Yesterday I was talking with a relatively new, but trustworthy, friend and as we warred and raged against the Patriarchy, we compared experiences of assault. She told me of how she used to be very trusting and of her perfect size 8 that disappeared after her assault (along with her very trusting nature) as she put on a great deal of weight. She recounted how she seemed to breathe a sigh of relief, though, upon reaching that weight as she no longer was the object of stares, no one felt the need to hold doors open for her, no men followed her into stores or catcalled as she walked down the street. For her, it seemed that the weight she put on translated to safety. For her,that weight was It.
In simple terms, It is the aftermath of assault. It is a shape shifter. It takes many forms from over-eating to under-eating to a wide variety of obsessions and/or compulsions to constant men-bashing to that extra push needed to shift sexual orientation to who knows what else. Surely, the list seems endless. As I previously discussed, while It can take positive incarnations (renewed sense of self, confrontation of the Patriarchy, reaching out to others who have had similar experiences, etc.), I think the more negative manifestations of It are more probable, more frequent, and certainly understandable.
When I told her my experience took place only a matter of weeks ago, she commended me on how well I seemed to be doing. I thanked her and explained I had an excellent support system. She warned me, though, that whether It comes 10 minutes from that point of time or 10 yrs, It was going to happen. It was coming. Her warning carried a sense of foreboding, and I began imagining what form It could take for me. It would not take the form of any kind of eating problems. I’ve already dealt with that in my past. It would not take the form of any kind of obsessions or compulsions as far as I could see. Even after this happening, that just didn’t seem to fit for me. All those things, while I can understand them and the reasons they happen, have to do with me. And this is not about me. So what form has It begun to take?
It is me questioning what it truly means to be a woman. It is some serious concerns about dating from this point on. More than anything else, though, this is about Them. Not me. For this reason, above all else, It is my newly declared war against the Patriarchy. They are the ones at fault, and I will scream this for the rest of my life at the top of my lungs. Finding the source of the problem in this case is not a further victimization of myself or women in general (which would not be helpful in the long term). Instead, it is a means of empowerment.