Dear Roy,

You don't know me and I don't really know you.

I only know what I've read about you over the last couple of weeks. So yeah, pour yourself a drink.

and wipe that fucking smile off your face
roy "old dirty bastard" moore
roy "i keep getting older but they stay the same age as when i was still taking geography classes" moore
roy "your face makes me need a shower" moore

You were 32 and she was 14, that's one thing I know about you.

You approached her while she was sitting with her mom on a bench outside the courthouse where you were a judge, that's another thing.

You told her mom to go on inside and deal with her custody hearing, that her daughter didn't need to hear any of that business, that you'd hang out with her daughter. The implication being that you'd keep her safe. That the business you'd be giving to her was somehow more age-appropriate than listening to a custody hearing.

That's a thing.

That's an interesting fucking thing. For a man who claims he didn't think anything was wrong with propositioning a child. If nothing was wrong with asking her out why didn't you do it front of her fucking mom, Your Honor?

But okay, woah. We're getting ahead of ourselves.

I saw the picture of her in the Washington Post. She was pretty, and oh boy, I know that most men assume that the youngest age pretty girls come in is "legal."

I wasn't as pretty as she was when I was 14, but I was okay. And since I have you here, I want to give you just a few moments behind the curtain so you can understand what it's like to be a passably attractive 14-year-old girl.

1. When I was 14 I was a freshman in high school. 

I'd had a boyfriend for eight months, which is basically a fifty-year marriage in middle/high school time.

My mom would drop us off at the mall. One time we made out while "The Wedding Singer" played on the big screen. When the last ballad started and we wound our fingers together and I cried a little when Adam Sandler sang, "I wanna grow old with you." He wiped my tears away. Shut up, it was incredibly sweet and still reminds me why I loved him. We were 14.

He'd always been tall and skinny, but over the summer between eighth and ninth grade he got shoulders and a good haircut and suddenly he was visible to all the girls. I was on the taller side too, and in the line between childhood and adulthood, where my body wasn't soft like a child's anymore, but soft like a young woman's. My softness migrated from my cheeks into my chest, and from my belly onto my butt, and hey, even though I was awkward and bookish and sweet Christ those bifocals, I was also suddenly, undeniably female.

I broke up with him when I heard a rumor that he'd gone skinny-dipping with another girl in the class, at a party I wasn't allowed to go to because her parents hadn't been home. I hadn't even been asked.

It wasn't betrayal that made me end it; it was embarrassment. I'd never skinny-dipped with him, had only seen him naked when I dared to open my eyes for a split second, like a reverse blink. And if I'd had the chance I'm not sure I would have done it, anyway. I was inexperienced and terrified of being bad at sex. But I also understood that I was in high school now and that skinny-dipping with my tall, cute boyfriend was mandatory. If I wanted to keep him.

This is what happens in the heads of 14-year-old girls:

We're scared and curious about the sex that we're beginning to understand is required that we perform but not enjoy. We want, for the first time, really, to be great at sex. We want to be irresistible and powerful. We want to be sirens. We want to be fortresses. We want to draw men to us, but not into us. We want the power to turn ourselves invisible when they get too close.

2. When I was 14 I broke up with that boyfriend and started taking diet pills. 

My friend's older brother who, when I was 15, would tell me that if he'd known what I looked like without a shirt on he would have put something in my drink to make me comfortable, bought the pills for her and she passed them to me. They made my head feel light and buzzy, and made my pants hang low on my hips, and made me feel like I was hurting myself, which felt like the thing everyone was doing. I felt tough and smart because I was hurting myself alone, instead of inviting someone else to do it for me.

3. When I was 14 and taking diet pills I went to the mall with a boy that I kind of liked because I thought he liked me. 

By the end of the day we were holding hands and I was drunk on the way he looked at me, as if I mesmerized him, and in the parking lot stairwell, against the wall, he whispered in my ear, "I bet you like it rough." I coughed out a laugh. Was I supposed to know what I liked? Was he about to spank me or slap me? I smiled at him, afraid and thrilled, and said, in a voice that I'd heard on cable TV, "Only one way to find out." 

Just then my mom pulled up (shout out, Dodge Grand Caravan!) and she honked. So we never really found out. I was so happy that my mom was there; no way was I ever going to be cooler than the time I said, "Only one way to find out."

4. When I was 14 and quoting cable TV in mall parking lots, I fell in love with an older guy. 

He rarely looked at me and barely spoke to me but every time I passed him in the hall I felt a wave rise up in my belly.

He was 16. He didn't even see me. He never uncovered me. I loved that about him.

Besides, I felt certain there was nothing to me but early boobs and a tendency to go out-of-body. I told my friends, "I don't have a personality. I don't think I'm anyone."

5. When I was 14 and in love with an older (16-year-old) guy, I went for a run in shorts and a tank top. 

From my neighborhood to my high school and back was 3 miles. I wanted to be honked at. I was honked at.

Do you understand why, Roy? I need you to understand why.

Do you understand that I wanted to be honked at not because it was good for me, but because it was bad for me? It doesn't make sense, does it? How I was drawn to hunger? How young women submerge themselves in harm, inch by inch? The thing is, you don't see the crowd around the pool, everyone nudging us closer to the edge, the water full of bodies who scream that they're in ecstasy. The water feels too cold or too hot and we scream too. Everyone says good, it's supposed to be that way. We go in another inch.

This is what I want you to understand, Roy.

You might not be able to tell if she's 14 or 18. You might not care. But even if Mary the mother of Christ was 14 when she birthed the savior in a fucking barn in Bethlehem, when I was 14 I was a bag in the merciless wind, praying for something to stop my careening flight. Even though I was round in pleasing ways and might have known how to talk like a woman, I was a child.

It's fucking science.

The difference between a young teenage girl and a middle-aged man (you were fucking middle-aged, dude, and so am I now, so I can totally say that) is more than the number of candles on your cake.

A girl on the cusp is trying to understand how to leverage her value in such a way that she can remain both socially valuable and physically safe.



Her value is in the pleasure she can provide; how much can she provide without getting hurt? The only way to find out is to go too far.

I was honked at.

And then I was followed.

And that's where you came in, Roy.

I'm sure these girls were curious and maybe even excited to get your attention. I would have been.

An older man? A judge? I must be something. I might even be something more than a caterer who serves sex without ever tasting it, who comes home with it on her hands and clothes but never in her belly. I would have been interested, scared, excited, tearful... I would have been fucking 14 about it.

Young girls are trying to figure out how much they are worth in a world that tells them they are worth exactly how many men want to fuck them and how badly, and in the next breath tells them that only whores fuck in currency.

I don't know you, Roy, but I fucking know you. You're the guy who followed me on my run. You're the guy who blew me a kiss at the gas station when my mom wasn't looking. You weren't scared, which makes you the monster here.

You aren't the guy who meets me at the mall, whose hands shake as he wipes away my tears while we watch a romantic comedy whose soundtrack we decide is "ours" from that day forward. We weren't perfect together but at least we were both scared and excited and lost and in love together. You were just an old man looking for a little girl.

Why is it that old men always feel certain they belong with little girls? Do you think that the list of things little girls like is:

- Ponies
- Lip gloss
- Old balls

Have you already gone blind, you baggy-eyed weasel?

Do you think you're, like, Mark Harmon with greying temples and whiff of bangability?

i
mean

"In 1996, Harmon saved a teenage boy involved in a car accident outside his Brentwood home.
Harmon used a sledgehammer from his garage to break the window
of his burning car, then pulled the boy from the flames."
- Wikipedia

i
mean

"During the Senate race, claims surfaced that while in his 30s, Moore had pursued numerous teenage girls and sexually assaulted some of them, including one girl who was 14. Moore denied the initial allegations of sexual assault, but did not deny approaching or dating teenagers. Independent witnesses confirmed that Moore had a reputation for coming on to teenage girls."
- Wikipedia


Sorry, Roy, but the Earth's only big enough for one Mark motherfucking Harmon, and Season 73 of NCIS has been keeping his calender pretty fucking tight. Too tight to fuck little girls, that's for damn sure.

So just to be clear, that makes you NOT Mark Harmon. You're just a fucking rat-eyed scumbag who uses his position of power and a presumption of wisdom to manipulate women into thinking you're not just another fucking dick under all those robes.

Oh, sorry. I forgot to introduce myself. Hi. I'm Katie. I'm the grown-ass version of the girls whose tender personhood you used to get off.

And just to bring this moment of sharing full circle, when I was 32, the age you were when you couldn't help but ask a 14-year-old girl to touch your penis?

Yeah, when I was 32 I was a decent-looking lady.

When I was 32 I was experienced in sex and knew how to enjoy sex.

When I was 32 I knew what a fucking child looked like.

And when I was 32, the Venn diagram of "Me Enjoying Sex" and "Me Spending Time with Children," was TWO FUCKING UNBROKEN CIRCLES ABOUT A MILE AND A HALF APART.

Withdraw from the race, the world, the mall, cheerleading practice, and the lives of all the girls on Earth, you sad pervy fuck.

We don't know you, but we fucking know you.



Follow KatyKatiKate on Facebook & Twitter

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DON'T NOT CLICK ME!

I promise I'm fun and weird.

And I promise that the likelihood that you heard any of these around your Thanksgiving table is, like, not 100. I don't know you, though. I don't know your people. You might have heard all of these. If so, sorry. It'll be quick.

It's Thanksgiving night and here are 5 quick things that I'm thankful for:

this isn't one of the five
it's just an opener

but seriously
anyone else sit in the orthodontist's chair
perusing the color choices for new rubber bands
and one of the factors you weighed was
"will this rubber band color make everyone at school love me"
but one of the factors you weighed was NOT
"will this color make me look like i have fungus on my teeth"

"green.
yeah.
definitely green."
#nailedit

poor kid

thank you
sweet baby north west
that shit is over


1. I'm thankful that when it comes to wacky family members I have a solid starting lineup. 

We've got the grandma with schizo-effective disorder, the uncle who confessed to murder, the grandpa we've never met because he's a monster, and the 5-year-old who is grateful for nothing, and by that he means that he is grateful for nothingness, as in, he is grateful for the absence of presence.

Oh, and we've got a Canadian.

I feel like, yeah, we've got a chance at the championship this year.

2. I'm thankful that I only have ONE "I pooped my pants a little in public as an adult" story, and I feel like that number is way below-average.




3. I'm thankful that when I was in college, my a cappella group hosted an all-male a cappella group from somewhere in Connecticut or some shit. No, this isn't the story of how I got pregnant in college. I WISH.

They were clean-cut, razor-sharp, and damn but those boys could snap their fingers in unison. You know how sexy it is when a man in a blazer can snap on the beat while sing-chanting "doo-n-do-doooo."

I was 19 when I sat in the auditorium and listened to the pitch pipe hum softly in the silence before the next song. Not to toot my own horn, but I for sure knew like seriously every song that an a cappella group would sing - classic doo-wop? KNEW IT. Piano bar classics like Billy Joel and Elton John? KNEW IT. Top 40 pop hits circa 2005? KNEW IT COLD.

So when they began to sing and I did not know the song, I stopped listening as a fellow a cappella enthusiast, and began to listen as a member of a crowd.

I'd definitely never heard this song before. I wasn't really sure what it was about - something about drums in the night? And... an old man?

But when they hit the chorus, I stopped caring about anything but the music.

Gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do

HOLY BALLS THIS SONG WAS AWESOME. It was one of those perfect musical phrases where the music and the lyrics held each other up and ignited a deep desire in my teenage girl heart: They are singing this to me. Or maybe, someday, they could be. Maybe someone could love me with such ferocity that we could not be dragged apart by a hundred men. Or MORE! They said more! So like, a hundred and seven, hundred and eleven guys? No sweat. Dang. I feel things.

The guys were feelin it. You could tell they loved singing this song. They were moved. I was moved. All the girls and at least half the boys in the audience were practically holding their breath and trying to figure out reasons to introduce themselves after the show that weren't, "That one song made me need to smell your neck."


(This is the version by Straight No Chaser)
(Seriously, listen to this and pretend you're a 19-year-old girl
whose first love was a guy in high school who could sing.)

And that's the first time I ever heard Africa, by Toto.

Gotta say, that song was always meant to be sung by an all-male a cappella group from Connecticut or some shit, to a hundred kids in an auditorium who all feel as if they could be singing to them.

And I am #blessed. Because to me, it is.

4. I'm thankful that my boobs and my feet are both about the same size.

And by that I don't mean that my boob is the same size as my foot. Although honestly, they might be. Like, if my boob had bones and bunions, who knows.

I mean my boobs are both roughly the same size, and my feet are both roughly the same size. I'm just grateful for that. One less thing to deal with at Nordstrom.

5. Oh shit!

I actually have TWO "I pooped my pants a little in public as an adult" stories. I totally forgot about that time at Nordstrom.

Whatever, you know what, that's still below average. Or at least not above average.



Alright, that's it for me.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. See you next year!

xoxo

Katie



Follow KatyKatiKate on Facebook & Twitter

Get an email when I post something new

I don't make a dime
100% of proceeds go to RAINN
& Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault

This is my work
If you found this post valuable
please consider sharing it with your people
and supporting my work through Patreon 
or Paypal (katykatikate at gmail)

... AND CHECK OUT MY NEW PODCAST!
with Ronit Feinglass Plank




I listened to two therapists discussing marriage recently and I was struck by one particular line:

"To have a successful marriage, we need to be less selfish. Do I NEED him to do laundry, or do I just WANT him to do laundry? I just want it. It can wait."

On the surface it seems like pretty harmless and vanilla advice, the kind of thing your kooky aunt writes on your engagement card: "Dear Sonny and Babs, we are so happy for you! Never forget, the secret to a happy marriage is to always take care of each other first. Love, Aunt Sara."

On the scale of "uh huh, sure, okay I'll just do that" marriage advice, "don't be selfish" clocks in right between "never go to bed angry," and "keep it spicy!"

But this particular conversation stuck in my craw, and after a quick stop at the lady doctor to get that taken care of (current craw status: mind-blowing), I knew I had to write about it.

It's holiday season, and you know what that means: no matter what your actual hobbies and interests are, for the next 2 months your only hobby is "magic" and your sole interest is "making goddamn memories."

For women who already do so much for their families and communities, the holiday season is an extra-deep swamp of necessary thoughtfulness that someone else has helpfully signed us up for. The alternative is to hike deep down into the valley of shame and self-doubt, so we usually just get hip-deep in mandatory sweetness and just try to get through.

OK, so, the next person who reminds me that it is my full-time job to be PERSONALLY nice to every.fucking.one, and ALSO that it is also my sole responsibility to ensure the niceness of everyone and everything in my life... whoo boy, that poor Chad is going to get a VERY short personalization on his Christmas card this year.

merry xmas
- our family


that's right, asshole
xmas
i already used up all my "christs"
talking shit about you behind your back

no "xoxo" for you this year
dickweed

how's that for
nice

I am a white girl from an upper-middle-class churchgoing white family.

I went to prep school and an affluent private college in the south.

I have been programmed to execute a life of selfless niceness.

The only way I could be less selfish is if I grilled my own flesh to serve at my children's birthday parties (#MomBurger #ItsALittleDry #MOM #MOMGETTHEMAYO #MomWhyAreYouWalkingLikeThat)

and shaved my head to weave the thread to darn the heel-holes in my husband's socks (#WifeSocks #HeadThread #WhyAreYouCrying #YouDontNeedHair #ButHeDoesNeedSocks #StopBeingSoSelfish).

The only way EVERY MOM/WIFE I KNOW could be less selfish is if we surrendered our earthly forms and all our pesky needs (Are you tired of needing sleep? Food? Time to pee and poop?) and became angels who follow our children around cutting their grapes and catching their little arms right before they plunge into the river, and linger spectrally over our spouses' shoulders at Christmas parties whispering, "His name is Jake, and he went to Moab on a climbing trip a few months ago, I saw it on Angel Facebook."

Frankly, I think it's offensive that the advice these professionals would offer to women is to be less selfish in their marriages. FRANKLY, I'd like to know when the last time anyone told a man to be less focused on his own shit, and more dedicated to someone else's well-being.

(Down, Feminist Werewolf! Down girl! I know, it's enraging, but keep it on a leash here. We have another point to make.)

I've been married for 7 years, and while I'm sure there are people reading this blog who look at that number and think, "Oh that's adorable, pumpkin," I nevertheless feel that I have been a wife long enough to know a thing or two about wifing.

And I need to take a moment to talk about why it's important to be a selfish wife.

Even though it may not be what you see on Lifetime or at the family reunion, or read on Hallmark cards in the anniversary section, you have to be selfish.

You have to.

A kickass wife is selfish not because she doesn't give a shit about her marriage, but because she gives a big shit about her marriage.

She gives such an enormous steaming shit about her marriage that she refuses to come to that marriage as anything less than a grown-ass woman.

She gives such a massive eye-watering corn-speckled shit about her marriage that so help her God, she will not let it become anything less than a true partnership.

As a partner, she must have equal time and care given to her needs and endeavors.

So here are 5 ways to be a selfish wife.

Five Ways to Be a Kickass Selfish Wife
by Katie

1. Like What You Like The Way You Like It

A kickass selfish wife takes care of her self. And she does it early and often.

She knows when she can share her sparkling water with her child, and when she needs to tell that child, "No, babe. I am really thirsty. I'm going to drink it all."

When she sees this mug, she emails it to her partner with the subject line, "I want this for my birthday."

and when she doesn't get it for her birthday
she says thank you for the linen sheets baby
they're so nice

and then
she buys this mug for herself
because

she is

(emily mcdowell studio)



She buys the beer she likes at the store.

She taps her partner on the shoulder. "Oh no. Nope. I don't like that."

She says, "I need to be alone right now, babe." She goes for a run and leaves the dishes undone.

She's doesn't sit quietly and feel her hunger (and sadness) grow, while she watches her husband read Politico. She's doesn't sit there and look at him, not looking at her, and think I'm here. Look at me. I'm hungry. I'm sad. 

A kickass, selfish wife is going to say, "Hey, I deserve your attention. It hurts my feelings when you're on your phone at home. Please put it down; I want to talk to you."

Or she grabs her keys and says "I'm going to get a burger."

A kickass selfish wife knows that any time you silently expect your partner to read your mind, it's a mean trick.

A kickass wife knows that she is the only person who can do her life the way it needs to be done. And she knows that the only way she can do her life is if she takes the time she needs to do it.

She is selfish for two main reasons:

First, because she knows how important she is. She deserves time. She deserves space. She deserves to be heard. That's a fact.

Second, because being selfish sometimes is the only way she can be truly selfless other times. She knows that she cannot pour from an empty cup.


2. Have a Thing

A kickass selfish wife has a thing.

She has a thing because she was an interesting, passionate kickass woman before she was a kickass wife. A kickass wife does not make her partner fall in love with her, and then surrender the qualities that made her magnetic. No, a kickass wife keeps her stuff. She has a thing.

Her thing is fun for her. She does it because she loves it, not because it's impressive or useful. It makes her feel good. And it belongs to her. Not to her family, her partner, her kids. Just her.

The thing might be fantasy baseball, seeing all the Oscar-nominated movies, a side hustle on Etsy, a book club, an art class. It might be scuba, salsa, or Scandal. It might be pop culture or philanthropy.

Nobody else need approve of her thing. Nobody else needs to think it's kickass.

Her thing is kickass because it belongs to her. Because she, herself, kicks ass.


3. Trust Your Gut

A kickass selfish wife isn't impervious to pain. She doesn't wear her armor 24/7. And sometimes, a kickass selfish wife gets hurt.

When she's deciding whether something was okay or not, she hears all the voices in her head that tell her to be nice, pipe down, suck it up, deal with it later, it's not worth hurting your partner's feelings, you're just being sensitive, you're just being picky. The voices in her head tell her not to be so... selfish.

And then she trusts her gut and says, "Hey, that wasn't okay with me."

When she stops liking something she used to love, she hears all the voices in her head. Just eat it, it's fine, he was trying to do something kind for you, be nice, be nice, be nice. Don't be so selfish.

And then she trusts her gut.

"Thank you for this breakfast. I don't like my eggs over easy anymore. I know, crazy, but I'm doing them scrambled with hot sauce now and I feel like I'm finally living my best egg life."

A kickass wife ends up on her own team. She listens to herself. She trusts her own judgment. Sometimes she's wrong, but a kickass wife knows that it's better to be on her own losing team than to throw herself over and eat eggs she didn't want, silently, making fake yummy sounds.



4. Pick Fights

There's a reason she's called "kickass" and it's not because she's an artisanal hot sauce. A kickass selfish wife comes clean when something's bothering her. She notices when her partner's off, and more importantly when she herself is off. She speaks up.

"What's going on with you right now?"

"I feel so angry when..."

A kickass wife picks fights not because she wants to hurt her partner, but because she knows that silence hurts so much more than the fight.



5. Say I Love You

A kickass wife says I love you in the way only she can say it, and in the way her partner can really hear it. 

Sometimes a kickass wife says I love you in a way that scares her - by challenging her partner's choice to do something unhealthy or destructive, or by allowing her partner to own his/her own choices and consequences.

Sometimes a kickass selfish wife says I love you by waiting to pick that fight that needs picking. Sometimes she says I love you by picking it right then and there.

Sometimes a kickass selfish wife says I love you by NOT saying "I told you so," even when she predicted this shit show from minute one. Sometimes she says I love you just by saying, "I'm so sorry that happened."

Sometimes a kickass wife says I love you by making a sandwich; sometimes she says I love you by saying, "I don't have time to make a sandwich. Make it yourself, and eat it happily, with the knowledge that the person who made it was not slapping mayo on bread while seething with resentment at your audacity to need your belly filled while I'm busy."

___

As I read back over that list I'm struck by how prescriptive it sounds, as if I think I know the answer.

"Other people thinking they know the answer to my life" is like #2 on my list of throat-punchable offenses, so let me come fully clean here:

I struggle to do all of these things, all the time.

"Like what you like the way you like it?" WOW WHAT A GREAT IDEA. I'LL JUST DO THAT REAL QUICK.

As if it's so easy to silence the chorus of voices all singing different songs in your head: "But Chicken is acting mad," and "Buster needs clean socks" and "Ryan looks tired, I wonder if I can help."

As if I can say to my 3-year-old and 5-year-old, "I can't play with you right now because I need to take care of myself this morning." I mean, I can say that... but I'm pretty sure what they'll hear is, "Yes I will play with you but first you have to say the secret password which is a combination of whining and scraping toys across the floor."


"Have a thing?" A thing? OK, so, I'm really into making sure my kids don't cultivate a lifelong love of cruelty to small animals, does that count as a thing? Yeah, um, my "thing," I guess, is basically hygiene? Yeah, it's pretty kickass to not have skin infections and stuff. Wheeeeee?


"Trust your gut? Pick fights?" YOU TRUST YOUR GUT. True story, I literally had a 10-minute pep talk with myself in the bathroom about ordering a fucking pizza. I said I wanted a Greek pie, Ryan said, "Don't you usually like the garden veggie better," and I automatically said, "Yes, ok, garden veggie," and was then seized by equally strong forces of self-loathing and terror that prevented me from being just a regular human who could say, "No, I said what pizza I wanted and that's the one I want."

I emerged from the bathroom 10  minutes later with steely resolve and said to my husband, who truly just wants me to be happy, "Ryan, I know I normally like the garden veggie, but life is too short to eat pizza that we don't want, and death comes for us all before we are ready. We need to call them and change the order to the Greek pie."

I know! It sounds insane when I type it out, not least because my husband loves me madly and wants me to eat whatever I want whenever I want it. But of course, it's not really about him. It's about me, learning to trust that the world isn't going to explode if I live in conflict with expectations, and also learning how to express desire for food without feeling embarrassment or shame, which is a whole other bundle of issues that we can talk about later.

Even though I made this list, and even though I try to do the things on this list, I still fail at them as least as often as I succeed. And it's easy to mark those missed opportunities for selfishness on the master list of "Things I Failed At Today."

I don't want to issue you a must-do action plan, or burden you with the sense that if you don't do all of these things all the time, you're a failure as a feminist, or grown-ass woman, or a wife.

I wanted to defend selfishness because when I heard those two women say that women need to be less selfish, my first thought was that they were right, and my second thought was that we were all wrong.

Selflessness is wonderful, but it's incomplete. And if you're reading this, chances are that you give more than you take on a daily basis. You do not need to be reminded to be selfless any more than you need to be reminded to blink.

I just wanted to tell you, if you needed to be told (like I do), that you deserve to like things the way you like them. You deserve to drink your own can of sparkling water, because you are the only one who can quench your thirst, and because it tastes so fucking good. You are just as important as anyone else in your life.

You deserve to have a thing, and be on your own team, and pick fights when your feelings are hurt.

There are millions of ways to be a kickass woman, wife, partner, mother, person. Some of those kickass qualities are selfless: splitting your lunch with your kid, pausing your TV show to hear about your partner's hard day, just eating the fucking eggs sometimes.

But some kickass qualities are selfish, too.

Just... take care of yourself. You're the only person who really can.

Happy Thanksgiving.

That is all.



If you liked this post, check out episode 2 ("Such a Selfish Woman") of my brand-shpankin-new podcast, Mouthy/Messy/Mandatory



A Katie, Ronit, and Larj Media Pod-uction
(yuk yuk yuk)(#dadjoke)


Follow KatyKatiKate on Facebook & Twitter

Get an email when I post something new

I don't make a dime
100% of proceeds go to RAINN
& Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault

This is my work
If you found this post valuable
please consider sharing it with your people
and supporting my work through Patreon 
or Paypal (katykatikate at gmail)

... AND CHECK OUT MY NEW PODCAST!
with Ronit Feinglass Plank
This post goes out to everyone who feels guilty about liking any of the people currently in the news.



OK, turn off the TV. Look away from the headlines. And come with me.

I'm going to take you on a magical journey to a place of soaring highs and crushing lows, face-scraping rock-bottoms, and the sweetest ecstasy that can be found on Earth.

Yes. Let's go to Target.

oh mah lord
look at those shams

You're in Target. It's a busy Saturday afternoon.

You have a cart full of stuff you need.

Well, ok, there are 3 things in the cart you need. And the rest of the cart is full of things you didn't know you needed until you saw them and then holy fuck, how is it possible you've gone this long without THIS CLOCK?

omg
it's a shy clock


And THESE PAJAMAS?

and a
top'o'the morning to
you!


And A SHED???

only $806.99?!?!
WHAT I'M NOT MADE OF STONE


So you pull up to the registers and it's, you know, fucking terrible. It looks like the L train station headed into Williamsburg at like 6 on a Friday.

only
with more surly hipsters


But hey, you came to Target on a Saturday. You volunteered for this.

You have to pick a line.

So you scan, you look at what's in people's carts, you shamelessly judge who's going to pay with personal check (What up, Edgar) and who's going to be couponing today (Holler back, Barb!) and you pick checkstand number 4.

You wait.

And you wait.

And you wait.

Checkstand number 4 has stealth couponers, exact-change payers, AND price-check obsessives.

Fuuuuuuuuuuck it sucks in the line for checkstand 4.

There are 3 people ahead of you, so you're thinking only... about... 16 more hours in line.

And suddenly checkstand 5 lights up, as if Jesus Hamilton Christ himself reached down from heaven and touched the little lightbulb in the 5 thingy. A couple of people rush over to checkstand 5, but you hesitate.

I've been in this line for so long already, you think.

It doesn't make sense to change now. It's almost my turn.

So you don't change. You sit in your line and watch 9 or 10 people churn merrily through checkstand 5, a checkstand evidently being manned by Fastest Man Alive Usain Bolt, starting over his second career like Michael Jordan did with those Hanes commercials.

The longer you don't change, 
the more you hate yourself for not changing.

And the longer you don't change, 
the more it feels like your chance to change has gone. 

I have good news. You're not alone. This is human nature at work; we are designed to resist change for a million reasons.

Perhaps you don't want to change lines because you don't want to lose face and look foolish. Perhaps you convinced some other people in the line behind you to stand here, and you'd rather stay in the shitty line than admit you were wrong.

Perhaps you can't calculate whether it's a good decision. You don't trust yourself to stay grounded when the winds of change are blowing you so clearly toward checkstand 5. You trusted the judgment that led you to checkstand 4. If you were wrong, what does that mean about your judgment?

Perhaps the unknown scares you into inaction. Who knows how fast that line will go? At least you know how quickly your line is moving. Even if "quickly" is the last word you would use to describe the movement of a line that has all the hustle of a constipated poop.

Perhaps you're simply exhausted. You can't muster the intellectual energy to even make the decision, much less move over to that faster line, much less KEEP UP when you get there.

But seriously. How long are you going to stay in this shitty line?

Yes, you picked this line using the judgment and information you had at the time. You were about 37 hours younger, the lines looked different, maybe you didn't think about it enough, and you didn't realize how shitty checkstand 4 was really going to be.

That initial decision is gone. It's gone. You're still here.

Are you going to stay shackled to checkstand 4 even though you can see it proving itself shitty over and over and over again?

___

Perhaps all of your heroes have done something shitty to another person.

Perhaps the sudden illumination of that fact makes you want to save face, or forces you to question your judgment, or scares you into silence, or drains you to depletion.

Listen, it didn't used to bother you when people you respected did some weird shit on the side to some women who, you thought, might just be looking for a payday. You didn't even think of it as relevant, maybe. You were younger, less experienced. Maybe you even had some exposure to weird shit on the side yourself. Maybe it seemed normal and okay.

But that time is gone. It's gone. You're still here. Now.

You are not shackled to your apathy, which is both a blessing and a curse:

I know you can change.

And I know you can change. So if you choose not to, I know you chose to stay shitty.

Forgive yourself for the choices you made in the past. They are gone and nothing is going to change them. The choice ahead of you is not yet gone.

The longer you don't change, 
the more you will hate yourself for not changing.
Your chance is not gone.

Turn around.

Say, "I was wrong. I didn't know it before, but I know it now."

Say, "I need to change."

Say, "I'm scared and embarrassed."

Say, "This change is worth the effort."

And then haul your ass over to checkstand 5.

We've been waiting for you.




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with Ronit Feinglass Plank



Some people think I should be nicer to Louis C.K. He deserves an opportunity to grow.

Some people think that his apology is proof that he's trying and I'm being, as my Grandmother would say, hateful.

And a number of people think my posts are waaaaaaay too long, like who do I even think I am?



Whenever I start to question myself, I like to take a few minutes to check in with my gut.

My gut said, "Eat cheese and crackers." OK so thanks for nothing on the whole grace thing, gut. Good call on the snacks, tho.

Should I offer my grace to Louis C.K. even though I don't want to? Do I need to take the high road?

Is my kindness the solution? Is my anger causing harm to feminism?

Are my posts too long? How long is too long for a blog post about what I think and feel?

Unfortunately, these aren't questions with answers (oh, how I long for the SATs) but this is what I've got so far.



True: there is no substitute for grace.

I have been the recipient of grace I did not earn.

I joined an anti-racism group last year. I fucked up a lot. I still fuck up a lot. I know how it feels to be in a space where people are wary of me because I am a threat, despite wanting not to be. I know how vulnerable I am in that space.

On the spectrum of vulnerability, when I'm in a WOC-centered space I feel extremely vulnerable. When I'm among white folks, I don't have to dedicate quite so much awareness to not-being-racist.

But in this anti-racism group, I rely on the mercy of these women of color, because I know I've done and said things for which my ass deserves a good long dragging.

As vulnerable as I feel, however, I am still infinitely LESS vulnerable than the people of color who are hurt by racism every day, over and over again, by people just like me. People march through the world, unaware that the bodies they plow down beneath them actually count as bodies. People who, when they finally hear someone say "ouch," do not change the way they walk, but keep right on marching. Only now, they call out "sorry," as they go.

These women are merciful enough to offer grace, on their own terms and in a way that they can rescind when the bottomless sea of bullshit pulls them down.

It was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn early on, as the person most likely to do harm in that space: I do not get to decide what is acceptable behavior here. I do not get to decide what an effective apology looks like. This space does not belong to me. I am a guest in this house.


I do not get to demand kindness from them.
And you don't get to demand kindness from me. 


Kindness, mercy, grace. These are gifts that must be given freely.

If you try to command them, you're like the Dickensian headmaster beating me, your student, demanding that I say "Thank you, Sir, may I have another," after every blow. Or, to give a more everyday example, it's like forcing a child to apologize for hitting his brother. He's not sorry. His apology is not his gesture of remorse; it's your demonstration of power.

My kindness will be given when I am ready to give it.

My anger might make people like Louis CK feel vulnerable, as he is at the mercy of people like me whose mercy is not a given, who know he's a threat and are waiting for him to fuck up again. I know how it feels to be that guy.

But he is still less vulnerable than all the people he hurt. He said sorry. (Kind of. Technically he said he has been remorseful and that he does not forgive himself.) (As if our chief concern was whether he could forgive himself.)

I've already written about why that apology really hurts my feelings; not because it isn't insightful, but because it is. Not because he flubs Power Dynamics 101, but because he aces it. It reminds me how much I trusted him because of that insight into power. It makes me sadder and angrier to know he got it, used his insight to get into a place where I might have felt a little safe, but then kept right on marching, plowing people under him, calling out "sorry" as he went.


I get to be mad.

My anger might be uncomfortable for you; it's uncomfortable for me, too.

Think of your life as a room with a thermostat. The room is full of people; the more social power you have, the more cuddly warm clothes you're wearing. Straight white men look like a J. Crew Christmas catalogue, with cashmere mufflers and pink noses and huge grins.

- chad.
- chad.


Meanwhile I'm dressed like a dancer doing a postapocalyptic modern routine on So You Think You Can Dance, barefoot in a shredded cotton dress.

also tiptoeing
strong af
but appearing to be effortless with it
and practiced at going down to the ground
holy shit this gif is deep


The thermostat in the room is set to keep the coziest people comfortable. It just makes sense. This is the most comfortable temperature.

So I've spent much of my life shivering, wondering what's wrong with me that I just can't get comfortable. This is the most comfortable temperature, right?

I know they resent me for shivering; they don't understand why I'm not warm, it's perfectly comfortable in here. If I try to turn the temperature up a little, they get angry. They're unaccustomed to discomfort.

I've also spent that that time looking over at people wearing even less than I am, people running in place and trying desperately to stay warm, wondering why they're making such a big deal about being cold. I'm cold too, you don't see me being all dramatic about it. Honestly.

I've spent my life shivering in a room whose thermostat was set to keep the most heavily-bundled comfortable.

I have stopped thinking it's my fault that I'm cold, or feeling scorn for people who are colder than I am.

Now I wonder who the fuck is in charge of the temperature in here and who died and made him King Farenheit. Hey Chad, change the temp or share the fucking sweaters.

how's the temp now chad
now that i took your diaphanous wrap
which was delightful to the touch
btw


If you are ready to give grace, give your grace.


If you are not angry, or if you find anger draining, or detrimental to your own life's peace, or a step backward on your journey through feminism, then don't do anger. For God's sake, we should all be done performing unfelt feelings for other people's comfort!

If you're hopeful that all people can grow and that you can help them do that, then you should do that. You don't need my approval or permission. Give grace if that's what you want to give. There is room in this conversation for my anger and your forgiveness.

I am not ready to give grace. It's okay that I'm not ready. He has not earned it. And if he's going to earn it, he needs to understand that he needs to work for it. If he's a grown-up who gives a shit about changing, he needs to be responsible for his own change.

That's what was asked of me when I joined the anti-racism group last year: work, humility, failure, persistence, and centering someone else's voice.

I feel lucky every day to be surrounded by women who have taught me how to humbly recognize when I inevitably fuck up again, how to apologize in a way that isn't about making myself look apologetic, and how to learn without demanding kindness that isn't mine to order.

We are all trying to build an atmosphere of justice. You can do that with your grace.

Right now, the way I contribute to an atmosphere of justice is with blog posts that are exactly as long as they need to be to say what I want to say.

And with my anger: earned, justified, expressed without gentleness. My anger is how I respect you. I don't believe you need me to be nice in order to hear me; I don't believe I need to seduce you into valuing justice.

This post doesn't end with answers. I wish it could, but we're all in the middle of a messy, muddy fight, and we're all doing the best we can. You keep doing you. I'll keep doing me. I like to think we're fighting on the same side, merely on different fronts.

But if a post with answers is what you need, here's one.

dudes: i'm so tired
let me lie down on you
that would be nice

me: i'm
not
nice

now stand your ass up
and get to work
because i know you can


Follow KatyKatiKate on Facebook & Twitter

Get an email when I post something new

I don't make a dime
100% of proceeds go to RAINN
& Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault

This is my work
If you found this post valuable
please consider sharing it with your people
and supporting my work through Patreon 
or Paypal (katykatikate at gmail)