What is fear? Most dictionaries define fear in relation to feelings of apprehension, calamity, and dread. Experientially, fear has to do with the feeling that something unpleasant or even terrible is going to happen. (courtesy: http://www.authentic-breathing.com/transforming_fear.htm
It is a scary deal to confront your fear but it can be quite liberating too. And this you don’t realise until you do confront it. As you feel the burden disappear off your shoulders, you breathe easier and have your aha!
Yesterday, I did it.
My brain had registered him by now. He had approached me twice at the park. I hadn’t paid any attention then. I noticed him outside my house and a belated registration occurred. I was wary now. Not particularly worried though. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? And I realise when I say it how wrong it sounds. Its like…..
Its like how I think our kids and their kids will grow up – so used to violence. The ‘terror’ in the ‘terror acts’ will be lost for them. They will be “resilient” towards acts of violence. Its wrong and sad and has a sense of hopeless-ness about it but that’s how I see it.
After you have been letched at, groped, felt up, flashed at a wild number of times, it no longer seems to bother. There isn’t anything they are going to say to me that I haven’t already heard before. There is a sense of comfort and confidence on reaching that extreme. (Although reflects very poorly on the state of society if a member feels its quite natural to be violated…..)
Another result is that you know when it will happen too. You develop a ‘third eye’. Ask women around you – they can instinctively predict such things. Sometimes, one quick look at the perp is enough. I knew how and when he was going to approach me again. I knew it would be the darkest furthest stretch of the park. I knew it would be a moment when the track was relatively empty. So it did happen. I saw him suddenly appear a few feet ahead of me on the track.
By now, I was annoyed more than anything. I have started enjoying my evening run. It’s me and my music. I do not want to waste energy looking over my shoulder. It is taxing to be cautious all the time. I turned around and saw no one behind me. The annoyance at the expected situation riled me up further. I pulled the earphones out and yelled out to him. He stopped approaching me. I started walking towards him. I saw confusion on his face. Obviously, this he hadn’t planned for. He mumbled some things (which btw I genuinely didn’t understand) so I asked him to speak louder (and I was pretty loud by now…… hoping some couple groping behind the bushes might jump up for support!) I took a step towards him. He pulled out some flyer (this he had tried earlier and I had put it down as harmless sales) and made some more mumbled excuses.
In the end, he walked away from me! In the end, I did not need anyone else to back me up. In the end, I realised that though not overtly worried it had been bothering me. I know a lot of people may not see bravery in it (my mother, for example!) It just seemed the right thing to do then. And right now, it feels quite good so yeah, chance all over again, I’d still do it.
PS – sometimes, I wish castration was a legal punishment ( and yes, that’s quite a violent thought but hey…. a girl can dream…….)