HOLLA ON THE GO: “Caught in a self-shaming spiral”
Keep your cool. Don’t let it get to you. Maybe my shorts are too short? Why am I letting this get to me? Is this my fault?
I am walking home today. The sun is glaring down and I am solely focused on crossing the street to my apartment two blocks away. A car whizzes by just as I’m about to reach safety on the other side of the crosswalk. “Let me honk that ass.” The phantom voice exists for only five seconds — full of disregard, degradation, disrespect.
I am disgusted. I immediately tell myself it’s not my fault. But then find myself uncontrollably catching my reflection in windows I pass with shaming thoughts, “Should I not wear these shorts anymore?”
I hate that I’m left with the fall-out of someone else’s contempt for decency. I’m alone in fighting for respect. I don’t have power in this interaction.
The last time this happened was about two weeks prior. I was biking. I hear a whistle from the sidewalk and my anger instinct kicks kick in “Fuck you!” I shout in his direction. His response to me: “Bitch!”
Recounting this interaction to my boyfriend, hoping to receive some comfort, he scorns me for acting with anger. “You’ll get raped standing up for yourself like that.”
I’m at a loss right now. I’m in some hypothetical danger if I do respond; caught in a self-shaming spiral if I don’t respond.