It’s MINE, DAMMIT: Me Protecting My Body

Dear Gang,

I’m not in the best of moods right now.  In fact, all day today I wanted to watch heads roll.  I get frustrated very easily when my plans–great or small–goes to shit.  It’s childish and Crazy Town, but it’s the truth.  For one, my front door is still broken for the third time this week–courtesy of the Slacker Landlord and the Invisible Door Repair Guy.  Also, I have my roommate Ernesto who wants to keep the peace while I want to tape anti-landlord signs to the window.  I can see it now:  the signs are painted the color of top hats and painted in red are the words

                    HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT!!!!

 Or my personal favorite:

                    FIX OUR DOOR,  YOU LAZY BASTARD!!!

Despite my effective communication skills, Slacker Landlord insists on corresponding with only Ernesto.

But Slacker Landlord and his trifflin’ ways are not the reason why I’m in a shitty mood.  I feel this way due to my hyperventilance.  Because of my abuse, I don’t like people violating my personal space.  In other words, you touch me, you will get maced…if I had mace.  But anyway, all joking aside–I become nervous when people I just met get too close to me or try to show me affection two seconds after the first handshake.  Or when male admirers tend to flirt not only with their words but with their hands…like the barber who cut my hair today.

My hair was looking like a little curly Chia Pet today, so I went to a Unisex barber shop on Main Street to get a brush cut.  The shop accepted walk-ins like Your Writer here, so I walked in and was escorted to a black leather chair that spun around.  As I was getting my haircut, the barber–an African-American guy who’s straight hood–was talking to me with a soft fast voice.  I couldn’t hear what he was saying most of the time because the razor was buzzing loudly in my ear.  But, every once in a while, he would tell me how “pretty I am” and that “women like me: clean, pretty and trying to do something with their lives are hard to find around here.”  I told him thanks, I’m flattered,” thinking nothing of it.  But then he spun me around in the chair…looked at my hair…looked at my face…moaned…and cut some of my hair off.  When a co-worker cracked a joke at the shop, the barber would hug my shoulders as if I’ve been getting haircuts from him since forever. 

Now I was nervous.  I felt his energy and it was driven by lust.  I knew he wanted something more than the $20 it cost for a brush cut.  When he was done, I felt like bolting out of the shop.  I gave him the money and he gave me his card.  I turned and quickly tried to leave when he ran up behind me to brush off the extra hair off my Brockport hoodie.  I left feeling dirty and somewhat small.  I let this man–this complete stranger–violate my personal space.  Granted, he didn’t do what my Aunt Jean did, but it was damn near close because he didn’t ask my permission.  THAT’s why I feel shitty, Gang.  Because I let him do this to me.

But as I write this, I see that there’s a difference between the barber and Aunt Jean:  I was a child when I was molested by the latter and, because I was a child, I couldn’t get away.  I’m an adult now, though.  Which means I don’t have to go back to that barber shop–which means I don’t have to be touched on by that barber anymore…

I remember my ex boyfriend saying to me once “You know what I like about your body?  I can do whatever I want with it.”  Those words stung back then because I did let him do whatever he wanted to my body.  I didn’t know better back then.  But that was then and I now know that only I can hug, grab, poke and/or tickle my body because it was given to me by Creator.  It took me so long to get to this point and–though I’m still hypervigilent.  I wasn’t like that before. 

The moral of the story is that is that my body is mine and no one–I mean NO ONE has the right to hug, grab, poke and/or tickle it without my permission. In fact, I don’t have to hold on to his card the way I used to hold on to the past.  I can torch the motherfucker…but I have company right now and I don’t her to worry about the house burning down, so I’ll just throw it away. 


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