This past weekend I was down in Galveston, Texas, for a mini vacation with a good friend for a much needed reprieve and some deep restoration. It also was Ernie’s (my new puppy) first time going to the beach.
We were excited to unplug, hang out by the water, and just recharge our batteries a lot. Both my friend and I really needed a weekend away.
Needless to say, the weekend didn’t unfold quite like we had planned. Usually when we head down the the beach this time of year, we expect a quiet, almost desolate weekend, with very few other tourists around.
This weekend, however, was rare.
Turns out the Lone Star Bike Rally (the second largest of its kind) was also going on in full swing this past weekend. 100,000 bikers, plus a whole host of other people we were not expecting.
So much for a weekend of relaxation and restoration.
We made a few adjustments to our initial plans, and found a creative way to navigate through the crowds, and find some quieter solace, somehow. Just took a little brainstorming on our part, and to go against the movement of the rally itself … if the bikers were in one area of town, we went to the other side of town. Overall, we were able to make the best of it.
Which brings me to Saturday morning on our trip. We were having breakfast outside, as Ernie was with us, at a little well-known diner off The Strand downtown. You know the kind of place where you need to pay inside with an old-fashioned cash register.
I was at the counter to pay for breakfast when all of the sudden I got smashed up against the counter. My initial instinct was that someone wasn’t paying attention, and bumped into me accidentally.
Oh, was I wrong.
I turned around, and said “Excuse me.”
The man I faced (a non-biker, I might add) had a shit-eating grin on his face and said, “We’re going to beat y’all tomorrow.”
My brain was like, “What is he talking about?” It took me a minute to know what he was referring to. Then, I realized I was wearing my Bears t-shirt. He was talking about Sunday’s NFL matchup between the Bears and Saints.
Now, here’s where it gets a bit interesting.
Had I been fully awake and the coffee had completely kicked in, this scenario may have played out in an entirely different way. For his sake, he’s lucky I was still was half asleep and trying to wake up.
The reality was … he “body-checked” me on purpose.
Somehow, he thought he was being cute and that it was okay for him to slam into me because I just happen to be a woman. I guarantee he WOULD NOT have done that to me if I were a man.
Let’s just say the blood was boiling in my veins.
Me, five or ten years ago, I would have dropped kicked his ass and had him face down on the floor. I mean who the hell did this guy think he was?
Let me be clear … I am not one to start a fight nor do I believe in fighting as a solution. In fact, the first rule of martial arts is to using fighting as a last resort (I studied kickboxing, boxing, and Muay Thai back in my younger days).
That being said, I also am very clear that I WILL defend myself.
Especially under circumstances where I feel someone is attacking me or violating my space, where I feel unsafe. It’s an instinctive reaction to want to protect myself. I learned it the hard way through years of surviving abuse from my dad, and in being date raped.
Fortunately, instead of reacting from pure survival instinct, I merely glared at him with a cold-as-ice look of pure annoyance and irritation. I was very clear in my look that I was NOT amused nor was I entertained by his antics.
He must have got the point. The look on his face was priceless.
He starting babbling incessantly like a baboon talking about game. I was not interested in listening to him ramble on or try to make his lame excuse as to why he legitimately body checked my into the counter.
Again, he purposely body checked me into the counter.
I need you let that sink in.
Seriously, I am over men thinking they can just touch women because they feel like it, or think that they are being cute.
Listen up: You DO NOT have permission to invade someone else’s space without their permission. Period. Hard stop. It’s NOT cute or endearing, it’s gross, inappropriate, and, often times, scary.
And, this culture of NICE that we live in is part of the problem!
The fact that most people think I should stand there and just take it is truly appalling to me. I am suppose to chalk it up to “he’s just being a guy.”
What a load of bullshit!
No, he needs to take personal responsibility AND accountability for his actions. Like I said, he’s honestly lucky I didn’t punch him straight out.
As a woman who has been attacked and touched inappropriately in my life growing up on multiple occasions, as have most women, I am beyond tired of this notion that I am suppose to be the one to change.
That somehow I am to blame, or it’s my fault.
When, in fact, we need to create a culture of better education, respect for boundaries, and higher levels of consequences and accountability.
In no way shape or form is it alright for one person to touch another, or invade their space, without permission. End of story.
This includes our children, who, by the way, should not be forced to hug and kiss relatives or family friends if it makes them uncomfortable. We, as a culture, need to listen. We need to read the room. We need to keep our hands to ourselves. We need to practice self-control.
You get to decide what is okay for you, and what is not. You also get to decide what is safe for you, and what’s not.
AND, you DO NOT need to justify to anyone why you feel that way!
You get to feel however you feel.
You have every right to be respected for your boundaries.
Again, hard stop.
I am beyond tired and angry with this ridiculous game of being nice that has women and children expected to be sweet, demure, and people-pleasing, and to put up with the immature, irresponsible behaviors of the men and boys around them who can’t keep their hands to themselves. ENOUGH!
Men, for those of who think you are being cute … let me assure you that you’re NOT. Women, for those of you who think you can’t use your voice or create powerful boundaries … let me assure you that you CAN.
We need to stop this behavior altogether, as individuals and as a collective society. We need to create deeper, more consistent, and more meaningful education around boundaries, psychological and physical safety, emotional intelligence, and just plain ole’ common sense.
We also need to create greater measures to hold people accountable to their behaviors and their choices with appropriate consequences.
We need to teach and practice kindness.
Nice and kind are two entirely different energies. As I wrote in a previous article, the origin of the word nice means ignorant, not knowing, foolish, and about a million other demeaning and degrading things.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news … but, the culture of ‘nice’ is not having the effect you think. In fact, it’s…medium.com
Kind, though, is one of the highest forms of love.
It is kind to establish and express your boundaries. It is kind to hold people accountable to their actions. It is kind to choose you first.
It is NOT kind to “play” nice.
Stop being nice. Draw the lines that are appropriate for you. Don’t feel you need to justify or explain your boundaries. Demand respect. Hold people accountable for their choices and behaviors.
And, do it without any guilt, shame, apprehension.
Like I said before, you get to decide what is safe for you, without any explanation, justification, or apology. Anyone who chooses not to respect your requests and boundaries … well, that’s on them, not you.
Like I said, this guy is really lucky he walked away without me drop kicking him, or sending him away with a black eye or a fat lip.