Thomas asked me to help with the conversation that most needs to happen this month, an examination of the true position of women in our society. I answered, truthfully, that I didn’t know if I could put words to the visceral feelings I am having. I wasn’t even sure that these were culturally shared feelings and not personal issues layered on top of the current climate, but comment after comment and post after post is telling me that it’s not only me.
— I absolutely must add, for my own sanity, that it goes so much further than sexual abuse. It’s everything at all feminine belonging in a lesser category than anything at all masculine. This is a fight I’ve been in, internally, since I read Gloria Steinem’s Revolution From Within as a young adult and saw through the veil.–
To be completely clear what I mean by “visceral feelings”, I’m talking about literal, physical sensations throughout my body that I have to remind myself a hundred times a day are the physiological results of sustaining high levels of stress hormones.
My head is in a vice. My blood feels like lava or icy slush. I’m nauseated. There is something like a small elephant sitting on my chest. My joints ache. My sides hurt. My brain feels fuzzy like I’m standing near a lightning strike. Too often, I can’t focus enough to read more than a sentence or two at a time. I cry every. single. day. I get flushed. My hands are cold. My arms and legs feel bruised from the inside.
These are all, I hope, symptoms of ongoing exposure to stress hormones and repeated activation of the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for the fight or flight response).
I’ve been walking around for almost two weeks whispering to myself that I’m being raped by the government. It sounded hyperbolic and unreasonable in my head, so I never said it out loud… not even to my own husband. A post came around last night that validated the things I’ve only dared to say to myself, and the first thing I thought was, “Why hadn’t someone written about this before?” After a few minutes I realized that I am someone. I could have done it. I’m late, but at least I can try.
Here’s the truth. We are being humiliated every day, repeatedly slapped in the face with how little we’re worth. Our government is forcing itself and its own self-centered wants onto us, refusing to listen to pleas for compassion, taking what it wants, and throwing us away.
Because I don’t know that I can do a solid job of explaining myself without risking plagiarizing the (to me) unknown woman who said it first, I’ll share her words, here:
I think [I] understand now why I am so upset about this case. I tried to sleep last night and all I kept thinking is why are they trying to “ram him” through despite the majority of the country and the majority of women saying “no,” and “please stop,” and “wait” …. and in that very question I found the answer. I was so simple and so alarming.
They are literally playing out on the national stage and in real time what it feels like to be overpowered. They won’t take no for an answer. They won’t listen or slow down. They won’t stop. The more we say no, the more angry they get. The more we ask them to stop, the more entitled they feel. This is, I think, is what is affecting me and countless other women.
We are being overpowered despite us being in the majority and asking rightfully that they stop or wait. They are saying no and the more we beg, the more aggressive they are getting. Until finally, they plan on “ramming” through his nomination while we are supposed to just take it.
This is what is affecting me. This is – I think – what is affecting most women. This overpowering, entitled and demeaning attack on our body politic.