Why Now?

I find it nauseating, reading the comments made by people with whom I share a society; comments that suggest women are LYING ABOUT BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED, because they “waited so long to come forward.” I’ve seen people -men and women- comment that they’re seeking publicity, or looking to ruin someone’s name/life, or digging for money, or suggesting that they’re lying because they didn’t say anything at the time.
If you’ve ever been sexually assaulted, or even touched in a way that made you feel uncomfortable, however innocuous on the part of the person touching you, you are familiar with the feeling of freezing in time. You know exactly what I mean by that, because that’s what it feels like when you’ve experienced sexual assault: you freeze in your body, in your mind, in your tracks. Should I say anything? Will I sound like I’m making it up? Am I just being too sensitive? Is this going to ruin something, like our friendship, or my job, or my life, or their life? Will they hate me? Will they try to hurt me? What will other people think? Does this make me a bad person? Am I supposed to like it? Do I like it? Do other people like it? What if they do it again, or something else? Should I say anything? Should I laugh? Should I cry? Am I gross?
There are questions no woman or man should ever have to ask themselves. When you’re in the moment, you aren’t thinking clearly, because your mind is clogged with an adrenaline stream that is carrying a constant cycle of questions you have no answer to.
In many cases, women are violated by men of power, and would have undoubtedly ruined their lives by coming forward, so they chose to say nothing. In many cases, something is directly threatened by their coming forward, such as their job.
Can you imagine being told, to your face, in that confusing moment of being touched WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO BE, that if you say anything about feeling uncomfortable, your monetary support system will be ripped out from under you? What would you do? Would you say something? It’s not an easy choice to make when you’re faced with not being able to pay your bills or eat or have a place to live.
Can you imagine losing a friend or family member, or your spouse even, because you didn’t play along with their sexual demands? The effects would ripple into your entire universe if you said something. It could tear apart your family, and remember, the aggressor has a side of the story they’re likely going to tell everyone. Who will they believe?
Can you imagine whistleblowing on a fucking president? Not just a company president, which would be bad enough, but the president of your country. Could you rationalize in that moment? You suck it up, is what you do. Because it’s easier than living out the consequences of your actions over something “small” like being touched WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO BE.
Some women never come forward. Some men never come forward. Some men DO come forward, and are immediately discounted because of their gender. There is no shortage of people who are unwilling to believe you. There is no shortage of people who want to prove you wrong. No shortage of people who need you to prove it to the whole world, that you were RAPED, because that’s the only kind of sexual assault that people recognize, and EVEN THEN, people will choose to call you a liar. An attention seeker. A slut. A homewrecker. A scorned woman. A liberal. A lesbian. An angry feminist. There is no shortage of subsequent uncomfortable moments to follow a sexual assault, regardless of what decision you make in the moment.
That’s why people wait to come forward. They wait until they feel like someone is listening, and often, that never comes. If it comes 20 years later, it doesn’t make it any less legitimate. Think about living with that feeling for 20 years; the questions, the nervous feeling that worms through your body when you think about it, the emotional and physical repercussions that come with it all.
Think about finally feeling okay to come forward, because you think someone is listening, and you finally tell your story even though you feel like dying inside, and all of a sudden, it’s your fault. Or people will say that you’re just lying. They are more comfortable to live with the idea that it didn’t happen to you, than to believe that someone is capable of touching something that didn’t belong to them.
Women don’t come forward at the time for many reasons, ALL of which are none of your fucking business. If you want to play judge on a sexual assault case, go to law school. Until then, keep your toxic opinion to yourself, unless you’re offering support in some way. Victim blaming is a disgusting trait that needs to stop, like, yesterday.
-jg

Good Mom.

sometimes i wonder if i’m a good mom. i should actually have said, sometimes i convince myself i’m a terrible mom. it’s not something that i beat myself up over (yes i do), but rather a general feeling that i’m just not doing enough.
my sister likes to say “when you think you’re not doing enough, remember this moment” when i’m venting something that i would otherwise just hold inside until i burst. stupid things. i mean REALLY stupid things. the purpose behind this post, is to tell you about one specific stupid thing.
i made a chili in the slow cooker, which is my favorite favorite favorite favorite favorite favorite favorite thing. i cooked it for a whole day, so that we could all enjoy it the next night for dinner. at dinner time, we were serving the chili. there was enough for everyone to have a bowl, with one bowl extra for Matt’s lunch the following day (leftovers are the best lunch, and you don’t have to buy anything additional, so please don’t suggest that it should be any other way).
my son immediately poured hot sauce on his, because he likes things spicy, and has always been this way. many times, we have caught him drinking hot sauce out of the bottle, or just licking spices out of the palm of his hand. that’s his thing, far be it for me to take it away from him.
unfortunately, he didn’t realize there was fuzzy white mold in the top of the bottle (we have a billion hot sauces, so some of them sit around awhile) and it all ended up in his bowl of chili.
NOW….
i’m the kind of mother who will never ever watch their child go without dinner. if they don’t wake up in time for breakfast, that’s their problem. if they are too self-absorbed to skip lunch, that’s their choice. but dinner is mandatory. i don’t let them go to bed hungry. so, of course, i gave my son my bowl of chili, meaning i would go without.
without. without tasting that delicious chili i had spent so much time perfecting. without getting full off the rich sauce and spicy proteins. without farting right alongside the rest of my family all evening.
i didn’t think twice about this, you see, because it’s not natural for me to think about myself before my kids. but i did get mad at my son for wasting food, by not paying attention to what he was putting into it.
i may have yelled.
i may have made him feel bad.
but i wasn’t mean.
and i ate ramen (insert disgusted emoji). normally, i would say “yay, ramen” but this was the crap from the package. so no, no “yay, ramen” today. if you’re wondering, it was just as vile as you think it was. probably more.
and later, i felt like a dick for making him feel bad. was there a lesson to be learned there? i mean, what are the chances that there will be mold in the hot sauce? probably not very high. it was an oversight. it was an action he normally takes, only this time, he got different results. was he at fault? i would say no. but he should pay attention. i could have been nicer.
i was really just mad about the chili. i wanted that chili. but not enough to make him eat the ramen. that would have sent me over the edge, because then i would have been obsessing over the sodium and lack of nutrients, and the chili would rot in the pit of guilt in my stomach.
this entire weird interaction took place in a matter of seconds, and i beat myself up about it all night. what is wrong with me???

-jg

The Eye of the Beholder

I saw a friend recently, who I hadn’t seen in a very long time. She had gained some weight, and looked better than I had ever seen her in years. She looked healthy and happy and grown up, and like she had her shit together. She was glowing, and smiling, and there were no bags under her eyes, and her hair was shiny, and I just thought she was so content with herself.
But it’s socially unacceptable to comment on someone’s weight gain, so I couldn’t even pay her that compliment.
Why do we find it okay to delight in someone’s weight LOSS, but taboo to mention their gain? I have another friend who would look much better with some more meat on their bones, but more importantly, they would be much healthier, and for whatever reason, they are tiny. They can’t gain weight, even though they want to. And you know what? I constantly hear people complimenting them on how good they look. It drives them crazy.
Another friend is considered “obese” but is happy, gorgeous, and healthy as a horse. Her family is always asking about her dieting, even though she eats like everyone else, and never mentions dieting or weight loss.
We get so fixated on other people’s body type, that we let our own discomfort about their body take priority over their comfort and preference.
I wish my friend could hear some positive reinforcement about her health. How do we approach conversation that goes against our social norms?

-jg

“How Are You?” “Hi.”

Sometimes, people ask me how I’m doing, or how I’ve been, and I find myself automatically going for “Shitty,” as a response. Because life is shitty quite often, and I don’t like to sugarcoat things.
If I catch myself being that pessimist, I *can* cut it off, but then it just sounds like I’m telling the person to “Shhh-” which also works.
Life is busy and hectic and stressful, and it’s great to have so much to live for, but when your body wants you to just sit the fuck down, sometimes you need to.
And sometimes you can’t, so when someone asks how you’re doing, what do you say?
“I’m tired.”
Well everyone’s tired.
“I’ve been feeling the pressures of life wearing down on me.”
Yeah, we all have problems, no?
“Oh, things could be better.”
No shit. Can’t they always?
“I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had time to fart.”
Oh tell me about it, here’s everything I’ve been doing in my life….
Nobody wants to hear that things are shitty, but I’m not going to lie. Sometimes things are just shitty. I could say things are hectic, but that is such an understatement so much of the time. I just say “Shitty, and I don’t really want to talk about it.” That way, if I do change my mind and decide to talk about it, it’s on my own terms, and not a reply to a complicated question. Chances are, upon evaluating what life has been like, I’m probably going to have a mini-nervous breakdown on the spot, so it may be best to just say “Pass.”

-jg