Background: A 22 year old guy named Elliot Rodger killed some people, after posting a video saying “it’s not fair” that women don’t give him love and sex.
I’m gonna give you some of my perspective here. If you’re curious about my perspective, read on. If you’re looking for someone to make wrong, please go read an awesome comic like Saga instead, or watch My Neighbor Totoro. I started this post feeling some real fucking fury. I hope I’ve worked through that, but I recommend you come at it with empathy for my experience, or not at all. I’m not interested in a fight or a debate about whether I should feel how I feel. And if you think someone who is obsessed with compassion can’t experience fury, you’ve been fed a load of crap. And not by me. Just saying.
So keep in mind here that I wasn’t always fat, middle aged, with purple hair and an attitude that says “I really don’t need your approval, thank you very much”. I used to be a young woman, with all that goes with that. Oh, and here’s a surprise: As a fat, middle aged woman with purple hair and attitude, I have a much richer love & sex life than I ever had as a young woman with a curling iron and heels. And less harassment. Yay!
So here are three things I’m thinking about.
First, this is not a shock.
Seriously, though murder is rare, the rest of this is really familiar to me and lots of other women. Hear what I’m saying. This is totally normal. This is what life is like. This is not a new thing, not a strange thing, not a shocker. The fact that he killed people makes it slightly different, but get this please: It’s not shocking to us that he feels this way. We’ve heard it before. We expect to hear it again.
We’ve been yelled at on the street — many of us have heard that we are a desirable sex-target, and then in the next breath, that we are repulsive. (Imagine a catcall accompanied by a crude invitation, then when we don’t respond, comments about how we should appreciate the attention cuz we’re ugly/fat/etc…) We’ve seen lonely guys give us angry glares from across the room, just because they assume we won’t go out with them. Many of us have had terrifying demands laid on us, or been grabbed, even raped, by a guy who decided he was entitled to “receive” the sex that we had to “give”.
I’d really like folks to know that, in my experience, at least, this is not a shocking thing.
Second, it really hurts to be lonely.
It really sucks to be lonely. It sucks to think of yourself as unworthy of being loved. I remember believing in middle school that only cool kids would ever have love and sex. The rest of us weren’t worthy. It’s a shitty feeling. (One day, in a Walmart-like-place, I noticed a bunch of non-cool people holding hands and smiling and kissing. I was like I’ve been lied to! Nerd love is real! So, so happy. ^__^ But I digress.)
[Edit] That feeling of being unlovable hurts so much, and I’m sad to think of anyone feeling that. And I also have zero confidence in this guy’s theory about what caused it. Whatever the cause, my experience tells me there are solutions. They involve mindfulness and learning better ways to connect with people. Starting with…
People are fucking human beings, not objects for you to gain things from.
Here’s the thing. It sucks to be lonely. But this isn’t about being lonely. When you’re loney, you cry. It’s about being lonely (among other things) and then deciding that other people exist for your satisfaction. That other people owe you some of *them* to make *you* happy. Speaking to whoever is holding this theory that I owe them something: Guess what? *I do not owe you shit.* I might take delight in your existence. I might have compassion for you, enjoy listening to you, like to spend time with you. I might like to fuck you. Or I might not. Guess who gets to decide that? Not you.
My time, my attention and my body are all mine. They are not yours. If you think they are, you are not likely to get any of my attention.
Can we please teach all our children this?