So two females felt free to verbally abuse me about their perceptions and beliefs about my body and my bicycling. Apparently, and I have read about this on other blogs, some people feel free to verbally abuse others when they are in public doing physical activities, if they are perceived in a negative way, by abusers.
Now I’ve been a bike rider most of my life, and my physical size in no way has ever hindered me physically or psychologically from biking. I refuse to let someone else hinder me! I love bike riding. I’ve written about it often on this blog. It brings me independence and a sense of freedom.
I don’t normally get that kind of stuff from women, usually I just get the silent treatment, the judgmental looks, the shunning, something that my mother and sister started and that continues, at times, to this day.
It seems bizarre to me that at a time in my life where I really and truly have internalized a deep love of myself, an accurate valuation of myself, and a deep love and respect for my beautiful body that two females would choose that time to verbally abuse me on the basis of something as bizarre and inappropriate as their beliefs and personal opinions of my body size.
I love myself and their lives will have no effect whatsoever on my life, except to give me something to write about and more of a personal interest in being an advocate for equal rights. I have decided from now on to think of myself and to describe myself as an advocate.
This is the exactly the kind of incident that I start thinking about writing about almost immediately after they happen. Being a writer means life is fodder and that is about all they deserve to be, fodder: food for livestock, only this is food for writing. As human beings they are found lacking, but as writing material they are just adequate. What I do with the incident rises it up to the level of worthy of being written about and read. Every little incident can be turned into a space for healing. I hope that really really bothers them. That instead of their intended wounding of my spirit, my self-esteem, my body image, I used them back to turn their interactions with me into statements of the equal rights of all and equal treatment.
We each deserve societal acceptance; no matter what our stories are, what our life histories are, who we are, how we look, our mental health levels, our race, our religion, our affiliations and non-affiliations, etc etc etc. None of us deserve to be mistreated, bullied and abused over trivial matters, and being perceived as different is a trivial matter.
We all deserve better. No life is not fair, yes abusers and bullies are in the world, looking for kicks and victims. But I won’t be one of theirs. I can speak up for myself and even if they don’t respond, I spoke up in some way; through my words, my intentions, my beliefs, my thoughts, my compassion for myself and others, my resistance to the dominant oppressive paradigm. I have been a quiet advocate for a long long time, but things have changed a lot in the last couple of years. I have truly found my voice and nothing will ever be the same.
Will these incidents stop these two from verbally abusing someone else? Probably not. Maybe not. Will my advocacy for myself and others stop others from being abusive? Will people stop judging, being hateful, and showing a vast array of prejuidices against people who do not conform to their standards of size and beauty and other hateful speech and actions against others? Again those are probably not going to get better for some time.
I care about me. I care about us. I love other people more than I love anything else on this lovely earth, this wonderful universe. Here’s the thing, no one, no abuser, can take that away from me, will ever be able to take that away from me. In that way I win every time, every incident, every day, every week, every month, every year. I love, I care, and there is nothing they can ever do to change me, to make me hard, to make me uncaring, to make me spiteful, vengeful, or jealous.
I believe with all my heart, we will make this world a better place for all who get perceived as being different and therefore targets of abuse by those looking to feel better about their own lives and selves by mistreating others.
That’s not why I engage in advocacy for myself. I refused to be silent; looks can speak loudly, hand gestures speak loudly, shunning and ignoring them speaks loudly, my voice in relating these incidents speak loudly, my words on my blog speak loudly.
It took the suffragettes fifty years to get the right to vote. It took India decades of protest of many kinds in order to get independence for their country. It took years and years of activism and advocacy for the end of slavery in the USA and then again years of the same before the Civil Rights Act by President Lyndon Johnson. It took many years for gay couples to have the right to marry. There is no national laws guaranteeing those who are gay from firing, discrimination, and persecution in many venues of life, and no legal right to marriage. It took years to get the legal right for gay couples to marry in specific states. The tide turns, usually only after many people, those being discriminated against and their allies, use their voices, their words, their actions, their advocacy for positive social change.
One thing I know for sure, my soul, my mind, my body will never be occupied by the enemy, ever again.