Ignorance. The bane of my life. No, I can’t just ‘go home’, the Hague has made that impossible. No, I can’t go through the courts, the Hague is written so I literally cannot win, and no they don’t care that he beat me, even though, yes I did have documentation of the abuse. Yes, it is all retrospective. No I can’t get a divorce, I tried and got turned down twice – the man literally will not allow me to leave the marriage and the law lets him do that. No, if you are undocumented you do not get food stamps, government aid or fluffy puppies. Whatever charity I have received has been privately funded. No, I can’t leave San Francisco, are you actually insane? It is safe here for me and my child. Yes, my child was turned down by local schools, hospitals and other institutions that are meant to help every child. Yes, I have always made sure he had schooling and medical care, and he is doing marvelously well.
No my child was not given a spot to ever play a game of baseball, only go to practice, and yes, that is because he is undocumented. He gave up because he never got to play on a team. No, I can’t just have a little wheat, no I can’t ‘cheat’ and have some gluten, because if I do my celiac disease will explode literally in a bloom of rashes, extreme vomiting and diarrhea, and autoimmune exhaustion. Just a speck, just a bite, and I am toast. Make that gluten free toast, cause I ain’t joking. People presume they know better than me, despite not living my life and surviving it, time after frustrating time again.
In short, I don’t like people very much. Most of them don’t get it. Some of them require more explanations than others, and some refuse to let go of their preconceived ideas of the issues that they are pontificating knowledge of, when they don’t have a foggy clue. Sometimes I decide that I like people enough to explain, to persevere. Sometimes I like someone very much indeed as a friend, but am simply out of energy. Sometimes their superiority complex, their refusal to take my word for the way my life is, is so extreme that the best thing they can do for me if fuck off to the far side of fuck and keep on fucking going. Of course, that makes me look terrible. I look unreasonable. I look grouchy. I look as if I am short tempered. I am not short tempered, I am tired.
I am simply exhausted with explaining. I am burnt out. I can’t explain or justify any longer. Either someone gets it or they don’t, but I don’t have the energy to pour into talking sense into them or getting them to understand my reality. So I get more and more isolated.
Of course I should write about it. I try. Writing has become what feels like an exercise in futility for me. I write. I love writing. I detest pitching. I don’t like playing schmoozing games of being nice. I don’t like the dance. I don’t like the prescribed views that you have to espouse in order to continue. I don’t like the fact that my entire life has been marred by issues which are absolutely due to my sex – due to being a woman, but so many people have no idea what a woman even is any more. When they erased women, they erased the reality of my suffering.
After all, if we become so inclusive in our language that words cease to have meaning, because they include everyone in what should be a protected group, then not only does that protected group get erased, but the protections afforded to them because of their status simply disappear. If everyone can ‘be a woman’, then the word has no meaning, and things happen like losing the right to abortion and contraception. No, I can’t just opt out into being a man, or a theybe. I can’t because that is not what I am. I am a woman. OK, so I can explain double plays, cuss out the umps, drink like a sailor, and swear like one too, but I am a woman, like it or not, and trust me, I really don’t fucking like it.
I hear women talk about what they would do if they were a man. A lot make playful jokes about willies and helicopters. Some want to burp and fart, because of course, women don’t get to do that. If I was a man I would pass through life unnoticed, mostly unmolested and unbothered. People would take my word for the fact that I have a serious autoimmune disease which I know how to handle best and that I can’t eat gluten. People would believe me when I said that what I am doing now was my only option, and to stay safe, I have to stay put. People would treat me with respect and dignity. I would do nothing different, what would be different in what people did to me.
I have a busy day ahead, when what I really need and want to do is nothing. I want to sit in front of the television and watch the end of The Umbrella Academy. They ruined season 3. It is choppy and disparate and nothing makes much sense, but that is ok. It is still fine television if what you are looking for is talking tattooing monkeys in 1 percenter biker gangs, and improbable superheroes. I want to throw on Never Mind The Bollocks and scream like Chrissie Hynde about being in the middle of the road. She has this line “I can’t get from the cab to the curb/Without some little jerk on my back/Don’t harass me, can’t you tell/I’m going home, I’m tired as hell/I’m not the cat I used to be…” This is what it means to be a woman: harassed, exhausted, and wondering where the cat you used to be has gone. This is what I wouldn’t miss if I was a man. If I was a man I would be settling into silver fox status and dating stupid young women half my age, whilst driving a dick-replacer car. Instead I am faded, weathered, torn and broken, and more than all of that, I am tired of it all beyond belief.
One difference between me and Chrissie – and yes, there are many – is that I am still the cat I used to me. I am still that woman. I kept her preserved, iced, locked up and buttoned down, ready to be allowed back into the light of day once I was safe. I kept my heart, my soul, my inner youthfulness and verve, and I am not giving it up for anyone. So if you find me prickly, I am sorry…not sorry. I guess I will keep on writing for now, but I can’t help but feel all of this is a waste of time. I really give up.