The year is 2018, but for some reason I still feel as if I’m trapped in 1918. I am a woman working three jobs and pursuing my master’s degree on a track towards my Ph.D.; and yet for my family, somehow that still isn’t good enough. When I go home I am hit with a barrage of questions: “When are you going to stop and settle down? Men don’t like it if you are too smart, you know.” “You are not going to be able to have children forever you know, the clock is ticking!”
“Aren’t you dating? I know some really nice boys your age who would be perfect and could take care of you.” Regardless of intention, regardless of whether they believe these things are what is best for me, it makes it incredibly difficult to have a strong connection with my family when it feels as if they don’t understand me at all. These questions and ones like them go on and on, as if to say that the only way to be accepted as having any semblance of self worth is through finding a husband and having child and not due to my…
I recall the first time a guy thought he had some unspoken right to my body, as he tried to force me into bed with him. I was able to get out of the situation before it escalated, but that moment haunted me for years. I was angry with him, but my anger did not come close to the shame I felt. I blamed myself, though the situation was entirely out of my control. I did not tell anyone about it for almost eight years
Instead, I let the shadows of shame creep in and set up residence. I began to have anxiety attacks and found myself struggling with an eating disorder and body shame. Why did I feel as if this thing that had been done to me was my fault?
It would take years for me to confidently answer this question; to find empowerment in my story and in other women’s stories. On the Subject of Empowerment I assume, by now, everyone is aware of the controversial performance by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira at the Super Bowl halftime show. I was not watching the night of the game, but a quick…
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