So, you've never been in love? You write those beautiful poems about love, but you've never experienced it yourself? How do you feel about that? Don't you want to know love? Don't you want to feel the butterflies, the pain, the joy... feel life?
Love is not life. I am very much alive. I have felt pain and joy and I have been as close to another human being as I could possibly be without being in love with them. I am growing differently than the people around me. I am not afraid, but I am also not ready. There are things I need to do, and I can’t keep worrying about when it’s gonna happen for me. I can’t keep obsessing over it. I want to be useful and important. I don’t want to look back and think that my life before this person was just wasted time.
When I was a teenager, I was very critical of feminism too. I was a white girl, about to grow up into a world of white privilege, and I didn’t see the point. Then, the workplace discrimination started happening, then the sexual harassment, then the assaults, then the catcalls, then the condescension from men who weren’t as smart or accomplished as me, the sports coach who was too friendly, the male mentor with other intentions, the drunk male friend who won’t leave the room after the party so you can sleep, the car horns blaring, the groping: it all started happening at about the age of fifteen. I started realising that there was a large portion of the population to whom I was as good as chattel: I was an object to be acted upon.
I also started realising that I’ve been a female misogynist my whole life, and had a lot of unlearning to do too. Change starts with eliminating the noxious parts of yourself you have internalised during socialisation in a misogynistic culture. Feminism isn’t just about stopping the abuse of women by men, it’s about stopping the abuse we do to ourselves and others by genuinely beginning to believe we deserve to be treated as less than human.