all kinds of nervous, all kinds of strange.


today i was riding my bike wearing a skirt because it was hella hot out and if i put a skirt over my work pants, under the bridge where my bike is usually parked, i can shimmy out of my work pants without looking too crazy or pervy or naked in public, and i can ride my bike the 4.5 miles home without my crotch being a total swampy disaster about halfway through; i don’t have to arrive home bathed in sweat and feeling like i’m gonna collapse. you’ll note that i say this like i do it every day, when today was the first time actually. and i was riding, feeling kinda exposed because i’m riding in a skirt, and even though i do it in a way that no one can see my undies i’m worried that they can see my inner thighs & i don’t want to give the men of the world a cheap vicarious thrill when i’m just trying to commute on home after another week in office-land.
so i saw these three late-teen boys on the sidewalk of the bridge i need to ride over, i was gonna have to pass right by them on the narrow little pathway, they were gonna see me, they were gonna say something, or so i thought, so before i got anywhere near them i thought of what to do if they said or looked or did anything. i thought i would get off my bike, glare at them and say, “i just put a curse on you! if you ever say anything like that to a woman, EVER AGAIN, your balls will shrivel up and fall off!” i was feeling just deranged enough to be able to say that to them. of course, they didn’t say anything or look at me, and really i was glad.
there was a sudden thunderstorm on the way home, and i went from being sweaty and sunny to soaked to the bone in literally three minutes, i mean i was as wet as i would be if i have just jumped into a pool with all my clothes on, but i don’t want to talk about that now. i want to talk about how i was having a casual conversation with a co-worker, a hilarious 50-something working-class white lady, and she was telling me about how her daughter’s friend snuck up behind her as a joke and she punched him so hard she knocked him out, just on instinct. and then she said, almost casually, i was raped by two men, that’s why i’m like that, and the weird part is that it wasn’t a surprise at all, in fact i was thinking that she had probably been raped or attacked, because people don’t just have that gut-crushing fear out of nowhere, for no reason. i didn’t know how to respond to that, and then someone interrupted us & we didn’t bring it up again.
i was just at a bar for less than five minutes, karaoke night at my local gay dive bar, i had to leave. it was too crowded and too full of people, and even though almost all of the people there were either strangers or friends of mine, and i knew that it was unlikely that anything truly bad would happen, i was feeling so insecure, so unattractive and so gross, and it was too loud to talk and i feel like the only reason anyone likes me is because they like what i have to say, which is a good reason and i’m happy for it; but once nobody can hear what i have to say then what’s the point of my even being there. and my sweetheart looked sad when i said i had to go, and i felt bad for him, i really did, but there was no way i could stay there another second and not completely die inside. he doesn’t get the self-hatred, the fear, and the deep deep sadness, because the world has treated him very, very differently than it has me; he doesn’t see the minefields in a crowded bar. and currently i have 40 hours a week of social interactions that make me absolutely hate myself, and even just one more was too much. so i left, and here i am, and i feel like such a loser but there was absolutely nothing else to be done.


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