Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Feels

So I am making a blog calendar (that's a thing) so that I can start being better at this. "This" being posting content more regularly. On Friday in my blog calendar, I was throwing around a few ideas, but I love alliteration so here we have, Friday Feels.

Any of you who know me personally know that I am a feeling person. I have a lot of them and they rock me to my core. For a long time, I hated them; crying publicly, low moods in one aspect of my life bleeding into the rest, it's truly the best...not, or so I thought. But once you figure out good coping mechanisms, things that bring out the joy in your life immediately, it's easier to corral those feelings, feel them (all of them) and move on to what's coming next. For me, my coping mechanisms are sunshine (when I can get it), fresh flowers and a good run.

And now that I've found those ways to cope, I actually really like my feelings, even the shitty ones. Sometimes I still wish I could stifle my tears in important moments, but it's all part of who I am so I'll take it. I think my feelings make me a better person; more compassionate, a better listener and a fiercer friend. So with that, I introduce Fridays Feels. A place where I'll talk about what's been weighing on my mind and how I'm feeling about it. 

Today I'm thinking about street harassment. Ever since moving to Crown Heights, I've been feeling it more and more. Not to say I didn't experience it in Bed-Stuy, but for some reason in my new apartment, things just feel a bit more aggressive. Men following me on my (daytime) walk home. Men calling out my street number as I leave my building. The unending stream of comments about my body or my butt or my boobs or how much they want to sleep with me. I definitely don't understand it and I never have, but I used to laugh it off.  Now it's really starting to weigh on me and I find myself emotionally pissed with a man I have never met, whose name I do not know, long after our moment of brief interaction has passed.

My story is not unique. Since this has been weighing on me, I have been talking to my friends about it. My girlfriends have equally frustrating stories, with some talking about much more physical confrontations. The men in my life are surprised and confused. This is why they are in my life; I wish more men were surprised and confused about the thought and reasoning behind street harassment, rather than participating in it.

My feelings about it are unclear, but the words frustrated, angry, helpless and depressed come to mind. But there are some people out there who are expressing their feeling much more eloquently than I can at the moment.

"If you fail to respect what women say, you label yourself a problem. 
So if you speak to a woman who is otherwise occupied, 
you’re sending a subtle message. It is that your desire to interact 
trumps her right to be left alone. If you pursue a conversation when 
she’s tried to cut it off, you send a message. It is that your desire to speak
 trumps her right to be left alone. And each of those messages indicates
 that you believe your desires are a legitimate reason to override her rights.

For women, who are watching you very closely to determine how much
 of a threat you are, this is an important piece of data."

The above quote was taken from this blog post and brought to my attention by my good friend Mika. I honestly don't feel like I have ever read anything that so accurately describes my frustration with street harassment as this simple, but effective, breakdown.

When it comes to art though, my feelings are most accurately depicted by the work of Tatyan Falalizadeh, an illustrator in Brooklyn who has been exploding with her Stop Telling Women to Smile campaign. Every time I see new work of hers, either online or posted up in my neighborhood, I can almost immediately connect the tagline with a situation in my own life or the story of a friend. It truly is incredible the subconscious understanding some men seem to have regarding women, that their idiotic and crude comments are somehow flattering and we are the bitches for not responding to them as such. But I guess I'm learning it's not a subconscious understanding about women, but more a subconscious understanding about their place and privilege as men.

Sorry to bring it down right in time for the weekend, but I think it's important to think about and talk about because being silent isn't helping anyone.

Enjoy the warm(ish) weather and no work for two.whole.days.
See everybody Monday!

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