Geez, 2017. It’s only January, but it’s been one hell of a year. I feel like I have whiplash. I have a lot of thoughts on our new presidency that I realize aren’t worth expressing because the people who should consider opening their minds the most have their ears clamped tight.
I will say that I’m incredibly proud to be a woman. That means a lot for me because it wasn’t always that way. Growing up, I was taught that women come second to men. I was constantly reminded that women are bitchy, whiney, worthless, stupid, slutty, naive, gross, and insignificant. That we can’t have opinions because we’re not as intelligent as men. I learned that if you disagree with your father, husband, or any man, you’ll be screamed at, threatened, slapped, choked, or punched. I learned that if you don’t want to get hurt defending your mother, you hide in a closet until the fighting stops. I was taught that successful women only got their positions because they “slept their way to the top”. That if someone succeeds in something you desire, it’s because they cheated, because they’re obviously not as talented as you are. I learned that if you fail at something, it’s because the world is out to get you. I learned that it was totally acceptable behavior to rave, rant, slam your fist into things, and break windows if you don’t get your way, and then cry about it afterwards because you’re the victim—only if you’re a man. I was taught to stay away from people that have a different skin color than you because they’re dangerous. That being “gay” was purely a cry for attention and disgusting. I grew up being constantly reminded that my body and appearance was ugly, fat, and boyish. That my achievements, dreams, and ideas were stupid and never going to become a reality. I learned that anytime I got the courage to explain how the endless jokes directed towards me hurt my feelings, I was deemed “too sensitive.”
I know that everything my father taught me was absolutely wrong and sickening. Thankfully, something inside of me kept burning throughout my childhood and still burns today. I always knew there was something more than the dark, depressing, toxic lifestyle. I fought to get out of it and to start again. I now stand back from the man that taught me his beliefs and I pity his life. I still struggle daily with immense fear, anxiety, depression, and anger, but it’s better than living the life (and the way) I was destined to live. All of this is to say that we are not a product of our environment and no matter what happens from now on, we can, and will, rise above it. We are here.