I don't know exactly what's been happening to me over the last couple of years, but I'm starting to... uh... speak my mind a bit more. It's the strangest thing. I don't know if it's just a general surge in confidence, or a growing awareness of mortality that makes me a little ballsier, or a fluctuation in hormones that has put a fritz in my filter, or what... But I've become less apologetic about my opinions and also: less and less tolerant of disrespectful, dismissive, and socially harmful behavior. I mean, like it's really lodged into my craw, and I can't get this seedy little bastard out.
So, I've started calling people on their shit. I've become that person!
[I would like to state that I think I accept people calling me on my shit pretty damn well, too, for the record.]
A few weeks ago, I drove around the block to confront some teenage boys who threw a snowball at my car. Not yelling. I just wanted them to explain their decision to lodge a snowball at an innocent stranger's moving vehicle. They could not. So I suggested they reconsider their choices if they can't come up with intelligent explanations for them.
I've been doing LONG overdue pushing and prodding and pointing, in my professional world. (In fact, the pushing and prodding and pointing have started to exhaust my resources, and I'm noticing physical stress responses, which is why today I am at home tending to those.)
But my biggest moment so far came Tuesday.
Due to the professional pushing and prodding and pointing, and the subsequent appearance of some physical stress responses, I have been working on "letting go of that which I cannot control." (Do I need to explain what a really f'ing difficult feat this is?) I've had this glitch in my character for as long as I can remember. And for several years now "Learn to like yoga" has been on my to-do list.
I do not like yoga.
I have a strange reaction to yoga. It makes me mad. Every time I do yoga, I just feel pissed off and annoyed. I don't understand why others thing it's so calming and centering. What is WRONG WITH ME? (Which reminds me of when I tried to like pot when I was 20, just like the rest of my hippie friends. Oh, it looked like such a grand beautiful giggly great time. Peace and love, Dude! But me? Nope. It just made me paranoid and morose.) I've blamed it before on how friggin' slow everything is. And I hate being talked to in soothing tones. Gaw, just spit it out, lady! I'm not a mother truckin' tulip! Holy J(H)esus!
But someone recently (I don't remember who, but it may have been my friend, Maggie), said, "That's probably a sign that you need to do more yoga." Yes, I suppose so. Yoga reminds me of how much anger and irritation I repress on a daily basis.
So, last weekend I bought 3 books of yoga. I don't want to go to a class. I like to do things alone. Tuesday mornings, the group fitness room at the gym is empty. So I took one of my books, grabbed a mat, and practiced some poses, went through a basic "energizing morning sequence."
Salutations to the sun, Chipper Sprite.
I finished feeling... I don't know. Not really relaxed, but my body was definitely responding to a new and much slower morning workout. I cleaned off my mat thinking this was really the start of something. I would push through the discomfort, and I would be changed. I would be Peace, incarnate.
It was too early to shower and leave. Plus, one of my books said you should wait about 30 minutes to shower, so you don't wash off, uh... Prana? I don't know. Like yoga puts you in a sleepy dream suit and if you take a shower, it'll get wet and lose all its sleepy magical dream powers. Whatever. You don't have to tell me twice.
So I hopped on a treadmill and set it to a nice, slow, relaxing 2.0. Immediately, who should enter and take the treadmill in front of me?
ROD, THE GYM PERV.
I wrote about a very nasty and horrible experience with him: HERE. Oops. Nope. It appears I deleted that post. To summarize: he took the treadmill next to me, and kept looking over at my boobs while I was running. Then when he was finished looking at my boobs, he walked behind my treadmill, stopped, and stared pointedly at my ass for an uncomfortable few seconds. It felt horrible. Diminishing. Violating. Whore-ish. And I wanted to leave immediately. Instead, I kept running and watched him for 30 minutes do the EXACT same thing to every woman there. It's WAYYYY beyond the normal checking-people-out behavior. Being checked out normally by someone at the gym doesn't bother me (because I've probably already done it to them.).
Allow me to reiterate that I have not overdramatized that experience and the absolutely sickening SICKENING energy that emanates from his presence. What he does to women at my gym is despicable and far beyond anything decent. I hate it. I absolutely hate it.
So, fresh from my "quiet the raging storm" yoga, I see F'ING ROD. He NEVER comes to the gym that early. NEVER!
I actually said, aloud to the universe, "Are you testing me? Seriously?"
Because I do think the universe needles with me, as I stated in my LAST POST about the orgasmic grunters. I think I have extra sensitive receptors when it comes to the world. And I truly have days where I feel, physically, like the entire universe is being amplified straight into my head. I can't describe it, exactly, but I know I'm not the only one who experiences it, so I'll just leave it up to you to make the connections. Relatedly, I think one of my life missions is how to reconcile the vast injustice and grotesqueness, and generally very bad and harmful energy that I soak up, and still cast light and remain peaceful.
Hence: Do yoga. Be IMMEDIATELY put to the test.
So... I'm walking. Rod is walking. Rod is craning his neck around the man next to him to watch the woman next to him. He is leaning around the front of the man to look at her boobs while she runs. He is leaning around the back of the man to watch her ass while she runs (literally, he had to bend at the knees and contort to stare very directly and blatantly at her ass). He is ogling the boobs of the women leaving spin class and heading back to the locker rooms. He is turning around to watch their asses while they enter the locker rooms.
I had enough.
I got off my treadmill and felt myself starting to tremble. I squeezed in beside his treadmill, to the front, looked up at him, pointed, and said:
"I see what you do, and it's not okay.
They way you look at women is not okay.
You've done it to me, and I see you do it to everyone else.
On the woman's part, it feels like shit to be looked at like that, and you need to stop or not come here."
He mumbled something then said, "I thought I knew her."
To that I said, "Bullshit." and walked back to the locker room. Still trembling.
I debriefed to a gym friend, and she high-fived me. Then I washed off the magical sleepy yoga dream suit (clearly mine is broken), and left for work. Within a block, I honked at a man who was texting instead of driving forward at the GREEN LIGHT in front of me. Then, I got to work and pushed and prodded and pointed.
Yes, clearly, I need to do more yoga.
Dear world, I cannot solve your problems today. Please leave a message.