As I sit in my room I’m day dreaming of walking the streets of my neighborhood without fear. Yes, that’s right. I’m actually afraid of walking around my block because as of yesterday at 9am, there are still men who grotesquely stare or catcall at me as I walk the block. And not in a kind, “Hello” type of way. It’s more of the either “I want to strip you down naked” or “Hey Mama” energy. I used to think that I was unintentionally inviting such behavior and that if I didn’t make eye contact it would stop. But it didn’t and it hasn’t so today I declare that I don’t like it and deserve human respect. Basically, I snapped out of it and began asking myself a few simple questions:
It’s not right that we are treating each other this way. Why is there so much negativity these days? Haven’t women been through enough?
As I type these words I’m realizing that maybe that’s just it. We are not looking at our current situation as a “we” type of affair. We’re going about life solo, looking for quick solutions and satisfaction points that only lead to one place: self entitlement. So, staring down an woman as she goes for a power walk is an action of authority, as in, “I’m watching you.” It’s intimidating and scary. I’m reminded of when I worked in NYC’s garment district at a high profile fashion house. We typically treated each other with respect but there were those days when if you showed up to work not looking on point then you might as well have not shown up at all. Let’s just say water cooler talk was politely vindictive and the worst was knowing that you too could be the topic of conversation one day.
Today, I write with a heart to say: stand up for your fellow woman and man. Be the person who is not afraid to stick up for your neighbor. Practice equality and question yourself when you feel the tides of narcissism flooding your conscious. Lend a helping hand to a stranger, like opening a door, or volunteer. And above all, be your beautiful self. The world is so much more dynamic and powerful with authentic energy floating around on any given day. Drop me a line and let me know how you are practicing equality and empowerment of yourself and others. I want to hear your story!
Illustration by @kimothyjoy