I hang up the phone. I take a deep breath. I pour myself a diet coke and do a quick Spotify search. “Fiona Apple.” I decide to let any song play, it’s not really so important which one. I sit down on my tufted velvet blue couch, directly under the meticulously designed, Pinterest-inspired gallery wall of my art. I cross my legs and take one more deep breath.
And then I start to cry.
I cry because, for the second time in a week, I have been interrupted and called “sweetie” during a business meeting while defending my opinion. I cry because, while I know and can comprehend the impetus behind such behavior and name calling, it makes me feel small. I cry because I let it make me feel small.
I cry because I’m wasting my motherfucking energy allowing someone to victimize me.
I get up. I throw my glass. I like to throw things. How very masculine of me. Breaking things and throwing shit and punching walls has always made me feel better. I do feel better. I look at my stupid gallery wall and I contemplate spending the rest of today taking it down and making the whole living room a space to write an angry epitaph to my bullshit and weak emotional side. I say out loud to no one, “Should I cut my hair short again?” and then I laugh because I’m talking to myself. I have great conversations with myself. I think about flushing all my makeup down the toilet and donating every piece of clothing I’ve ever felt sexy in. I take another deep breath. I am angry.
I am angry because I didn’t have a smart retort ready in response to “sweetie.” I am angry because I should’ve said something smarter. I should be smarter, in the moment. I am not smart. I am weak. I am bad at standing up for myself. I am not as smart as I think I am. I am angry at myself for thinking I was smarter than I am.
I walk to my room and put on my sneakers. On the way back from my bedroom I pick up the shattered pieces of glass and the spilled diet coke. Why do I pick it up? I liked it there. It was a nice visual representation of my anger splashed against my stupid fucking gallery wall. I don’t know. I feel obligated to keep things clean and organized. I grab a hat and a sweatshirt. I look ugly. I go on a three mile run. I sweat.
I come back to my home and kick off my sneakers and revel in my own sweat and filth and subdued anger and sadness. I smell. I like smelling after I run. I like knowing I made all the sweat that seeps out of my pores, I like watching the sweat run off my muscles, off my calves. I stare at my sweaty muscles in the mirror, how very masculine of me. I grab a larger than necessary glass of wine. Women love wine. I sit across from my stupid fucking gallery wall. I start to cry. Again.
I cry because I picked up the broken glass and I cry because I love diet coke and Fiona Apple and putting on makeup and white wine and pretty clothes and my long hair and laughing and crying and really the purging of all emotion. I cry because I know women who are treated even more inferior than I have been or am, on a daily basis. I cry because I know black women who’ve been treated so poorly and disgustingly that my “sweetie” comment is rendered obsolete and laughable in comparison. There is no comparison. And finally, I cry because I could never take down my stupid fucking gallery wall.
I take one more deep breath. I call my mother. I’m still crying.