I’m aware of what they think of me. I’m aware of what they say.
I’m used to the degradation, the belittlement, the constant criticism of my ways.
I’m a woman of stature, but of course, men don’t like confident girls, girls who are too sure of themselves. Confidence is sexy to many, but a woman with a degree, with opinions and stubbornness, who knows exactly what she’s talking about and means what she says — oh no, no, no, men don’t like that. We can’t threaten their masculinity, the pedestal they’re seemingly entitled to take. They’ll find any way to deflect their insecurities onto us because women can’t be too confident, we can’t be too sure.
I get a lot of questions on whether or not I hate men by men themselves. My mind seems to be determined on making sure men pay for their sins, that they remember their power can be diminished by a woman’s hand in just a snap. I can’t help what my mind possesses. I can’t help what my writing creates. If blood brings life to these pages, urges many to read my many tales, so be it. But to men, there’s always something wrong with my creations, the art I love to present to the table.
“Who hurt you?” they always question. “Someone must have,” they say.
The truth is, I don’t hate men. Hate is too strong of a word, and frankly, it gives too much power to them. And if you haven’t noticed already, they surely don’t deserve the credit.
I love men, I do. But I also very much dislike them.
I’ve been fighting a constant battle to understand their minds and their inabilities to essentially be actual men. A lot of the men I meet are boys, struggling to become something or someone they’re not. They tend to hide behind facades, create perfected masks, and lie for the sake of identifying as a man, but not actually be one. Instead of dealing with their mistakes, traumas, childhood, anger, pain, and ultimate despair, they have this belief they can project all of that onto women, to essentially treat innocent women like shit because they see themselves as, well, complete and utter shit. And what do we as women do? We put it on ourselves. We take on the baggage. We fall in love with their stupid facades. Then it’s us; we begin to doubt ourselves and deem ourselves as weak, unattractive. They like to convince us of that, convince us we are absolutely nothing, whether it’s intentional or not. It’s romantic, isn’t it? It’s love.
I love men, I do. But I very much dislike boys.
We’re a threat to their monarchy. They’re the only ones that can exude confidence, independence, strength — they’re the only ones who can fit on the pedestal their daddies made for them.
And yes, certainly it’s true that women can be bitches too. But I’ve heard too many stories and witnessed too many actions for my rage to go against women. The rage for women isn’t apparent in my time, and I have no given reason to rip out their bloody hearts and eat it. No, no, that would just go against my morals, probably my whole reason for existing. I’m a feminist, you see. I believe women need to be reminded of the power they have. No man should take that away from us. No man is that deserving.
I love men, I do. And I say that with delight.
But I am struggling to write. And a woman, like myself, must write.
There’s a poem written by Sandra Cisneros called “After Everything.” She calls her lovers from all over the country at two in the morning after reading/writing poems, after smoking her last cigarette with no alcohol in the house, “detonating wives and/setting babies crying.” Her exes tell her to ultimately fuck off, that she’s insane, crazy, “nuts” she writes.
My lovers have never called me “nuts”…
“What are you doing?”
I jump to the sound of his voice, my heart pounding in my ears, the blunt almost flying out from between my fingers. I pause the mellow tunes on my phone, aware of his stark presence, his hot breath on my neck. He’s standing right behind me in a daunting sort of way, looking over my shoulder, smelling like fresh rain and sex.
“Jesus! You scared me,” I say. “I didn’t hear you come in.” He’s flustered; lips bruised, eyes red, cheeks flushed. I’m not too high to notice he just got fucked.
“‘I’m aware of what they think of me. I’m aware of what they say,’” he reads, scanning over the white screen. “‘I’m used to degradation…’”
I shut my laptop immediately before he can read more, “You know better than to read my work.”
He walks around the couch, leaving my neck cold and shoulders tense, loosening his tie in annoyance. “Degradation? Who degrades you?” he asks. He turns off the lamp that arouses my writing senses and switches on the big light by the fireplace, blinding my eyes without warning.
“Dammit, Ryan. Seriously?” I blink several times, letting my eyes adjust to the brightness. I look at his crotch and wonder if there’s a wet spot, very tempted to ask if she was better than me. No, that would ruin the fun, wouldn’t it? That would definitely ruin my high. I put the blunt between my lips and inhale, taking in the drug with complete satisfaction. The whole house smells of weed, a favorite odor of mine. I’m surprised he doesn’t detest the act.
“Who degrades you?” he throws his tie on the couch, picking up the open beer bottle on the coffee table and taking a swig.
“It’s fiction,” I sigh, watching him gulp down the substance, “it’s not real.”
I watch him finish the whole bottle, “That’s what you always say.”
“It’s true,” I shrug.
I lean over to smash the blunt on the ash tray, and get up from the couch, taking my laptop with me. I attempt to walk past his obnoxious frame, but he stops me, standing in my way to go upstairs. He tilts my chin up so I can look at him, his dark eyes casting shadows in mine, hair still dripping from the rain. My God, he reeks of sex, practically sweating from her doing, the fucking. I’m not surprised he’s done it tonight, but he could have been at least discreet. Car sex has a certain aura, and to him, he’s a man for it. I needed some time to write anyway. You’re mistaken if you think I’m hurt.
He trails his finger down my cold cheek, eyeing my cleavage in lust, dreaming of ripping off the black tights I still have on, “You know you’re lucky, right? Lucky to have me.”
I roll my eyes, “Yeah, so lucky.”
His thick eyebrows furrow as if I’ve just slapped his dick. I’d like to say I take on the personalities and attitudes of the characters in my stories, especially when the woman grips the man by his throat. But in this case, the character is me, so frankly, I’m not sure why he’s surprised. I always have to be the one to stroke his ego, to tell this little boy he’s a man. I’m too high to give a fuck, if he couldn’t tell already.
Before I know it, he takes a strong hold of my chin, and squeezes it, hard, “Your sarcasm is not doing you any good.” Typical. I attempt to move my head away, feeling the pain radiate through my blood, but he forces me to stay still, making me look directly into his eyes with disgust. “Not many men would let a woman like you write like you do. You say it’s all fiction. It better be.”
My nose flares at the pressure and I tug and tug and tug until he finally let’s go. Look at him, look at the power he thinks he’s entitled to have. There’s anger in his eyes, a tick in his jaw. And I can feel it coming; the degradation, the aggression, the sincere belittlement he loves to commit until I’ve bled on the floor.
But then it disappears.
He stumbles back as if he lost his balance.
“Whoa,” I touch his arm to steady him. “Are you okay?” I ask.
He pushes my hand away, “Um…I feel kind of-“
“Funny?” I finish.
He nods, stumbling backwards again. He touches his neck, clears his throat, baffled by the sensation in his body. He begins to cough, and cough, coughs again for relief. Something must be stuck in his throat, blocking an airway, preventing him to breathe. He coughs once more, rougher this time, a bit coarse to the point it’s quite concerning.
“You don’t look so good,” I say, setting my laptop back on the couch.
His face flushes this time, reddens, strains, and he’s coughing twice more, coughing, coughing, and coughing, his body attempting to rid the toxin. And then he’s choking, my God, he’s choking! His throat closes in, suffocating his chords so he no longer speaks, and his knees give out from under him, slumping down on the wooden floor with a thud, kneeling before me. Tears begin to form underneath his eyelids, and he looks up at me in terror, wide-eyed and afraid, blue veins bulging out of his neck like maps to Satan. He waits for me to answer his plea, expects me to call for help, to panic and cry, be mortified by the sight. And that’s what a good girlfriend would do. A good girlfriend should be begging him to breathe, to stay with her, to love her until death takes her first.
But as his body begins to convulse in front of me, and the choking sounds become a sort of choir I love to hear, I decide to just walk over to the coffee table, and pick up the empty beer bottle he willingly chugged. I show it to him, squatting so the bottle would meet his eyes. I wave it in his face like a child with a shiny new toy, “I knew you would drink the whole thing. Such a good boy.”
I step away when he reaches for me, almost laughing at the gesture, “Oh, no, no. Don’t play the victim now. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life. All those stories?” I smile, “And you thought they weren’t real.”
He chokes and chokes, seizing out of control, weakening by the minute. And then I watch him, right in front of my feet, die — for his sins and commitments, for the collective abuses, kicks and punches, for the bruises on feeble arms, scars on innocent lovers, for the 20 women he fucked and dry pussies he ate, for the boy that he is.
Yellow, creamy pus forms from between his lips, bubbles at his chin, and then his body grows limp, eyes beautifully cold.
I get up and sit on the couch, set the laptop on my thighs. I open it up to Word, and type away the rest.
A woman, like me, must write.
And trust me when I say, yes, I am so lucky to have him, for him to be mine.
My lovers have never called me “nuts,” but…
*Originally published under my pen name Celena Woods https://celenawoods.wixsite.com/mypersonalescape