Women, Boundaries, and Abusive Behavior


Today I'm feeling sad, angry, frustrated...and more than a little deflated after several abusive incidents over the past week. This kind of crap happens to women constantly, and I've had enough of it. I'm tired of smiling and saying, "It's okay." when it is most definitely not okay. How many wrinkles must I smooth? 

Since I turned 40, (14 years ago) I have been mostly diligent about getting mammograms. Nobody enjoys a mammogram, but in the past it's mostly been uncomfortable, not miserable. I had a 3-D mammogram a couple of years ago, and it was not painful at all. Yesterday, I went for a 3-D mammogram with little anticipation of more than a bit of discomfort. The tech was pleasant enough, but the manner in which she treated my body was anything but pleasant. She compressed my breast tissue so vociferously that it hurt, a lot, enough to make me whimper, wince, and cry.

Stand here, put your arm down, grab this, move your chin. Squeeze. Squeeze. 

Ouch, ouch!

Squeeze, squeeze. Move your hand. Squeeze. Squeeze.

How can she possibly squeeze my breast any more than...FUCK! Ouch!

Hold your breath.

Are you kidding me? I'm about to pass out, lady.

And then I actually APOLOGIZED for saying "fuck." It fucking hurt, why did I apologize?

Lest you think me a wimp, I gave birth with a midwife and a doula and no pain relief AT ALL. I have a chronic medical condition that I rarely discuss that is extremely challenging, sometimes debilitating, and often painful. Yesterday was not a great day because of this condition. Yet I suck it up and try not to whine, because that's what women do, right?

I'm sick of sucking it up. This tech slapped my breasts around like chicken cutlets and ignored my obvious signs of distress. I have never had this much pain during a mammo, it was brutal. I am hesitant to get another. I did some research, and 3-D mammograms are supposed to be LESS painful. So it's not me.

This isn't the first time I've had a situation like this happen.

Have I ever told you the story about the grumpy phlebotomist? I had multiple run-ins with this sociopath until I finally contacted the company and complained. She forcefully stabbed me with multiple needles for blood tests, all the while ranting loudly about how much she hated her job. This happened on two separate occasions. After complaining, the company did nothing, so I took my bodily fluids elsewhere.

Then there's another situation, one I've been keeping to myself, and I don't know why. I've had a long term relationship with a person who provides what should be a relaxing service that has become dreadful. I don't know how we got here, but I think it's because we've been together so long she feels less inclined to treat me like a customer. There's the specialist I've been seeing for years who condescends to me every time I have to go FIGHT to be heard who finally admitted that I was right about my condition after years of insisting I was wrong, the family doctor who misdiagnosed me twice and when I finally diagnosed myself, agreed and offered no apology for not listening to me in the first place, the pharmacy tech who announced at the top of her voice when I handed her my insurance card that WE DON'T TAKE OBAMACARE sliding the card back at me with a look of disgust, the annoyingly chatty urologist who asked me a series of personal questions while sticking a camera through my urethra into my bladder, the pervy orthodontist who brushed my breasts with his hands whenever he tightened my braces, countless numbers of unbelievably snarky salespeople, the fellow actor who grabbed my ass seconds before I went on stage every single performance, and the ticket person at a major airline who screamed FRAUD at the top of her lungs in front of a line of people when I tried to pay for an accidental undercharge on a baggage fee. 

Endless amounts of microaggressions and blatant abuses that I've endured quietly...

Why? Why do I put up with this shit? Why am I allowing people to abuse me? I'm a strong, independent woman, yet I have said nothing on countless occasions when someone was abusive to me. 

And then, yesterday, after returning from my breast tissue torture session, I saw multiple threads on social media about the Morgan Freeman situation. Women were insisting that this stuff happens all of the time so why are we so upset about it? 

Just roll over and take it, honey. That's the way it is. 

And there it is.

Well, I've had ENOUGH. That is not the way it us unless we keep telling that tired ass story.

I matter. My body matters. My feelings matter. My right to be treated with respect and dignity and kindness FUCKING MATTERS. I refuse to let people treat me like crap any more. I'm done smoothing wrinkles. I'm done with making excuses. I'm SICK TO DEATH of hearing women apologize for the bad behavior of other people in the service of maintaining the status quo. Screw the status quo. If we can't stand up and say NO and support other women when they do, we're never going to progress.

And because a MAN on social media asked this absurd question,

"What is harassment any more? GO away!, get me a coffee?, Please leave my office?, Don't eat your lunch in my office, Please?"

Here is my answer,

Well, sir, let me articulate for you what harassment is, any more, and ever more, and ever was, because apparently you and millions of other twatwaffles like you missed the mother fucking memo. 

Harassment is:

Verbally attacking a woman, belittling her, insulting her, making unsolicited comments about her appearance, her gender, her sexuality, or her body, touching her without permission, touching her in a sexual manner without her permission, continuing to touch her if she's given you permission but then rescinded said aforementioned permission, treating her like she is 'less than' because you think you are more important, dismissing her, ridiculing her, publicly shaming her, using force against her, or abusing your power over her.

Thanks for asking. You can no longer claim ignorance. 

I am no longer entertaining abuse from men or women who believe they have a right to abuse me. I will not be demeaned or dismissed or manhandled or woman handled, or shoved, pushed, prodded, poked, or squashed until I cry.

This is my line in the sand. No more Mrs. Nice Gal. 

And that's all I have to say about that.