feminism

That time I got Trump’d

Dubai.

When Teacher realized he would be unable to attend the festival, he told the organizer that one of his students was coming alone, and asked her to look after me. Which she did; not her fault I have a gift of finding myself in awkward situations. I told Teacher: he was happy that I was making friends and having a good time but, “Be careful, Vanilla. These guys can be trouble.” Which guys – there are two dozen instructors & DJs here? Trouble? What kind of trouble? Am I at risk of being drugged and date-raped? Finding myself arrested at the border for unwittingly smuggling cocaine? Having my identity stolen? Please elaborate. “Just trouble. Stay alert. Be careful around them.”


Last day of the festival.

At the end of the night, the festival photographer wanted a group pic. I clambered on stage so that I could be seen above the crowd. A few ppl climbed up with me, including a dancer called GLTW (*). As the photographer snapped away, GLTW came and stood behind me, pressed himself up against me and grabbed my ass – two solid handfulls, with a big squeeze for good measure. Not an accident. I tried elbowing him, discreetly, not wishing to cause a scene or disrupt the happy group picture. As soon as I could, I shoved him off of me, and gave him an withering look. GLTW laughed and smirked, before sauntering off.

Now. Butts are kinda public property – they get brushed accidentally, or not so accidentally, in public transportation, crowds, clubs… it happens. GLTW’s behaviour was inappropriate, definitely, but I did not feel violated. Merely irritated by his presumptious behaviour, especially since I’d had almost no contact with the dude: I had not danced with or talked to GLTW all festival.

After-party later that (very early) morning.

Energizer and I flirted away, outrageously. I was leaning against a table, and Energizer stood between my legs and the banter was lewd and hilarious. Soon after Energizer left, GLTW walked up to me, right between my legs, in the spot Energizer had just vacated. “Hi” and grabbed my crotch. Palm up, I could feel his fingers on my vagina, separated only by the material of my panties and the jumpsuit I was wearing.

In silence, I knocked his hand away. “No, but really?!” Once again, he smirked, “what?!” and walked away.

Just like that my enjoyment of the night evaporated. I sought out FroMan, and stayed close to him for the rest of the party, trying to absorb his safe, calming energy. I pretended to watch the beautiful sunrise over Dubai, smiling to cover my mild nausea. I took a shower when I got back to the hotel.

The next day, I quietly told Energizer, Sunshiney and FroMan what had happened, so they could warn any of their female students attending any future festivals where GLTW was present. Energizer was disgusted, FroMan looked grave and silent, and Sunshiney was outraged, “Why didn’t you punch him? If I had been you I would have yelled his ears off, that cocky bastard!” Yes, but you see, I am Vanilla, a nameless beginner dancer. Had I caused a scene, he would have denied it, and with his reputation as a rising star in the dance world, this would be a tiny blip in his career, forgotten immediately, whereas I would be branded a drama queen, forever held at arm’s length in any future dance festival. Should I, could I, have punched him? Maybe, but what purpose would that have served? I just would put myself at risk of being punched back since he clearly does not abide by the gentleman’s code of conduct. No. The only alternative for a nameless female nobody, alone in a foreign country, is to be quiet. Suck it up, because the costs of speaking up are not born equally between the alleged aggressor and victim: the costs would be mine alone.

It took me days to forget the feel of his strange fingers against that most private part of my body: the part I’ve shared only with a select few people that I’ve trusted to handle that intimacy with care. It took me weeks to stop feeling guilty, wondering if I somehow demonstrated cowardice by not publicly shaming him. For the endless dialogue to stop: what was it about me that made him feel that was ok – I wasn’t drunk, I hadn’t displayed lewd behaviour on or off the dance floor. Oh wait, that’s silly, that’s the same argument as “she deserved to get raped, she was wearing a mini-skirt”. This isn’t about me, its about him. But really tho, I do wonder why me?! Am I being dramatic? Maybe this wasn’t a big deal, maybe I shouldn’t care so much. Maybe it’s me. It took me months to accept the proper term: sexual assault.


While the world reacted to Trump’s twitter fight against Mika Brzezinski, actual real news was happening. The Supreme Court upheld part of the Muslim Ban. I get it. I get that we need to prioritize and fight the most pressing issues.

But.

I live in a world where pussy-grabbers like GLTW feel vindicated: afterall, the most powerful man in the world boasts of the same behaviour – and the WORLD REWARDS HIM. It is no wonder that, instinctively, I know there is no point in speaking up when I get assaulted. The evidence of that pointlessness has been in office for 5 months.

I feel defeated. I write this to remind myself I have a voice. Just that: a voice. When the world implies I should be silent, having a voice is a tiny act of courage.

I wrote this post about sexual assault back in October 2016. All that rage. Its burned out now, replaced by hopelessness. That is his legacy.

(*) GLTW = Good-looking Trump Wannabe

Disclaimer:

That Dubai festival remains one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, and I will always encourage anyone to visit the city and attend that festival. Furthermore, to his credit (?) GLTW’s actions occurred after the end of the festival, and must not in any way be associated with what was a wonderful event filled with lovely, kind, generous ppl, talented instructors & DJs, and many many new friends. One bad apple does not make the whole thing rotten. Isn’t that so, America?

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Finding joy one croissant and conversation at a time

I was talking to an acquaintance (that same professional acquaintance that reads my blog and deems I am cerebral) about work. His is a thrilling chaotic philanthropic crusade, constantly networking, organizing BIG fundraisers, and making a tangible monetary difference in the lives of many sick children and adults. He never stops. His stories trigger so many feels: the real kind, sweet and sorrowful that squeeze your heart so that you can’t take a deep breath. My stories are about… accounting. Big projects that at the end of the day… nobody gives a shit about because accounting doesn’t generate cash, ops does (nobody gives a shit about accounting until cash is involved – the need for financing, applying for a refunding tax credit for R&D, fraud… then suddenly accounting becomes a hot topic). I pour myself into my work, waging mental sparring wars with people that outrank me, pushing/prodding/pleading coworkers across the organization to work together cross-functionally to improve efficiency and processes.

“Is it worth dying for” my acquaintance asked me the day before I got on the plane to go to Paris. Oye. Nope. He clearly feels his work is worth dying for, which is why he is able to devote time, effort and seemingly endless energy to push through road blocks and make change. “So why are you doing it?” Million dollar question. That question was never far from my mind as I spent these last 10 days working my ass off, getting into many arguments with my French coworkers, frequently enraged and frustrated, with an unmanageable to-do list.

Why, tho?

Part of it is the thrill of tight (impossible?) deadlines on projects that allow me to showcase my intelligence (#modest). Tell me I have to prove something, and you don’t think it can be done? Ha! Imma show you – and the “you” can be anyone from a junior accountant to the CFO of the company, doesn’t matter, I will prove them wrong. I love being thrown at a scenario where I know little, yet am required to make an educated decision that I must defend – a game of logic, probabilities and information processing. Professional judgment – my two favorite words.

Part of it is my team, my cuties. They are so young, at the start of their careers. They are like blank canvases, that I can work away at to reveal their underlying masterpieces. I can’t explain how proud and delighted it makes me to watch them apply my coaching and feedback, morphing from sweet babies straight out of uni into self-sufficient, responsible, reliable team players. Coaching them on how to problem solve certain scenarios, how to better respond/communicate, to view themselves as trusted advisors for the business. To see instances where they believe that they are trusted advisors for the business – its only a matter of time before they fully believe it. Watching their journey, and knowing that I am positively influencing it to the best of my abilities, is possibly the best part of each day.

Part of it, at least on this trip, was the realization that I could be fully myself, integrated in my contradictions, and yet people still enjoy me. Or they don’t, but that’s ok, because they respect me, both because I deserve it, and expect it as my due. I might be 32, but the concept of being liked for myself is one I still have trouble grasping. Yet I went to Madrid, struggled with anxiety and vulnerability, and still found myself with new friends and great memories. In Paris, I met a plethora of coworkers I’d never properly interacted with, and culture shock notwithstanding… it was good. Really good.

Part of it was walking the streets of Paris, breathing in the bougie air, surrounded by beauty, eating 1-5 croissants a day. My father was born in Paris, his brothers before him; my grandparents were part of a great influx of Russians in France post-Russian revolution & WWII. They lived there for several years. I walked by the apartment where they lived, the cathedral where my grandfather served as deacon and my father and uncles were baptised. France influenced my family’s history, both in Paris and in Quebec – it is impossible to dissociate my province’s history from that of its’ former colonizer. This was my 5th time in Paris. Every time, I feel a part of my identity awaken from a perma-siesta. I need to be there. I have a Big Dream, for the first time since all this depression shit, 6+ years ago: I want to move to Paris, in the nearish future (next 2-3 years).

There you have it. That is why I do what I do. It makes me feel alive, which is a new sensation after spending 1/5th of my life struggling with depression. When I feel alive, I feel joy. Non-stop, vibrating through me, even as I feel all kinds of other emotions. Joy-rage. Joy-frustration. Joy-exhaustion. Joy-stress. I might not have found (yet) something worth dying for, but for the first time in 32 years, I’ve built myself a life worth living for.

Imma enjoy this, for now.


I highly recommend this comic strip (“How to be perfectly unhappy”) by the Oatmeal. That is exactly it.

Paris, ville de l’amour & l’irritation extrême 

I just wanted to take pictures, y’all. Really.

I am in Paris for a 10-day work trip. (Check out what happened the last time I was left unsupervised in Paris.) Not complaining at all, but it remains I am not here to visit, I am here to put in 12+ hour days. When I leave my hotel in the morning, it is dark out. When I leave the office, it is darker. I gave myself an objective to try walk 30-60 mins every day, and find something worth taking as a picture. I’ve never really explored Paris at night, this trip would be my opportunity to see the usual landmarks in a different “light”.

Monday night, I met up with a former colleague of mine from my auditing days who has recently moved to Paris. I hadn’t seen him in two years. A delightful evening, bien arrosée, because we accountants = alcoholics and French wine is bae. By the time we said goodbye, it was 11pm. The resto was located in a safe part of town, approx 35 mins from my hotel – perfect opportunity to squeeze in my daily walk and pic quest. My walk brought me to the Louvre, which I needed to cross to get to the Seine bank, where I would need to walk for 15 mins, before crossing over the river.

As I stood on the street corner waiting for the light to change, a man approached me asking me if I was lost, because I looked confused. I answered him (in French) that I was debating if the open gate on our side of the Louvre would allow me to cross the entire courtyard, or whether the gate would be closed on the other end (on the river-side); I did not feel like walking about for nothing. He reassured me that the Louvre gates remained open all night, and that in fact he was walking in that direction himself, to reach the south bank. Perfect.

I really wanted to be in my bubble and enjoy the peaceful Parisian night – it is rare to find a moment where the city is quiet, almost sleeping. Chatty stranger watched me take pics of the Louvre, despite my hints that I did not want to delay him from joining his friends. This is the only pic I managed to squeeze in before Sir Annoyancealot ruined my mood.

Having crossed through the Louvre courtyard, I noticed the normally busy Seine bank was deserted. Great. I said goodbye to Sir Annoyancealot, who insisted on giving me a goodnight hug.

I did not want this hug. It was an impertinence, which he knew – he is French: they have the best manners in the world when they chose. That he was asking/insisting on a hug meant he was up to no good. I was faced with a dilemma: tell him to fuck-off and risk an escalation, or appease him. Boxing experience notwithstanding, I’ve been trained to handle a situation smoothly, just in case. Especially on a deserted street. Guy didn’t seem dangerous, more of a low-key creep trying his luck, looking to boost his male ego. Choosing safety over bravado, I let him hug me, but with arms flexed so that he couldn’t pull me close, and he would feel my strength. He attempted la bise, which he technically achieved, despite me successfully keeping him at arm’s distance.

You’d think he would be satisfied with that, no? No.

Sir Annoyancealot offered to walk with me a little more, even though I told him I wanted to be alone to enjoy the view. He continued talking to me, oblivious (or perhaps enjoying) that my conversation had gone from politely chatty to monosyllabic. I lied about where I was headed, and he insisted on re-saying goodbye, this time holding me firmly by either arm (payback for me having stiff-armed him: he had noticed my strength, and now it was my turn to notice his) with another bise. When his first kiss on the cheek landed on the corner of my mouth, I shoved him away such that he had to take 1-2 steps backwards.

He smiled at me, “Non, mais t’es tellement mignonne, j’ai envie de te croquer, tu sais.” Dropping all semblance of manners, I gave him my boxer look, “Tiens, mec, t’es vraiment mieux de ne pas t’essayer avec moi.” (“But you are so adorable, I just wanna eat you!” followed by “That’s nice, buddy, you better not try to.”) I walked away, and he didn’t follow me.


When I told that story to my colleagues yesterday, one dude shook his head and remarked that no French woman would have let herself be in such a scenario. That comment enraged me. It reminded me of the comment my Arab friend made, after I got lewdly propositioned in Beirut. It implies it is my fault, or perhaps that the women of my nationality aren’t as savvy as the locals. Wrong. I’ve been micro-aggressed in Canada too. This is what it means to be a woman; these are the kind of trade-offs I have to make every damn day, all the time: evaluating if I am willing to put up with possible unpleasant encounters in order to not deprive myself of a beautiful solitary nighttime walk. Evaluating if politeness will be a gateway to a dangerous situation. Evaluating the risk of escalation vs the need for appeasement. Evaluating just how far to react, if the guy is an actual dangerous person or just a creep. Having to be grateful that I have 8 years of fighting experience, because otherwise that would have been a much scarier experience.

I just wanted to take pictures, y’all. Really.


Last night, I left work “early” at 8:30pm so as to give myself plenty of time to walk the 1hr walk from l’Arc de Triomphe to my hotel near Notre-Dame. It wasn’t peaceful, bc 9pm is prime social time for Parisians, and les Champs-Elysées are always crowded, but it was nighttime and I did get my pics.

Behold, Paris at night.

Well. I forgot this still happened. Part II.

Yesterday I had another date with Young Boy (YB). You can read Part I here: it gives a little context about my mindset going into said date. A low-key affair, as we were both burnt from a long week at work. I like low-key dates because they often result in good conversations; useful in the getting-to-know-one-another stage, regardless of where that stage is headed (dating, naked gymnastics, friend zone).

Convo flowed freely, possibly because we have very different lifestyles and tastes. Even interests that we share, we approach from very different perspectives. For example, I exercise primarily because I need to remain mentally and emotionally stable: my appearance is bonus. For the longest time, despite exercising 4-6 times a week, I was rather thick (80+kilos), because of my emotional eating. Sure, that self-destructive habit made me ashamed, but thanks to my former therapist, I still felt some pride in investing the necessary time to take care of my brain and happiness. YB exercises because he feels it is a duty to remain healthy: anyone who lets him/herself go is lazy and signals to the world that they don’t respect themselves and don’t mind being a drain on society by clogging up the healthcare system with avoidable health issues. OYE. On so many levels. Yes, agreed that being overweight is linked to avoidable health issues. No, disagreed that it is a matter of laziness and lack of self-respect: those might be factors, but adulting is fucking hard, and the emotional and mental scars of life often translate into bad eating habits. Also? Life is a balancing act of conflicting priorities. To surmise a person’s whole character from their appearance?! OYE. Yet… I am not surprised. Many people share his point of view – hence my concern with maintaining my newfound #skinnybitch and #bangingbod status.

We started comparing Instagram profiles, and sharing the backstories of some of our favorite pics. I showed him a pic of me and Coach, after a particularly good, sweaty booté workout at the gym – seemed like a good choice, especially after our convo about exercising.

That’s one big black guy. How much does he bench/squat? Cute pic. Wait, you don’t fool around with black guys, do you? You DO?! Oh.” [Accompanied by a slightly nonplussed look.]

Oh, indeed.

Remember how my emotions are overwhelming, I can’t always properly identify what I am feeling, and as a result I have slightly delayed reactions? I had NO PROBLEM identifying my anger, and the only difficulty I had was biting back the impulse to reply,

Yeah, going back has been tough, you’re my trial run, white boy, and honestly, I don’t know that I am ready to make the switch back. You haven’t sold me on the concept.

SO ANGRY. Because the question didn’t revolve around me fooling around with guys. No. Specifically, it was concerned with black guys. My willingness to expose my body to black guys merits judgment. What, boy, bothers you so much about the black part of the guys I have fooled around with? Lets break down some of the most common aspects of their reputation:

  • big dicks: so is this a sizing issue, boy? Worried you can’t measure up? That I have been stretched out and am a loosey goosey?
  • into dirtier, nastier sex: well, for someone who has boasted about having a broad range of naked gymnastics interests, surely my possible exposure to similar concepts (7.5!!) can’t bother you, can it? Or are you worried I’ll call your bluff?
  • aren’t legendary for their monogamy: worried that I might be crawling with diseases? Dunno if you understand how safe sex works, but it isn’t related to the moral code of the person you bang. It is only related to whether or not the dude wears a raincoat. Worried that means that I might not be the greatest at the whole concept of monogamy? Because obvi my character is influenced by sexual osmosis. I cannot maintain my own moral compass if there is a penis around.
  • can actually cook and dance: nothing to be said, really.
  • are BLACK.

Its the last one that bothers me. Because while I am sure the other items probably were part of his reaction, its the BLACK part that really was the sticking point. So shocking that a white girl like me might actually view black males as humans worthy of my attention, time and occasionally body… the same as I do white boys. Or Arab boys (only because I find the possibility of being blown up during sex to be extremely exciting, duh). Or any other male that is alive, taller than me and funny.

Unconscious racism. Soooooooooo sexy.

There won’t be a part III.

Well. I forgot this still happened.

Over the years, I have been told, repeatedly, that I am a bit of a tough sell in the dating world:

  • I’m tall and I ALWAYS wear heels;
  • My personality can be brash, especially once I have established a certain comfort with the person;
  • My personality can be extremely reserved (I swear!), if I don’t know the person and haven’t determined if I want to know them – the more someone pressures me to open up, the more I dig in my heels, get annoyed and shut them out;
  • I used to box -for every guy that says, “oh, that is so hot, I love a woman who can handle herself” and means it, there are 3 that PISS ME OFF by saying “oh, that is so hot, I’ll be sure to stay nice around you, haha, don’t want you getting angry” (thank you for the implication that I have anger management issues and am totally cool with domestic violence – in the face of such flattery, how can I resist?) and 2 more that lose all interest because “that isn’t very ladylike” (handle your frail male ego quietly, boy, without insulting me to restablish your testosterone. #brash);
  • I blog about my life and all the characters that pass through it – especially the absurd ones. As one guy told me, “I don’t want to be blog fodder.” Reasonable. Don’t be a ridiculous jackass and y’all should be safe;
  • I am extremely busy, and I will never ever drop my activities (boxing/dancing/writing/volunteering/friends/family) for a guy. I will get creative with my schedule, sure, but don’t expect me to be free, last minute. Get in line. As a guy increases in importance in my life, so will the time I allocate to him – within reason. I am a boxer/blogger/dancer/accountant. Presumably, that is what attracts said males to me in the first place – I cannot change who I am, and what I need to be happy. In my experience, most guys get ruffled at the concept of having to wait and of not immediately being a priority in a girl’s life. Unfortunate, as my purpose in life, surprisingly, is not to pander to a male ego.

I should go into PR. Really, after such a sales pitch, what guy WOULDN’T wanna date me?!

Not gonna lie, for all my snarky irritation above, constantly getting the feedback that I am too atypical to date messes with my head. What is the point of being an Amazon if I gather cobwebs? Not gonna lie, I’m enjoying maintaining my #skinnybitch body, and improving my fashion and appearance, because a) I like getting compliments b) I enjoy feeling fabulous and c) men are superficial creatures and will overlook a lot of character flaws for the sake of a trim waist and a pert bum. Not gonna lie, I don’t miss the immediate tension that happened every time I mentioned I was a boxer – identifying myself as a dancer/blogger produces neutral reactions. Sometimes, I wonder if I’ve become a sellout – that is what being single for 6.5 years will do to a gal.

Anyhow.

I’ve run into a new road-block to my dating success. I don’t know why it surprises me, since it a known struggle for some dudes – it just has never happened to me:

I am a successful, ambitious, career woman, on a path to enjoy good professional growth (through a combination of hard work, some luck, and white privilege).

I’ve been on a couple of dates with a guy 3 years younger than me, who is still in the early stages of his career – he has everything it takes to make it far, and achieve great success, but at the moment does not have too much to show for it. I think that is impressive: it is so bloody hard to pursue a goal without tangible evidence that one is getting closer to success. Awful. Many people quit. So to me, his story and his circumstances are praiseworthy. Instead, following ONE conversation where I mentioned my job ONCE, he’s made a few comments along the lines of how hard my job is, his job is nothing special, how simple I must find him, etc. Aka, he passively wonders why I would be interested in him, given my career?

It’s so odd coming face-to-face with a variation of my own insecurities. I used to feel Beaut was too hot for me – why would he be interested in lil old nothing-special me, given his hotness, he could have any girl he wanted (lol, turns out I was closer to the truth than I knew. Sigh! #lessvanilla). While I am delighted to realize I no longer suffer from that particular insecurity – any guy, regardless of his abs and hotness, can reasonably be interested in me, because I am AWESOME and hilarious and smart and good people – I remember how there was no way of convincing former me of that. I didn’t believe it, therefore it wasn’t true. And here I am. My career (which is solid, but by no means spectacular – I ain’t no Richard Branson, Sheryl Sandberg or Beyoncé) is generating the same level of insecurity in boys as Beaut’s abs did in me.

I wonder if the Universe is laughing at me?

#Iaintspendingtimereassuringyouboy #brash

Walking contradiction

Ballet and boxing.

Fred Astaire, Sylvie Guillem and Ronda Rousey.

Eminem, Pink, Taylor Swift, Dave Matthews Band, Stromae, Adèle, Bare Naked Ladies, Eva Cassidy, Beyoncé, Tracy Chapman, Florence and the Machine, David Guetta, Daft Punk, Linkin Park, Jay-Z, Kanye West, RHCP, Kendrick Lamar… Verdi, Pucini, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Chopin, Sibelius, Dvorak, Elgar, Mahler, Grieg; I could correctly identify any of Beethoven vs Brahm vs Tchaikovsky’s violin concertos by the age of 11, but I only discovered Michael Jackson at the age of 17.

I’m a loud introvert.

I have a fabulous collection of high heels and be-au-ti-ful evening dresses, but my favorite footware, if I HAVE to wear any at all, is flip-flops.

I hate being late for shows/concerts or missing previews at the movie theatres. If I show up only 15-45 minutes late to any type of social event, I congratulate myself on my punctuality.

I lifeguarded outdoors for 5 summers even though I am prone to heat and sun-strokes.

I hate paying attention to detail. My career is in finance and accounting, and most of the time, I love it.

I will fight tooth and nail to avoid losing an argument yet am miserable when people don’t like me.

I love lifting weights, and feeling strong. I love being an Amazon. I am prone to bouts of incredible body self-hatred, believing I am too big to be attractive. Yet I am a proud feminist who firmly believes a woman’s worth is not defined by either her looks or the appreciation of men for her looks.

Today, I went to the gym, and proudly squatted more than one of the guys in my weightlifting/conditioning class; I’ve already identified the next guy that I plan on out-lifting. Then I went home, and gave myself a mani-pedi (peach and lavendar, in case y’all are wondering).

Girliest Beast Mode EVER.

#owningit

#gemini

Body image mind-fucks

I thought I’d overcome a lot of my body insecurities, that I’d learned to accept myself and my body for what it is and what it can do. More important still, that I’d learned to find my own particular brand of beauty. I wrote an entire manifesto about it.

Well, I was wrong. I suppose that just makes me a woman – what woman doesn’t go through phases of complete and utter body-hatred? Find me one woman who can love herself truly ALL THE TIME, even when PMSing, and I will prove to you that she is an alien or a robot. This recent bout of self-hatred might be because of the time of the month, but I think it is related to my recent emotional instability. Historically, one of the biggest red flags of my dark phases has been body self-shaming, even flirting with eating disorders. As I feel my life spiraling out of control, I seek out areas over which I can establish rigid dominance (and what better than my own body?!) and then to the extent I (inevitably) fail, I use my failures as proof that I am an undisciplined, worthless, lazy fuck-up in all areas of my life. Oh yeah, my paranoid brain has this cycle down pat.

I recognize the signs. I am aware that I cannot trust the internal dialogue that my brain is feeding me. I know that my perceptions have broken away from reality: putting on 3-4 lbs due to a month of eating wtv I want (I never fully stopped my nutritional splurge from France) does not make me a hideous blob. I know that I have to wait this out, repeating positive messages to myself, even if I don’t believe them, until such a moment as the negative voices in my head quieten. I know the drill. I am determined to do it.

Part of me finds this curious. I am a modern day Amazonian feminist -I am aware of the patriarchy and do my best to reject it. Yet the negative voices in my head successfully bring me down using messages that are the very ones I rationally reject.

Example 1: I need male validation

Back when Beaut and I were a thing, I pointed out to him that he rarely, if ever, complimented me on my appearance. Occasionally, he’d comment favorably on some of my facebook pictures, but not nearly as frequently as he would do to a lot of his girl friends, and never ever to my face when we were together. (Aside: do you know how lame it sounds to complain “you don’t like my pictures on facebook?” EW. I can’t believe I became THAT girl.) At first he rejected my accusation, but a quick scroll through my Facebook wall easily proved my point – thank goodness, at least I had some grip on reality! He explained to me a very male way of thinking: “Vanilla, if I put my penis into you, and do so on a regular basis, that means I want to put my penis in you. I only want to put my penis into girls I find attractive. What more concrete proof do you need? You have the action, and actions speak louder than words.” Yes, that is true, but I like hearing it. More importantly, I need to hear it, especially from the guy I’m sleeping with. I need it so badly that without it, I stop enjoying the sex.

You guys. Wtf is wrong with me that a lack of compliments eats away at me so much that I can’t then enjoy clitoral stimulation or penetration? That’s one deep insecurity. I don’t get how this happened?! And ugh. What a unattractive burden to place on the guy.

I’ve noticed also that I don’t place the same weight on compliments given to me by my guy and girl friends. I easily accept, and just as easily forget, compliments from my girlfriends. I savor, and preen myself, on the rare occasions my guy friends compliment me. I think compliments from my male friends help me believe that I am attractive to the opposite sex. That implies that I am still in doubt about my attractiveness. I need that validation. And the reason for that is a rather limited and unsuccessful dating history and…

Example 2: I fundamentally don’t believe that my physique appeals to most guys

I’m tall (5’9”). I’m heavy (160-165lbs). I weigh more than most guys at my boxing gym. I have an athletic build. I easily put on muscle. I’m a bit of a tomboy – while I wear mainly skirts and dresses, I can’t be bothered to put on anything other than mascara, and high heels are optional (except at work). I box. I’m aware that guys are wilting flowers and hate being emasculated. I’m also aware that I’m reaching a point where I can lift the same as some guys, and out perform them athletically. Aka, where I will emasculate them by my very existence.

Its weird. I don’t want a wimpy guy that would be intimidated by my appearance. Yet it wounds me that my physical appearance is such that a lot of guys just won’t be turned on by it. I’ve spent my whole life thinking that what I wanted was a guy who would appreciate my mind, and my personality. And that is true. But I’m finally admitting what I never wanted to acknowledge, because it seemed too superficial. I want to believe I am hot and desirable – two attributes that just have never come up in all of my dating history.

I ran the Spartan this weekend. A friend took this picture.

When I saw it, I was taken aback. Part of me was proud that all my hard work in the gym is clearly obvious. But most of me was dismayed – THAT is what I look like? I look like a freak. This picture has garnered a lot of attention on Facebook and Instagram. Lots of likes from guys and girls. And people commenting “warrior woman”, “Amazon”, “look at those guns”, “awesome Vanilla, so fit”. Those compliments serve to confirm my worry: no one said I was beautiful. No one called this sexy. Impressive, yes. But not sexy. My paranoid brain whispers, “Maybe the reason why none of the guys you’ve dated have ever told you how hot and desirable they find you is because they DON’T find you hot and desirable. Just settle for being the girl with the nice personality. Accept yourself as you truly are. Know your limits.”

I’m aware hotness is a state of mind. It has to come from within. But currently, I’m at a bit of an impass, because I really don’t find my body type attractive. I look at Serena Williams, and I find her impressive, a strong woman, an example to follow, and I hope I never get as big as her. THAT IS STUPID. I’ve clearly internalized the message that thin, slim, lady-like, girly girls are the Hollywood ideal.

It’s gonna be an uphill battle, battling my paranoid brain on this topic.

#exhausted

#mentalhealthsucks

#teamsinglebecauseIamtoobusyfightingwithmybrain