On a Tuesday because I was at a concert last night. But. Nothing to see here.
Suitcase wheels whir and grate as I haul the rollaboard along behind me, running for the train. Two minutes to departure. And I still have to make it up a level, over the bridge and down an escalator to platform 15A. A lyric pops into my head as my feet beat against the white polished concrete floor of the bus terminal.
And friends are friends forever.
Conversations play out in my head, both real, and imaginary. Constantly. Mostly, I let them create scenes of their own accord and don’t pay much attention. But as I run, I replay the discussions I had over the weekend. I’ve been in Newcastle and Sydney for four and a half days, and due to my recent engagement, most of my talks with friends have centred around relationships, dating and marriage.
A question I used to ask prospective dates, I said to the friend I grew up across the street from in high school, was “How many close friends do you have, and how long have you known them?”
The answer was often indicative of how well a person could create and maintain relational bonds and boundaries. How well they could manage a relationship over time and all the challenges that came with it. How good a friend they could be. No close friends was always a worry. Short-lived friendships were a worry. But not making new friends was a worry, too.
Of the people I connected with this weekend, the range of time for which I’ve known them is between eight and twenty-eight years (or my entire life, if you count my parents). Long-term friendships require work from both parties; they need trust, respect, vulnerability, kindness and love to flourish. And I’ve always found that if you can be a good friend, you can be a good partner. But most of us don’t consider what makes us a good friend, nor what makes a good friend to us in return.
Although I don’t resonate with all of this song anymore in the same way I used to, it’s the one that popped into my head as I ran and the message is still meaningful.
A lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.
And I’m exceedingly grateful for mine.
The words are lost inside me.
Stuck behind the lump in my throat.
Self-prescribing, I’m imbibing.
I have to let it go.
The rolling darkness echoes with hopes crashed on the shore.
Will it ever, can it ever be the way it was before?
Can’t a girl just do the best she can?
Catch a wave and take in the sweetness
Think about it, the darkness, the deepness
All the things that make me who I am
And who I am is a big time believer
That people can change
~ Elizabeth Grant and Jack Antonoff ~
Content note: sexual assault and sexual violence
Today, Jessica Valenti wrote:
A cruel irony of sexual assault and harassment is that the traumas which frequently determine the trajectory of women’s lives are just as often unremarkable to the men who have inflicted them.
This is why, I suspect, these men become so shocked and enraged when they’re asked to answer for their actions: When they say “nothing happened,” it’s not just a denial — it’s that they truly believe the incident was not a big deal.
You can read the rest of the article here.
Women understand this all too well.
“Men are shit,” she declared while gazing out of the kitchen window as she filled her water bottle at the sink. I gathered the recycling in my arms to take to the outside bin. At almost 17, she’s already witnessed and experienced too much sexism and misogyny. I wanted to reassure her. Tell her it gets better. That boys grow up as they become men and stop treating women like objects, or lesser. That men respect women as equals.
But they don’t. Not always.
A few months ago, I opened a message as I switched on the car engine.
“Don’t message and drive or I’ll have to come down there and kiss you.”
My stomach turned. Sour bile rose in the back of my throat. I put the phone down and swallowed, anger burning in my cheeks. I’d just sent a friend a car emoji in response to his hello, a signal I was about to drive and unable to talk, and this was his reply.
“Inappropriate.” I replied when I arrived at work, my fingers banging the phone so hard I thought I might crack the screen. “I’ve explained to you before why those sorts of comments are a) generally unacceptable to women everywhere, and b) particularly unacceptable to me. Please don’t speak to me that way. I don’t like it and it’s not ok.”
Later, I received a text rant reply about how his behaviour was all my fault.
I am tired of explaining why “jokes” about sexual assault are not funny.
Imagine if he’d said “don’t message and drive or I’ll have to come down there and punch you.”
Threatening to kiss someone against their will is no less violent or terrifying than the threat to physically harm them.
I had already explained my personal feelings of dislike of that type of ‘banter’.
I had already explained my boundaries. Which should have been enough.
I had already explained my history of assault. Which I had hoped might evoke the seriousness of why that type of behaviour was problematic when my initial boundaries were not respected the first time.
But he still didn’t care. What he wanted was more important than how I felt about anything. And I’m sure, if you were to ask him, the whole thing was “nothing, not a big deal.”
I had previously explained it all twice and refused to do it again, so I used the block function to eliminate him from my friendship circle. He wasn’t interested in respecting my boundaries and I wasn’t interested in a friendship with someone who had so little respect for me.
Women everywhere are tired of men whose mouths say they respect us but show us by their behaviour that they really don’t
I am too tired to keep explaining things, so here is a memoir about how men and women are socialised into perpetrating and accepting violence.
G and I are back after five weeks travelling in North America. It’s good to be home. Luckily, no matter where in the world we go, as long as we’re together we are home.
Ah, home, let me go home
Home is wherever I’m with you
Ah, home, let me go home
Home is where I’m alone with you
We are just into our fourth week of travelling with one more to go. It feels both long, and short. I miss friends at home, and those living in places I’ve already been. But I can’t be multiple places at once.
Or maybe I can.
Today we were here, though. A little park in Montreal across the road from Leonard Cohen’s former residence. I loved Leonard Cohen but I don’t grieve for him. I don’t need to. Because he already knew what life was about.
Don’t dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be
There is a crack, a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in
I’m in California with G for a friend’s wedding today. We have been busy travelling so I have missed a few Music Mondays (I keep forgetting what day it is in Australia) but I remembered today! I will try to get back on track when I get home in a few weeks.