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Big Bad Fear!

November 13, 2010

Childhood Memories

My mother was going through some of her old papers the other day and she found this drawing that I made when I was a little girl. I don’t remember drawing this, I must have been six or seven years old when I did, but I do remember the event that I tried to capture.

I was in kindergarden when we moved into a new house. The four of us (my parents, my brother and I), as a family, only lived there for a short period of time before my parents separated. I have very few memories of that time. I do, however, remember waking up one night and finding a strange man standing at the end of my bed. He wore a long coat and a brown fedora. He held a pack of matched in his hands and told me he was going to burn the house down.

I ran to my parents room to tell them about the strange man who clearly had it out for me, but they assured me that it was just a dream. I spent the rest of the night in the warm confines of their tight embrace. Snug as a bug between my Mom and my Dad.

I all but forgot my adventure of the night before when the next morning my Dad and I walked downstairs to find our front door wide open.

Did I dream it? Probably. Does it feel like it really happened? Yes sir.

What does this all mean? Who knows…

Freud would probably have a field day with this one.

One thing for sure, it smells a lot like fear.

OLGA: "Oh!" STRANGE MAN: "I am going to kill you."

OLGA knocking at her parents bedroom door.

MOM: "Who is it, Honey?" DAD: "It's Olga."

OLGA: "I'm afraid."

A Tangent That Smells a Lot Like a Rant

Ah yes, fear. A feeling as old as time.

I’m so fucking sick of fear.

I don’t watch the news because it’s just one big fear machine that distorts everyone’s hold on reality. It’s all so much bullshit.

Fuck fear.

Pretty much every person that identifies or has been socialized as a woman is taught to be afraid from the moment they are born. This fear of the strange man in our bedroom is instilled in us from a very young age and affects so many areas of our lives.

It regulates the times of the day when I walk alone or in what parts of the city. It regulates what I wear, what I carry with me and how I carry myself. I like to pat myself on the back and say that I don’t let fear change the way I live my life, that I say a big “fuck it” to the world at large and walk by myself when I want and that I don’t let fear interfere, but that would be an arrogant lie. Sure, I’ll take the walk by myself in the middle of the night, but I’ll most likely carry something with me for protection, I’ll walk fast and without making eye contact. For what? All in an effort to protect myself from rape, from assault. All things that are beyond my control.

Fear has done nothing to protect me. Nothing.

Fear is a weapon used against me.

Fuck you and fuck your fear.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2010 3:47 am

    Read this last night. Again this morning.


  2. November 14, 2010 9:19 am

    I just woke up so this might sound incoherent but I have to say that sometimes I almost get mad at men for behaving a certain way at night or in tense situations. Allow me to explain:

    I’m walking home alone, late at night after partying. Walking down my street, in the opposite direction, is a man. It’s cold out so he’s wearing a hood and he’s walking briskly, purposefully. I start to get anxious. We cross paths and as he passes me, I inevitably breathe a sigh of relief. Or perhaps he’s walking behind me, in the same direction. I can see his shadow encroach on my space through the lamplight. I always, always look behind me to see what he might look like and I either cross the street to avoid him, walk faster to get away from him, or slow down so he finally passes me. When nothing of importance happens and our paths diverge, my heart is still beating furiously.

    This is when I get pissed off.

    And I don’t mean railing against the patriarchy or notions of violence against women. I don’t mean angry like in a change-the-world sort of way or angry that I have little arms and small legs, and a slender frame with a vagina that according to some might be “asking for it” cuz my skirt’s a little too short. No, my rage isn’t even close being so philosophical or noble. It’s more like, Dude, I am a fucking girl, I know that you noticed this, don’t you get that it’s scary when you walk behind me at night? So can you fucking courteously get the fuck out of my way or not walk anywhere near me or briskly or with a hat or a hood or anywhere in my goddamn vicinity, you fucking asshole? I rather wish to say that, men, I judge you because you are men and you have penises and these things can scare me at night so I actually want to put the onus on you to avoid me so I don’t have to freak out, even if you’re, like, this super nice guy who volunteers at the animal shelter and attends your sister’s support group meetings for assault survivors. I don’t know that so at night, I judge you. Hell, I’m sure my boyfriend is that guy to some girl some nights because it could be any guy, for no fault of his own, other than happening to be going in the same direction as a woman in the dark.

    I fucking hate that.

    P.S. I’ve totally had that dream. More than once.

  3. November 15, 2010 3:11 pm

    My parents split up around the same age. and I used to have terrible nightmares. sisters under the skin it seems!

    Bon courage ma petite! xxx

  4. November 16, 2010 2:27 pm

    @ Quiet Riot Girl: When I was staying at my Dad’s and I would call my Mom’s and she wouldn’t answer the phone I would imagine that someone had broken into our house and murdered her. I’d see her and my brother lying a blood of their own blood, slowly dying and unable to reach the phone. I would get pretty worried that they would die because I wasn’t there to take care of them.

  5. November 16, 2010 2:56 pm

    @ L: Night time joggers are the worst. When you’re walking alone at night hearing someone run up behind you is pretty darn nerve attack inducing. Their gender doesn’t matter either. They’re behind you, it could be an 80 year old women that looks and behaves likes Ms Clause and it’s still sort of frightening. I’m sure I’ve frightened people by walking behind them at night. It’s not something you think about. And it’s not necessarily something you should have to think about either, but we live in such a fear driven society it’s hard not to. Fear and health, it’s like to only two things that drives people. The news, talk shows like Oprah, Dr.Oz and the like are all part of the problem. I hate it so damn much. I really want to read this new book (released sometimes in November) “Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality”.

  6. November 16, 2010 2:57 pm

    @Brian: Thanks for the support.

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