I could build a castle out of all the bricks they've thrown at me.
I am okay.
Last night, I held my gun in my hand and thought about how much I have gone through in life. I reflected on life's hurts beginning with elementary school when I was bullied because I was black and first called a nigger at 6, the murder of my brother when I was 7, junior high school when I was a "fat" "cripple," high school when I was just crippled and had been under the knife seven times by the time I graduated, the rapes, the abuse in my last relationship (he raped me too,) the PCOS and the obesity, all of it…somehow, I'm STILL the same selfless person I have always been, willing to give all I have for others.
To the people who contributed and are actively contributing to my public flogging, FUCK YOU. No, seriously. If you'd have caught me towards a downward cyclothymic trend, I wouldn't be writing this and your remorse would be meaningless. I saved myself from depression and became determined, determination became defiance, and defiance became decisiveness. I plan on painting a very special art piece and donating to Planned Parenthood so women with PCOS can get care when they need it. My very real and deep hurt can be someone else's healing.
I saw, prior to closing my eyes, an accusation that I did this for attention. Who would want this attention? I don't want your attention, it was forced upon me. I was told to delete the Twitter app, log off, I was told to assume responsibility for your calloused disregard for me and my well-being. You all took turns violating me again and again and again as I simply existed. Had I not endured this kind of thing my entire life, I would've fallen.
To the people that expressed care, who took an active interest in trying to come to my defense: I'm not really in a position to respond to you, not because I don't truly appreciate you, but because I simply can't express that appreciation without unraveling. I'm strong, but not that strong. I couldn't really comprehend the actual support because it would've meant subjecting myself to the bile in my mentions that is still coming in, ebbing and flowing like the tides.
While I'm disclosing personal details, and people are being inappropriately demanding and intrusive, you should also know that PCOS has a genetic component, that I have lived my entire life with a desire to be a mother, and might not ever be able to see that dream come true. You're right, my facial hair is hilarious (forgive me if I don't laugh,) but $10,000 dollars for fertility treatments that increase my risk of cancer, not so much. Imagine, choosing smooth skin over motherhood, and motherhood over my own life. Women faced with that kind of decision sometimes face the choice of terminating pregnancy to undergo chemotherapy. Yes, this is funny, isn't it?
I received money from the person who caused all of this, which came with an apology that I don't know that I accept for several reasons and they are as follows:
True remorse means that you'd delete the tweet that began this targeted harassment, that you'd delete your tweets defending your action, that you not broadcast the fact that you sent me money in an attempt to convince other people that you 1. did, in fact pay me to remove my facial hair, underscoring your joke, while simultaneously insinuating that I can't afford it myself, as opposed to just not feeling like it and 2. went above and beyond to make it look like your pockets aren't hurt and you're a good guy after all. You can't be the good guy without remorse and, with all I know about the world of psychology, I know an empty gesture when I see it.
So, here's where your money went:
Last month, as I watched a homeless man get harrassed by an officer for panhandling an intersection I began to film it. When the officer saw me, he left the man alone. I spoke to the man and told him that I was not filming him to embarrass him, but filming to make sure he would be okay. He said, "they're always doing this, messing with me to give me another court date."* Face to face, it was clear that he was suffering from cataracts and had mental health issues. To him, I gave the money you gave to me, save for five dollars which I put towards the cost of a simple scarf to wear over my head which I will wear to a local mosque where I will offer to paint over any graffiti hate crimes they're subjected to and to be an intermediary any time anyone goes anywhere and doesn't feel safe.
Because of you, other women came to me and compared symptoms (I referred them to an OB/GYN,) others came to me and shared fears they'd never be mothers, and as I cried, another woman showed me her dark skin on her panniculus today, worried she had diabetes; I made a new friend when I offered to work out alongside her.
I remain determined, defiant, and dedicated to others.
Thanks for these days, they will be memorable. I was victimized again, yet though my head is bloodied, it's STILL unbowed.
* Little Rock passed a law in the midterm election of 2014 that criminalizes panhandling which disproportionately affects African-Americans and, specifically, the poor such that, once cited, they remained imprisoned.