yell at me from their cars and the ones who call me slurs and the ones who pushed me to the ground and stole my purse, and the ones who haven’t done anything but who make me seize up when walking past them alone at night on a dark street.
I do not have it in me anymore to be understanding, to hear them out, to forgive their trespasses.
“Too little, too late” I told the Terrible Man who stumbled over to ask if we were “good”.
That goes for most of You.