Stories I Won't Tell You

I won't tell you about the time in seventh grade that a male coach pulled me aside to tell me that my dress-code compliant shirt was causing the boys to stumble in their walk with God. I won't tell you about the time in eighth grade when I kissed a boy at a football game and the next week was asked if I needed guidance by a teacher who was "concerned" about my "promiscuity" because she'd heard I had sex on the baseball field. I won't tell you about how there are two ways to be a short, busty girl in America, and I went the route that showed more skin because being considered a slut is better than not being considered at all.

I won't tell you how I had a crush on a boy once who was cute and nerdy and kind of shy, and thirteen year old me would have given anything to have him even look my way and he never did, because the girl I sat next to in our shared class was tall and blonde and in the running to be Miss Teen Texas (but also one of the nicest people I ever met) or about the way I stopped talking to people about cars and comic books and video games because it was made very clear to me that I was Not Welcome.

I won't tell you about the time I dated a dude who referred to himself as an "alpha male" and made it clear that I was only third in his rotation because I wouldn't fuck him and he had other girls who would, but he liked my house and I liked his car, and he punched me in the face and burned my arm with my own hair dryer because I got "mouthy." I kicked him out and called his football coach and spent the next week telling everyone I got hit in a mosh pit and the next month flinching any time any guy raised his hands above my shoulders.

I won't tell you about the first time I got roofied, when I was fifteen and had realized that older guys paid attention to me when the ones my own age didn't, but before I realized that they paid attention to me because they were creepy and predatory and older girls avoided them. I went to a party with a "friend" who had already graduated high school, and I shouldn't have been drinking in the first place, but he put something in my drink and I'm still not quite sure how I got there but I woke up the next morning safe and sound at my best friend's house.

I won't tell you about the first time I gave a blowjob, which I didn't want to do, but went along with because I was sixteen and he was nineteen and that was how those things worked. The guy in question pushed my head down and held it there, and I kept my mouth open and waited for it to be over, and I didn't say no so it wasn't technically assault. I went home afterwards and cried myself to sleep, and the next morning had brunch with my mom and told her that my allergies must be acting up because my throat was so sore.

I won't tell you about not signing a purity pledge in high school, and being called up to stand in front of my peers and being told by a teacher that I was dirty, and sinful, and that I was going to hell for my sexual transgressions, even though I was still a virgin and half my classmates weren't.

I won't tell you about the second time I got roofied, out with some girlfriends during my first semester away from home, and how one of the boys on my hall found me and walked me back to my room, but how another girl we knew wasn't so lucky and was raped at that same party, and ended up transferring to another school.

I won't tell you about the guy I dated my sophomore year of college, who liked me well enough while I was in a major depressive state, but who accused me of being "vain and shallow and not at all what he thought" when I started coming back to myself and decided to wear makeup and real clothes again.

I won't tell you about my first and only real relationship, in which my boyfriend looked me in the eyes and told me I'd never be successful in my chosen career path and that I wasn't hot enough to be hired in the business world, so wasn't I lucky to have him, even though less than a month later he cheated on me with his boss, who apparently was hot enough.

I won't tell you about how this same boyfriend once put his fist through a wall instead of me, or how my first thought when he did was that I probably would have deserved it if he had hit me, because he had a lot on his plate and part of being in a relationship was being understanding when your partner lashed out.

I won't tell you about all the times male friends told me I "didn't count" as they sat around rating girls they'd hooked up with, or complaining about the bitches and whores who turned them down. I won't tell you about all the men I've dealt with who take a step back when I tell them what I studied or what I do. I won't tell you about all the men who have given me literal and figurative pats on the head and said, "That's nice, sweetheart," when they ask me what I want to do with my life and I tell them honestly.

I won't tell you about how often I've thought about killing myself, or the two times I almost went through with it.

I won't tell you that my life has been difficult, or that my experiences are in any way unique. It hasn't, and they aren't. Any woman anywhere could tell you any number of similar stories, and many of them would have far worse endings than mine.

I won't tell you that men have ruined my life, or that I'm afraid of them, because they haven't and I'm not. I won't tell you about the patriarchy, or why I need feminism. I won't tell you my take on Elliot Rodger's manifesto, even though I read the whole thing from beginning to end.

I will tell you this: People who share Elliot Rodger's mentality want to punish the world for inflicting misery on their existence. People who share mine want to punish themselves for inflicting the misery of their existence on the world.