Being a woman comes with a truckload of taboos. You wear them like a tiny secret pocket monthly (your period), weekly (sexual harassment) and daily (masturbation). While really, we could be wearing those taboos like fluorescent, glow in the dark fancy dresses and get rid of them for once and for all. There are millions of other taboos, but these three are the ones I feel like I have been struggling with recently.
The #metoo movement stirred something within me. Reading stories of friends being harassed, even on a daily basis, broke my heart and made me feel sick to my stomach. Because we've all been there. And way too often, out of total helplessness, we could not fight back, or even yell back. I ignored many insults and dirty propositions, touch and talk because what would happen if I'd try and fight back? Something worse. Once I yelled at an older man making vulgar moves on me, he spit in my face and raised his hand to hit me. Brussels, broad daylight. That's when I learned to keep my mouth shut.
But not anymore! Because this is my platform, my freedom of speech! Where, for far too long, I have kept quiet about taboos that I really don't want to keep secret. Because I believe that the way to break a taboo is by talking about it. So let's talk. I can tell you about the beauty of bleeding. How what looks like ten people got murdered in your pants and makes your body collapse with pain, can bring such a relief at the same time. How happy I am to not be pregnant, because I wouldn't have a clue who the father may be. How I still feel like a silly teenager doing the walk of shame to the pharmacy to buy the morning after pill.
If you think that's getting too personal, I am not done yet. How about masturbation? Do you know how hard it is to find a travel sized vibrator that doesn't look like a giant penis? Do you know the colour of my cheeks when it started vibrating in my backpack, in the airport? Being a single woman travelling, makes for many great stories, but even more awkward ones. And I embrace them all! Just as I embraced the stares when I walked down the street with every ex-boyfriend who was not quite 20 yet. Young boys! Another taboo!
Call me a cougar, call me too much, roll your eyes and make sounds of disgust with everything you read. These are all signs of taboo. I have never written about any of this, because the taboos stopped me from doing so. From speaking my mind, sharing my experiences and going into detail. Maybe you don't want to know, but I am happy to share nonetheless.