I Deserve Respect

Picture of the author, blurry, dancing

I have been wracking my brain to figure out why I ever start drinking in the first place. It’s partially due to a desire for respect.

I have always been harshly treated and judged for being a woman who is outspoken about her ideas. My entire life I’ve experienced ostracizing and aggression from people who didn’t like that a girl who looked so sweet could be so opinionated.

I am a cis woman. I enjoy immense privilege from my whiteness. I have the kind of face kids adore and adults trust. I see the best in others. I believe in forgiveness and I always try to give others emotional autonomy. Yet, no matter what I do in my life, my outspoken opinions, even though they’re not so often stated these days (blame it on the exhaustion of screaming into the abyss), always piss a certain kind of person off.

And because I am genuinely very nice and am not great with setting boundaries for myself, they think it’s perfectly fine to flex their domineering egos at me. After all, “what could that little girl possibly do about it?” It’s very much a “know your place” kind of thing that I am so over. People are cowards until a sweet girl stands up to them.

Then another kind of person inevitably gets involved. The rubbernecked jokester. The guy who thinks he’s lightening the mood by cracking a joke. But it’s always aimed at me. “Let’s sit and watch the little girl throw a tantrum. Wow she’s so loud.”

Most men do not understand this experience. To be called loud instead of well spoken. To be called bossy instead of in charge. To be called stubborn instead of tenacious. To be called controlling instead of invested.

Nothing can ever be a discussion, because people are always falling over themselves to one up me. It is because they do not respect me. I am not seen as their equal. They don’t like that I’m taking up space and challenging their comfort zones.

They’re right and I’m wrong and it’s funny to watch me try and talk about it. It’s always that I’m picking a fight, when all I want to do is have a productive conversation. THIS SHIT IS EXHAUSTING!

Then add on the experience of being an empath with mental illness. I do become deeply affected by the things I invest myself into. And I experience high anxiety when it feels like a fight could occur or when it gets loud (thanks PTSD).

Add CPTSD in there, and I fundamentally want to be adaptable as fuck. But there is this part of me, a part I love, that knows when something isn’t fair and inclusive and needs to express that. A part of me that is outspoken and idealistic.

So, they like that I care so much, and they want to get a rise out of me. People have been doing that to me since elementary school.

Throw in depression, and when something that should be a discussion turns into a heated argument with vitriol thrown my way, and I’m all set up for a trip down a negative mental health spiral.

I care. I want to be an advocate. I love speaking up. I like expressing my truest self. But society is hella good at keeping someone like me quiet. The ridicule and contention can be too much to handle.

I deserve respect and I deserve the dignity to talk about my perspective without some cowardly creep deciding he’s going to fake flex his alpha prowess and scare me into submission.

The truth is: You can probably make me feel bad. You can probably succeed in making me cry or have an anxiety attack. I might be incapacitated by it. But I’ll pull through, I always do. And I’ll be back to say it again and again and again.

November 30, 2019

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  1. Chosura on December 1, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    And I do hope you keep DOing it! Speaking out! 🙂

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