Friday, April 24, 2015

(Don't be an) Apologist 101...(TW: Rape, Sexual Assault)

I started a new job this week at a raw-vegan restaurant and it's been great! I've had to get back into the swing of being on my feet for hours straight, but it's been a welcome adjustment. The people I work with are stellar; they're super helpful and upbeat which helps when things get crazy. Yesterday it was just me and this other guy working (at the bar) the evening/closing shift and he was (nicely) grilling me on my music taste. Every song that'd play he'd ask me what I thought about that musician. As the night was wrapping up he asked me my thoughts on his favorite director...Woody Allen.

"The rapist?" I asked.

He said they're still on trial about that and I said that doesn't make someone less of a rapist. He said there wasn't enough evidence, again not less of a rapist. He asked if I'm gonna judge someone's body of art based off of something they may or may not have done, I said if they're a rapist then yes. I was aggravated at this point and tired and annoyed and disgusted that this guy is fighting so hard for this rapist, then he said something that triggered me. He said 'they were in a relationship.' At this point I shut the conversation down, "I'm not talking to you about his anymore!" And then I called him a rape apologist.

Flashes of my history with sexual assault came before my eyes; my face felt flush, my heart beat faster. I wanted to escape.

Here's the thing I couldn't stammer out last night: most assaults are by someone known to the victim. People tend to think of sexual assailants as random guys jumping out the bushes, but for most that's not the case. Also, even within relationships there must always be consent. A 'no' is a 'no' in every context/stage of a relationship. An enthusiastic 'yes' must be present.

My coworker went from being just some guy I work with, to a rape apologist who's now unsafe to me.

People tend to have a very narrow idea about what constitutes as sexual assault; it's not just rape which means it's more common than realized. This guy thought/thinks that since they (Woody Allen and his victim) were dating/in a relationship that everything was permissible, that there were no boundaries, that consent was a given. Consent is never a given; both parties must be on board at the same time and consent can start and stop at any given point.

So here's how to not be that guy/gal:
1) Don't defend sexual assailants
2) Don't joke about sexual assault
3) Don't be a sexual assailant
4) ALWAYS get an enthusiastic 'yes' when being intimate with someone (if they say 'no' in the middle of something, then you fucking stop)
5) Don't call victims of sexual assault liars


Now go forth and don't be a fucking rapist.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Adulthood=Bullshit

Yeeeeeaaaaa, I'm calling bullshit on adulthood. This is my tenth year as an adult and it just gets more absurd, even downright juvenile at times.

As a child I figured that by the time I was an adult I'll have figured out what to do (how to handle) in every situation. But that's impossible, there are plenty of instances, as an adult, that one can't possibly anticipate as a child. As a child, your people interactions are limited to school, family, and extracurriculars; but as an adult everything broadens thus broadening the types of interactions you have with people. And about these people: they don't know what the fuck they're doing. No one does. I have never been the age I am at this exact moment, so I don't know how to be this age. I'm just playing it all by ear. We're all just playing it all by ear as much as we'd like to protest that notion.

I love life and the experiences I have within it. I love life so much that I want to share it with other people. Doing life with people is my absolute favorite, but the thing that brings me so much joy also brings me so much confusion and heartache. I get it, we don't fucking know what we're doing as far as 'how to life', but sometimes (oftentimes) that messes up the flow of other people's life. While I'd like to believe that everyone is concerned and considerate of the impact they have on others' lives, that sentiment is constantly debunked. At least it is in my life. (I think I can be too naive with opening my heart and life to people. I'm often 'all in', so loyal, so sincere, so giving and that doesn't guarantee equal levels of reciprocity. That hurts.)

Some people use others for their enjoyment. Explicitly or inadvertently. Some people are really mean. Some people lack basic empathy. Some people are so focused on 'getting mine' they just couldn't give less shits about anyone else. Some people don't know how fucked up they are. Some are convinced that it's always someone else who's the problem and not them. Some people are just hot messes. Some people are just a cluster-fuck. 

Truth be told, we're all at least one of those above people once in our lives. So I try not to hold that against someone when they're being an asshole; I try to think 'they're going through the stage in life in which they give zero fucks about the way they treat other people, this time will pass and they will grow from it.' As I typed that, it felt stupid and ingenuous, but I like to think of it as optimistic. The problem is we don't know how long those above 'phases' last; a few weeks? a lifetime? That's the complicated part for me; do I say something or just ride it out?

I feel like I'm rambling so let me land this puppy: We're all fuck ups at one point. We will all hurt someone we care about. We will all be too selfish to even consider others. We will all...But within each of us is the capacity to love with the freedom and sincerity of a child. All we need to do is admit we don't know what we're doing and call bullshit on adulthood.