"Yes, I was burned, but I call it a lesson learned ... Mistakes overturned, so I call it a lesson learned ..." Alicia Keys sung back in 2007 on her As I Am album. SOUL-ful and embroidered with John Mayer's entrancing guitar magic / sorcery, the song, titled Lesson Learned, became a personal anthem and mantra for the many hardships, difficulties, hills, mountains and valleys of my journey through teenage-hood into the uncertainties of adulthood. Fitting and self-explanatory, this song remains, to this day, the epitome of ME. As her lyrics (above) sound through, as they mold themselves neatly into a recent personal incident experienced in a Miami nightclub, I cannot help but T H I N K. An act that I used to believe that I did too often, constantly, thinking "I think I think too much," has evolved into an act I do frequently with purpose. Now, I accept and preach that, “I KNOW I think too much." However, my many thoughts are generally with good reason, especially when it involves my overall peace of mind, body and soul.
With that stated, I want to dive into a very sensitive issue. An issue, that sort of like racism, is hard to discuss freely without backlash from individuals who dance in ignorance, bigotry, or just purposeful stupidity:
Consent couples quite greatly with the issue of rape, however, that must be a topic / post / blog for another day as it is a very multifaceted and DENSE issue to unpack. So, consent in relation to women, to be quite specific is what this entry will truly focus on. I cannot speak on the topic of consent in relation to men as I am not a man. All, I can say is no matter the gender, "NO" means "NO." However, that is just a very general, sweeping statement to encompass ALL. Yet, as I mentioned this entry will focus on consent in relation to women. And as it pertains to women, consent seems to be a figment of our womanly, fluffy, light and pink, dainty, demure, and wishful-thinking imagination. Consent doesn't seem to appear in the vocabulary of men, or rather, I'll just say, individuals with the intentions of gaining something from us (women) that we do NOT freely and willingly want to give. Our bodies, though biblically fashioned from MAN and historically seen as only vessels for a man's pleasure (sex) or temporary breeding abodes for the legacies of men (buns in ovens, or more commonly known as babies), have been used - MISUSED - and abused for centuries on end for MEN. It may seem to the eye of an outsider looking in, that women have always given their CONSENT to MEN. We have laid down our fists and weaponry, stifled our tongue, and submitted to the will of MAN in order to please him - which, in turn pleases us – or so they (men) say. However, though some women have willingly done this, there have been many instances in which our CONSTENT was not given.
It is in those instances, when CONSENT is not granted, where the issue is born. It seems for many that when a woman says "NO," she is really saying "YES," do the fact that she APPEARS to want what is coming her way. In other words, based on her APPEARANCE, her demeanor, or any other arbitrary factor, a woman is openly inviting UN-wanted advances. The very act of being a woman seemingly appears to open the doors, or rather our legs, for men to nonchalantly walk on through. Thus, a man is at FREE will to do what he pleases with our bodies simply because we LOOK like we want IT. If I could, I would find the right words to describe how utterly stupid this ASSumption is, but alas, I am confounded by how deeply misogynistic and ignorant many men, excuse me, many individuals remain on this matter.
We should not have to dress or look a particular way to fend off unwanted advances. We should not have to act or say certain things to ensure we are not accosted. We should not have to do anything to please anyone but our own selves. Our bodies are not here for a MAN to have his way. Our bodies are not here to be misused, abused, and discarded … or RAPED. Our bodies belong deeply and solely to us. And us alone. Should we choose to grace our bodies with another, then that is what we shall do when we want to do so. On our own accord. Then, and only then, when our CONSENT is given does our YES mean YES.
Though, I could go on further, as this is only the tip of the iceberg, I’ll keep this, to some minor degree, short. For this entry is merely just a way for me to express some emotions that I harbor in regards to the giving of consent. Having experienced my own personal mini-trauma in which my right to consent was completely stolen from me based on the predetermined minds of a handful of men, I know far too well how sensitive this subject can truly get. Sparing all the nitty gritty details of the actual event that inspired this entry, I’ll simply quote Alicia Key’s Lesson Learned once more, “It's called the past ‘cause I'm getting past … And I ain't nothing like I was before … You ought to see me now.”
:: Post Rationalizing(s)
"When a person tells you you hurt them, you don’t get to decide you didn’t."
― Louis C.K. ―