Stopping Me from Stopping Me (Pt. 5: A Piece on Feminism)

Last week, I started a Jiu Jitsu class. For one thing, I’ve had anger issues and superfluous amounts of aggression for many, many years. I could explain why but I think it would be a waste of time and if I’ve learned anything about being a powerful woman, it’s not to waste my time. Another reason that I started it is for self-defense. I also don’t feel like I need to explain that. I live in downtown L.A. with a skinny white girl as a roommate and we’re basically walking targets on top of the fact that I can have a pretty bad attitude. I guess I did need to explain it. Finally, and what I believe is most important, I started Jiu Jitsu because I have been trained that I shouldn’t be strong and that I should actively work against my natural ability to overpower people in certain situations. Let me go ahead and make myself controversial now. I don’t like controversy, and I don’t like when people start arguments just to start them, but this is something that has bothered me for a while and I feel that it needs to be addressed specifically in the town where I was raised and so I will rip the band-aid off for all of you and I guess we’ll find out who agrees and who thinks I’m going to hell.
I was raised in a culture that is based around marriage and families. This alone is not a harmful thing. It becomes an issue only when you realize that men in this culture are generally expected to build a career and women are generally expected to find something to do until they get married. You hear it suggested in conversation. For example, you start to notice when prospective marriage partners are the first thing you’re asked about by people you haven’t seen in a while. I don’t know why it’s bothered me much more since I’ve moved to L.A. To be honest, I don’t think about marriage or relationships or starting a family. Here in L.A., I get asked about it a lot less. When I went home, though, I was asked way too many times if I was seeing anyone; with no follow up questions. It honestly caught me so off guard. I move to L.A., start a new life, begin working on a new career with new friends, and the only thing I got asked about from several people was if there was a man in my life. That is insane to me. I used to have more understanding for it, but I’ve honestly lost my patience. IF YOU CAN NOT FIND ANYTHING TO ASK ME ABOUT EXCEPT A MAN IN MY LIFE, JUST DON’T ASK ABOUT ME. We can part ways as impartial acquaintances.
This last week I spent in Texas for my only niece’s birthday party. Side note: she is a perfect human. I didn’t believe it at first either, but yeah, it’s happening. Anyways, while I was home I met with a younger girl that I care for deeply and who I know has looked up to me for some time. She told me that a family member had set her up with a boy that she had been on a date or two with and that she had a lot of reservations about him. She told me about a few extremely odd quirks, and a few things that honestly just broadcasted his immaturity. The look on my face became more and more disrespectful, when I finally just said, “Um. It sounds to me like you just don’t like him. You should get out of that.” She said, “Yeah, it’s just my family keeps telling me to just be understanding because he’s never had a relationship before.” I almost flipped the table. In case that sounds rational to you, let me explain something. Under NO circumstances should a grown woman have to slow her intelligence and/or maturity for a man who is still acting like a boy just so that she can be in a relationship. Furthermore, it shouldn’t matter to parents whether or not they’re daughter has a male on her arm. That is such blatant disrespect for her individuality, and even her independent humanity. It’s unacceptable.
I have known girls from my hometown who have literally broken down in tears because their biggest anxiety was that they would never get married. THEY DIDN’T COME UP WITH THAT ON THEIR OWN, PEOPLE. To be clear, women are not victims who got brainwashed as small children, but culture is a powerful thing. That said, with the rising power of females also comes a responsibility for the things we have let happen. All I’m expecting is equality. It’s not something I’m asking for. It’s to the point where anyone who doesn’t provide a mindset and attitude of equality is below the standard for this country. I’m calling out everyone with this. Every gender, all fathers, daughters, teachers, and everyone else who has relationships with women and has the ability to think freely, which is every mentally stable person. This fear of not being loved has created a mindset that if women are too powerful we will die alone. Listen, y’all. I do not care. I could never love a coward who was threatened by my strength anyways. I will only love when my strength is an asset and equal to the strength of my partner. It’s pathetic that anyone would expect me to expect less.
How many advances has this world missed because women stopped themselves short of their capacity for progress due to a fear of love lost? Even more than that, why would anyone want our planet to continue in this direction? Being too powerful is only a threat when it’s used to harm people. So why are we telling girls that they should slow themselves down and have “understanding” for boys that in reality are simply not on their level? (Another side note: I will never use my power to harm people, and I could never love a man who had power that was accentuated by ill will. Evil intent and power should be kept separate, and they’re too often two sides to the same card.)
Personally, I’ve been too strong for my own good my whole life. Physically, I mean. For those of you who don’t know, in high school I used to deadlift three hundred pounds. There was a few men who really encouraged this. Namely, my dad, my powerlifting and basketball coaches, and Jason Phillip who showed up at my competitions whether I liked it or not (btw, thanks u da OG). Ultimately, though, “I could squat you and your dog” is not the first thing you should say to a boy you think is cute, I have found. My whole life I’ve been told I needed to be more gentle, quieter, and be less specific about exactly what I thought as to not intimidate those who had more generic opinions, especially if it was someone who I wanted to date me. But that was never a good enough reason for me. I have a good dad; he told me my strength was good. He used to have me named ‘Supergirl’ and ‘Supergenius’ in his phone. Maybe that’s why I can’t care if weak men love me. I may never know.
I joined Jiu Jitsu because I’m finally choosing to fight back against the mindset that being powerful is a bad thing. I’ve been holding myself back for so long, and now I have to stop myself from stopping myself. I expect a lot from the progress of humanity, and I guess I’ve finally accepted that in my life, that starts with me. I’m so proud to be a woman. I’m so proud of my strong female sisters and best friends. I stay strong because of those people who have loved me even when I was too much, and pushed me to be better. I’m not afraid of my power anymore. In fact, it’s the fuel behind everything I do. So I’ll fight my way out of the mindset that holding myself back is the best way to succeed. I can’t believe I ever bought that.

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