An Open Letter To The Girl Who Punched Me

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I’m sorry I yelled the word “bitch” out loud. I’m sorry you thought I was talking to you. I wasn’t. I was just drunk and talking as loudly as I do when I drink, I’m sorry. For me, it’s something I throw around really easily but when it gets thrown back at me, I recoil. I remember how much of a punch that word can pack.

I have the feeling I’m not the only person who’s thrown that word around near you. If I knew who you were, I would tell you that I’m sorry you thought I said that to you, I’m sorry anyone’s ever said that to you, I’m sorry the world has given you so much hate when you’re so young. Because you didn’t slap me. You punched me. It takes a lot of hatred and anger and emotion to curl your fingers into a fist and pound that fist into someone else’s face, someone who you’ve never seen before and will probably never see again. When you’re doing that, you’re not punching the nameless stranger. You’re punching every person who’s ever hit you, hurt you, taught you how to hate, shown you the ugliness lying under the skin, violated you and caused you a pain that you shouldn’t have to know.

I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was talking to my friend, and when I screamed it into the night air outside the bar, I think I was the tinder to your match. You only need a little encouragement to burst into flame, a little agitation. You only needed something to strike against. Someday it’s gonna be someone else in my place and they aren’t going to be so stunned. They’re going to punch you back. They’re going to punch back harder than you. So if I see you again, I want to say to you: please don’t punch anyone ever again.

Bitch is a nasty word. Its connotations are everything that is most despicably female. Nasty and underhand and backstabbing, manipulative. But it’s more than that — it’s everything males are most scared of in females. It’s the most male tendencies in a woman. It’s a cruel and hurtful word, because it insults your personality and your gender and the most basic parts that make up who you are, all at the same time. When I’m sober I remember how much that word can knock you down. But I was drunk last night and I forgot. I won’t forget again.

I learned a lesson last night but I don’t know if you did. I wish you could have. I wish there was some other way of relieving the gaping jagged edges inside of you other than lashing out at other people, like I think you feel the world has lashed out on you. I didn’t even see your face; if I saw you again I wouldn’t know it was you. I just know that you were blonde and you were wearing white. You were all in white. A white fist hurtling out of the darkness and then pain, a lot of pain, and shock. Shock more than anything else.

I couldn’t look at you. I couldn’t think. I knew instinctively that fist wasn’t meant for me. That fist was meant for whatever is eating you up inside and I hope, I hope so much, that someday soon you find a way to conquer it, to push past the hate that lives in you and smother it with your will to live. I can’t fathom what you deal with, I don’t know you beyond that night. I just hope that you never find yourself in a situation where you feel the need to punch anyone ever again. TC mark

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