Sign at Women’s March 2019, Kuala Lumpur.
Taken from https://unsplash.com/photos/LXUR8IWa0i0
It’s the fact that…
It’s the fact that growing up I was repeatedly told “Don’t talk to strange men”, “Don’t walk home alone at night”, “Don’t take the same road from and to school”, “Don’t leave your drink out of your sight when you are out”, “Don’t walk alone with your headphones on” “Don’t…”, “Don’t…”, “Don’t…”
It’s the fact that when I do walk alone I always overthink it. I am always afraid, I see everyone as a threat. I think of all the possible escape routes or the ninja moves I’ll use to defend myself, I call my friends, I share my location, I put my keys around my fingers, I wear my trainers so I can run, I hide my hair under my hoodie, I cross the road so I won’t be catcalled, I am doing my best to be invisible.
It’s the fact that I have to do all this in the first place. Why do I have to do all this? Why?
It’s the fact that I can’t enjoy walking alone, especially at night, because I drown in anxiety, my heart beats out of my chest louder than the footsteps behind me. My palms sweat and my mouth dries.
It’s the fact that I have to feel like this in the first place. Why do I have to feel like this? Why?
It’s the fact that I know there is an invisible fear lurking around the corner, just a thread away from becoming a reality.
It’s the fact that if my fear leaves its corner I will be blamed for it. “What were you wearing?”, “How much did you drink?”, “Why were you walking alone?” … “Oh honey, it happens all the time.”
It’s the fact that society always tells me how to dress, how much I am allowed to drink, how and where to walk, how to behave in public, how to have fun…how to exist.
It’s the fact that just like that my freedom is being taken away from me.
It’s the fact that I sometimes wonder if I could ever be free. Am I free? Is any woman ever, really free?
It’s the fact that I feel defeated.
And I am sick of it…