I Need Forgiveness (For Being Such A Bad Feminist)

January 23, 2017

I know, I know, I know, that’s sort of, kind of a ridiculous thing to say, I guess. Or whatever. I have healthy moments where I think that kind of talk seems ridiculous.

But I also really feel it on a deep level – that I feel like I need forgiveness.

Originally, I was just going to title this post something like “forgiveness.” And I was going to talk about how I feel like all the time I’m in the, “wait! Don’y pile on them camp!” when a celebrity has a scandal, how I am sometimes even too forgiving. And then I was going to say something like, “So, how can I forgive… me?” (with the expectation thinking that you’re gonna think I’m gonna be talking about forgiving him, but then surprise – it’s about forgiving me).

But I have real posts about that. I don’t need to take you on a weird journey in this one for no reason.

I saw all these badass people at the women’s march. So many of them seem so strong. And like, who am I? And what am I doing – and what am I doing for women?

I feel like a person who let women down. Sure, I know to “sit at the table,” and the stuff in public or at work from Sheryl Sandberg’s book (et al). But what about in private? I let a man walk all over me, intimidate me… I let the whole mess of what happened happen. And how is that good for women? that let’s him know that he can keep treating women like that. It sets a terrible precedent. And he’s now assaulted two women and hasn’t had charges pressed against him. And I’m one of the people who was unable to press charges. And now he might do this to another woman and I didn’t stop it. I tried. And I failed. And I didn’t know how. And had I done things differently, things might have been different.

And I know, I know, I know, I know. We don’t blame victims of abuse. I know. I believe that with my whole being. And yet, I still argue about myself for some reason. “But, but, but… Why did I fall for it? Why did I get in that situation?” Like, “Sure, we don’t blame other victims of abuse, but me I’m different.” And why is that? Do I think I’m inherently smarter or stronger or whatever-er than other women that they shouldn’t know better, but I should? ‘Cause that doesn’t sound very feminist of me at all.

I don’t know. I just know that I feel like I should’ve better. I should be a better, stronger woman. And I work to be that in my professional life, as best as I can. And I never really thought of my personal life as an extension of all that.. I never thought about what kind of person I’d be with to “be a good feminist,” or what kind of behavior I’d put up with or I wouldn’t to be that “strong woman,” or whatever. I just thought, “Well, it’s so different if it’s private.” But I’m not two different people. And I shouldn’t be. The base level of respect I expect from strangers and coworkers and such should be what I demand from someone I’m with.

If I let somebody treat me like crap at home, then how do I actually think things are gonna change in the world in general, or at work, etc.? If I let a man think it’s okay to be this condescending, intimidating, abusive awful person toward me, how do I think that doesn’t carry over at all to other women in his life?

I guess things are just potentially more connected than I thought they were. And I always viewed sex and romantic relationships as basically totally cut off from “who I am”… But I don’t think that’s how it works. And I only just now have felt that I could harm other people by allowing someone to treat me like that. [And I know you never really “allow” it. If someone abuses you, that’s not you allowing it. That’s just them doing it. But I allowed all the red flags. And I feel guilty!]

And it made me feel like I didn’t belong at the women’s march – like I held this shame of being part of the problem by not being a “strong enough” woman. And I know! If I heard someone talking about an abuse victim the way I’m talking about myself, I’d be like, “How dare you?!”

And I’m getting help, and I’m learning a lot. But it doesn’t change that I hurt. And I really felt like a fraud. And I feel like I need forgiveness. I don’t know from whom, or how to get it. Maybe it’s a matter of being a “better feminist” now, including being better to myself – of moving forward and being better.

But I dunno. It didn’t feel good. And this kinda felt like my first chance to write about it since the march. So, here we are.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?