Friday, January 15, 2016

An Open Letter to Young Women

I am tired of seeing smart, capable, independent women being sucked into the void of our patriarchal society. I am tired of rape statistics never going down and modern "liberated" women still afraid and ashamed to speak up. It is time for us, the older women, to speak up and teach the younger generations the really important life lessons. We can no longer wait around for society to change or for men to say "no, please stop catering to our every need." Yeah right! I don't have daughters but I do have nieces, younger family members, and younger girlfriends. I have definitely learned these lessons the hard way and I want my loved ones to learn from my mistakes...otherwise why the hell did I make them?

Lesson #1: Rape is rape, and it still happens, all the time, to strong women. There are extreme, violent forms of rape, and then there is date rape. Date rape is when someone you trust, sometimes even a friend, takes advantage of you. You may kiss them, flirt, or laugh at their jokes, but sex is not on the menu. This often happens when females are intoxicated and alone. Do not trust anyone when you are drunk! Make sure you have a good friend to call or, better yet, to lock arms with the whole night. Ideally, do not become intoxicated in the first place. If you are passed out and someone had sex with is rape! Report them immediately, even if they are your friend. Even if it feels shameful or embarrassing, even if you were drinking under age. They need to be held responsible for their actions and it is not your fault. No need to feel as shamed because you weren't stronger. Talk to someone about this. Get counseling.

Lesson #2: Stop searching for "the one". Spoiler alert: he doesn't exist!!! Sorry to be so unromantic. I do realize that people still find someone and marry them for life, but the percentage is very low. And of those who do marry for life, the percentage of those who are happy is even lower. So stop focusing on finding someone to complete you. You are complete within yourself! Instead, find a passion in life and do that as often as possible. Learn to know and enjoy yourself. Love your aloneness and freedom. Then, perhaps someone will come along that will be your equal and share your love of life. Don't make your main goal to get married. Most of the "falling in love" feeling is simply biology. Hormones. Period. Don't be fooled. Learn to love yourself and more love will naturally flow into your life. And as for having kids...don't rush it! You have until you are 40 if you absolutely want your own and until you are even older if you want to adopt children who need homes. Do you first.

Lesson #3: To quote another wise woman friend "Don't put all your eggs in one man basket"!! I love this quote because we have all done this at one point(or more) on our journey. We find a man, fall in love, move in, and give up our entire previous existence for him. Drop our friends, lose our hobbies, cater to his needs, get on his schedule, combine phone bills. Then what happens: we break up and our entire life is destroyed. There we are, desperate and alone, our friends are gone, and we are stuck with a massive phone bill. ( not talking from experience here at all) I am not saying don't fall in love. I am saying stay in love with your life, your hobbies, your friends. Keep your goals as number one priority. And make sure the relationship is equal. Compromises will be made on both ends, not just yours. Keeping separate places is best in my opinion. Do not depend on a man!

Lesson #4: If there is any display of abuse, LEAVE! It will happen again, and again. Trust me. You can come up with every excuse in the planet. "He is stressed. I am difficult to handle. He is an addict." Blah blah. If he hits you, pushes you, puts you down often with words, or manipulates as fast as you fucking can. Do whatever it takes to get out. Seek a shelter, call a family member or friend. This is a perfect reason to abide by lesson #3 because it will be much easier to go. Even men you think are sweet can become abusive. Even if you have known them for years. Do not expect him to change. Go! Now!

We, as American women, have more freedom than any of our ancestors. Let's be grateful for the hard work of the previous generations and use these freedoms!! We have to stand together and say "enough is enough". We are the only ones who can put boundaries in place and not fall victims. It's beyond time.

***disclaimer: I am not a man hater. I have many good male friends. I have the utmost respect for my father. I have dated men of integrity and honor. I love my son. I am just stating my own hard-learned lessons so women can learn from my mistakes.

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