I stare back at everyone now.
If you lock your eyes on me in a public place, I don’t look away anymore.
I used to look away.
We all know how it is, when you’re a woman in a public place. Men stare at you. We tend to look back briefly, then look away. Sometimes we check back (it feels weird to have someone staring at you) and then we look away again, while they keep staring at us. Sometimes it’s women staring, but, mostly, it’s men.
I gave up that game this month.
You stare? I stare back. My eyes don’t move.
There is no apology in my bearing. I am here and this is my world as much as it is anyone else’s.
I’m happy to share it with everyone. Just don’t glare at me like you own it and I’m merely a poor servant girl who is lucky to live in it. Those days are way over,
Maybe it’s the current state of our society. Maybe some switch has been flipped. Maybe this long-overdue reckoning of the harassment of women in the workplace triggered something in me that won’t go back. Maybe it triggered something in all of us.
Rupi Kaur wrote:
there are mountains growing
beneath our feet
that cannot be contained
all we’ve endured
has prepared us for this.
I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know this: the air smells different lately.
Like a big breeze blew open the back door and the sunshine is now hot and heavy on everyone but it feels good, even as we know it could burn us all if we’re not careful.
And so many of us would rather burn than ever return to that dark winter.