I woke up like this.
Yesterday, I decided to take an afternoon nap, like I do on the weekends. I don’t get them during the week, so if you offer me a Saturday nap, I’m all over that shit.
My husband woke me at 8:30 p.m. because he was checking to make sure I was still alive. No joke. I freaked him out, and he was just going to check to see if I was breathing, but I woke up. Quietly startled. Uncertain as to where I was or the day, I was completely confused and disoriented. I’d been asleep nearly 6 hours.
He kept apologizing, and stressing that he was genuinely worried about my wellbeing. I told him it was good he’d woken me up–I might have slept until 2 a.m. and woken up completely freaked out otherwise.
I guess I was tired. I got up, ate a late dinner, and after we watched some television, fell back asleep at 1 a.m. I even slept in until 6:45 this morning, which yes, is “sleeping in” for me.
I wake at or before 5:45 every morning, unless anxiety wakes me earlier. I have a freaky-accurate internal clock. I can set it if I look at the time before falling asleep, and then telling myself the time at which I need to get up in the morning. I usually wake up a few minutes before the alarm goes off.
You may be calling bullshit right now, but my biological father once told me he does the same thing. I have also freaked out my husband on many occasions by sitting up in bed right before the alarm is set to go off. He’s even described this as “creepy.” I have never needed an alarm clock to rise for school or work.
My favorite time of day is spent in the early, still-dark morning when everyone else is asleep, drinking coffee in silence. I love the feeling of a day filled with endless possibilities stretched ahead. If you asked me to define hope, my answer would found in the dawn of any given day.
But I annoy people by being too chatty or cheerful in the morning, so I’ve learned to be quiet. Shut up. Hold in the precious early optimism I’ll possess before something or someone strips it away. I’ve had too many non-morning people snap at me (cue my 5 a.m. shift grocery store coworkers: “Why are you always so fucking happy in the mornings?!”) and it hurts my feelings.
NO MORE GOOD MORNING GREETINGS FOR YOU GRUMPY MOTHERFUCKERS.
Ahem. Anyhow… so yeah, I’m pretty well-attuned to my lizard brain. My instincts are good, and at some point in my late 20s I finally figured out that listening to the little voice inside my head (or gut, as it were) is always the right thing to do.
This may seem obvious to most people, but for women, at least, I can tell you we spend our lives being treated like hysterical, overly-emotional woodland creatures who’ve ventured too far out of the nice, safe forest if we sense and/or react to threat. Unsurprisingly, the wolves are usually doing the talking in this scenario.
I was depressed by the fact that 74% of Gavin DeBecker’s excellent book The Gift of Fear is spent desperately trying to convince women that not only should we listen to and follow our instincts, it’s okay to place boundaries, and also to go on the offensive if we feel threatened.
Not defensive–offensive. If someone wants to hurt you (and if they’re threatening you, they’ve already made that decision), it’s not only okay to fight back, it’s probably the difference between survival or not. And if you must fight, then fight to kill if necessary–because anyone attacking you has every intention of doing the same. There’s no version of attacking a woman in which the perpetrator is planning to be gentle, so don’t hold back.
I already understood this from a young age, and have the PTSD-related abnormal response to threat to show for it, so I read the book impatiently, thinking, “Yes, I get it. Don’t worry–years of rage tamped down inside of me–not afraid to fight back. In fact, give me an excuse, motherfuckers. Now tell me HOW TO DO IT, Gavin DeBecker.” I wanted self-defense techniques. (They finally happen in the last quarter of the book.)
We are trained our whole lives to be nice, nurturing, give everyone the benefit of the doubt; and if we don’t allow those who want to harm us the chance to do so before we can stop them, we’re treated like monsters. Called bitches for placing boundaries. Told not to flatter ourselves by the gaslighting assholes who walk among us when we let them know they’re being inappropriate. It’s infuriating.
I’ve been working on a piece I’ll share here soon about real life examples of sneaky, disguised-as-friendly-banter crossing of boundaries, because I recently had the not shocking to any women anywhere at all experience of 3 versions of this spread out over less than 24 hours. I think it’s a slippery slope, and an area many women, myself included, often forget to include under the sexual harassment umbrella because it’s so subtle.
So yeah, I slept almost 12 hours in the last 20, and I’m about to go take another nap. Because people are wearing me the fuck out. Life is wearing me the fuck out.
I just want people to be cool. Just be cool. Stop being creepy, or pushing boundaries, or being inappropriate under the guise of friendship so you can’t be properly called out for it because you’re a fucking pussy.
Honestly, I’d rather a guy be openly, blatantly creepy than pretend to be my “buddy” while peppering conversations with things they wouldn’t say in front of my (or their) significant other.
So yeah, I’m tired.
I think we all are.