I have deconstructed my life and my beliefs, and their concepts & notions, and the cultural structures that built me, so many times, that I no longer know which is true and which is not, and which is the whole and which – a part of my social construction. Today, with the global network, we get to have all the perspectives on one plate, which makes it all so fascinating to explore and dissect, to judge and critique; but also so much harder, if not impossible, to pick and stick with what is true for yourself.
I am, nowadays, living the, what is now trendy, cliché – I am a 30-year-old single woman, from a white middle-class background, with all the privileges that this brings with itself – including a plethora of disorders as part of my identity. And as such, I am no longer sure whether it is an enforced sexualised and fetishised body image when I put my high heels on or is this one of the prerogatives of my profile. And should I choose to wear a burka – would that deprive me of my inborn human right to express myself or would it, on the contrary, allow my persona to shine through, without being judged and, again, sexualised. I am no longer sure whether I should grow my pubic hair or not, and should I demand of men to epilate their bodies and cover up their faces. I recently read that the premenstrual discomfort that I have been experiencing ever since I shed my first egg, is actually a myth, and I was only led to believe that my poor female body is meant to suffer, where actually it is not, and I should give up these non-sense, and instead aim for a CEO position at a high-profile corporate company. I am no longer sure.
The other day I was catcalled on the street. I knew I was supposed to get angry, shout back and punish the men who, by predisposition feel superior and entitled to treat me as a sex-object and not take into account my academic background, professional achievements and kind personality. I didn’t shout back. I didn’t even feel offended. I felt good and smiled on the inside (as I do) because it’s been a while since anyone paid attention to all the efforts, time and money I invest, to look the way I do. They were construction workers * (**)
Of course, I cannot not*** say anything about slut-shaming because I have been on both extremes of the spectrum and can tell you this – slut is a universal word that simply exists to dismiss a female person altogether. I have been called a slut for being a sexual being and acting upon it, and I have also been called a slut for refusing to engage into a sexual encounter. Therefore, some time ago I enrolled myself into a pole-dancing course, with the faint hope that I would resurrect a deeply suppressed part of my femininity by confronting the social stigma and shit, and today I can proudly say: I can climb a pole and get down on it in a very sexy manner, but still have no connection with my alleged femininity and struggle with the same issues and insecurities; only now I don’t call them issues and insecurities, I just don’t call them at all.
I have also learned that guys have to deal with the same uncertainty of being. Us girls, we are told that guys are emotionless, tough and purpose orientated, and the purpose is usually to spread their seed over the Globe and play video games and/or football. But I know – this is bullshit and “tough” is just a word that I chant to myself when I am stuck in the bathroom at work, cramping, crying and preparing for yet another decision to take in my life – should I give up on men and humanity, should I move to another continent and start all over again, or should I just kill myself and get it all over with.
Having said that: being a 30-year-old Irina feels right, with all the ups and downs, and lefts and rights, and rights and wrongs, and shit and stuff. I hope you guys appreciate yourselves and the people around you and I hope we are all headed in one and the same direction – sharing the good stuff in life. I have put together a short reminder list for y’all:
cup of tea
dimples and freckles
tears of joy
sand on the beach
*I am almost sure that they didn’t even know what ‘predisposition’ is. But yet again, many of today’s construction workers are Syrian refugees with education probably much better than mine and only forced by necessity and life-circumstances, to earn their living by executing manual labour. Or not.
(**) and also – construction workers! – we obviously had some things in common – constructing and deconstructing stuff, right?
** Native English speakers, is the double negative annoying the duck out of you?