Thursday, May 01, 2008

I am aware

Tonight I wanted to stay after class and go to the library to work on my papers. The library closes at midnight, I planned to stay until they asked me leave.
As I was leaving class the sky was filled with lightning and I turned to my girlfriend and asked what time the tunnel closed, the tunnel is the underground hallway that connects the buildings on campus, she thought it closed at 10, it was currently about 9:30.

Frustrated, I went to buy a sandwich and weighed the pros and cons of walking to the library, walking across campus in the dark, during a thunderstorm, with an extremely heavy backpack strapped to me, all in order to study late.

Angry, frustrated, tired, and stressed, I realized I was not willing to make myself a walking target. I realized I was too aware.

Aware of the dangers of being a female walking by herself, in the dark, during finals, with the words "moving target" written across me.
My major, my focus, my passion, the statistics, my past; I had made myself too aware.

I realized that men do not understand when they are simply walking in the opposite direction down the same sidewalk, that I am sizing them up, taking notes, and determining if they are a threat.

I like men who are tall, broad shoulder, and heavy-set because I feel more protected, safer with them, yet, at the same time, a person of that description can be overpowering and a threat.

I have three locks and a peep-hole on my door, but when I moved in there were only two and a solid wood frame.

I became aware that my friends make fun of me for having all the locks yet, they never even think to lock their doors at night.

I realized that if I hear a noise in the middle of the night, I will roll over in bed so that I am facing my bedroom door and I will watch to see if there are any shadows.

I became aware that I know how to get in my car in one fluid motion and lock the door behind.

I always walk with a purpose; car key pointed, phone at the ready, head held high.

I realized I pass strangers and look them in the eye.

I realized that when I see females walking across campus or a parking lot on their cell phone completely oblivious to their surroundings I become angry with them.

I admitted to myself that if I feel I am getting too much unwanted attention I binge eat to gain weight to try and make myself less attractive.

I admitted to myself that when I do gain weight and I am not getting the attention, I don't always like it.

I choose my apartments strategically. Always on the top floor always a corner apartment always in some place that I deem safe. That way it is harder to break-in to my place.

Tonight, after moving my car in the pitch-black parking lot, I realized I also park my car with a purpose.

I am always aware if some place is well lit.

Currently my parking lot is not.

I realized I worry about things, think about things, take in things that my girlfriends and guyfriends would never take into account.

I know they make fun of me at times if I say something, I know they have the luxury of ignorance and I do not.

I realized all of this tonight because I wanted to stay at the library and study until midnight so I could sleep in tomorrow, instead I rationalized that it was not safe to do, and so I came home and I became very angry, then I became sad.

Sad because I realized I am a statistic of many.
Sad because there will be more statistics made.
Sad because in the time it took to compose this, there have been thousands of statistics.
Sad because some will not be counted and because some will not be believed.
Sad that I have had to be made aware and sad that men have no idea how they are sometimes seen.
Sad for what I've admitted, sad for the things I have left out, forgotten, or not realized.
Angry that my past dictates my future and my present.
Angry that the word rape still illicits shame, pity, self-loathing, ignorance, blame, behaviors, thoughts, powerlessness.
Sad and angry for all of it.

5 comments:

limpy99 said...

Um, does this mean the ballgames out?

-your tall, broad-shouldered blogging friend.

ptg said...

Yes.

Yes to all of it.

Tom Serafini, Actor to the Stars! said...

hmmmm.....I think you were going for the reader to feel a bit low. I for one do not. The World is a dangerous place. Always was, always will be. People, women need to be aware, period.

I see what you just described all the time in friends I care about. They think Manhattan is all about Sex and the City. They all want to be Carrie and live that fab party life. They forget this city is filled with predators. They laugh when I tell then they need to be more careful as if it will never happen to them.


Looking at it from the other side; had you not been made aware of that fact (and that's putting it very very lightly) you'd currently be one of those future stats. You are now in a position of strength and a position to help others before somebody punches their clock.

It is not sad that you are aware of all these things and take these precautions, it is necessary. There is only one you, you are in charge of protecting and preserving that.

puerileuwaite said...

This is the same reason I am nervous when walking alone at the Lilith Fair.

limpy99 said...

Pug=Best Comment Ever.