My response to the “I am not a feminist” internet phenomenon….
First of all, it’s clear you don’t know what feminism is. But I’m not going to explain it to you. You can google it. To quote an old friend, “I’m not the feminist babysitter.”
But here is what I think you should know.
You’re insulting every woman who was forcibly restrained in a jail cell with a feeding tube down her throat for your right to vote, less than 100 years ago.
You’re degrading every woman who has accessed a rape crisis center, which wouldn’t exist without the feminist movement.
You’re undermining every woman who fought to make marital rape a crime (it was legal until 1993).
You’re spitting on the legacy of every woman who fought for women to be allowed to own property (1848). For the abolition of slavery and the rise of the labor union. For the right to divorce. For women to be allowed to have access to birth control (Comstock laws). For middle and upper class women to be allowed to work outside the home (poor women have always worked outside the home). To make domestic violence a crime in the US (It is very much legal in many parts of the world). To make workplace sexual harassment a crime.
In short, you know not what you speak of. You reap the rewards of these women’s sacrifices every day of your life. When you grin with your cutsey sign about how you’re not a feminist, you ignorantly spit on the sacred struggle of the past 200 years. You bite the hand that has fed you freedom, safety, and a voice.
In short, kiss my ass, you ignorant little jerks.
I’ve fallen in love with you one hundred and thirty two times.
The first was at 2am, sheets sticking to our skin, sharing a pillow,
“tell me another secret”,
The twenty third time was on a highway four hundred miles later. You held my face, the sun with butterflies, the sky with pink. I felt the world spinning around its invisible axis, the solar system around its visible star, my heart dizzy from your gravity.
The seventy seventh time was when you came pouring out like a waterfall onto my toes. Give it all to me baby, the entire river, the flow and crash. I can take it. I can count so much higher.
The one hundred and tenth time was when you took it all away from me. Left my mouth gaping, a vacuum trying to suck you back in. I fell in love with you as you were leaving, fell in love with what I’d miss.
Fell in love with the face I kissed for the last time two days ago without knowing it.
The one hundred and twelfth time was in the mouth of another man calling me baby. “you’re mistaken, I was not born in you, I was born in blue eyes that are blinking somewhere else now”.
And shit, I fell in love with you just a moment ago, naked in your arms again, glutinous in how much of you I take, hoarding each moment I get in your arms, keeping them in the caves of my memory in case I’m forced to hibernate again.
I’ve known you for six hundred and something days, loved you in three hundred and something of them. Some days I spend worrying about finances and the state of the world, some days I spend locked in my room listening to Radiohead albums on repeat, some days I smoke too much and some days I sleep through to take a break from being awake. But some days I experience the in-between of miracles and magic. Some days I lose myself entirely, all because you exist. Some days you look at me and I forget my name. I fall in love over and over, again and again, adding another tally to the wall.
I’ve been alive for seven thousand and something days, most of which were mundane. Most of which were wasted. Some of which were spent falling in love with you, in your voice and in your fingertips, in your eyes and in your stride, in your presence and in your absence.
Over and over.
Again and again.
With infinite tallies on a wall.
And it isn’t that I’m so unhappy I don’t want to live anymore. That’s not what it feels like. It feels more like I’m tired and bored and the party’s gone on too long and I want to go home. I feel flat and there doesn’t seem to be anything to look forward to, so I’d rather call it a day.