I experienced something last night that left me feeling triggered and sad, to be honest. I knew it was something I wanted to blog about. Last night I discovered that scientists were saying there would be a chance to see the Northern Lights in various places throughout Washington. This is a bucket list item for me and to hear I could possibly see them close to home, had me all excited! However, my excitement quickly faded ...
As a single woman, who lives alone, I then had to go down the list of considerations that entered into this equation.
* Where can I go?
* Will I be safe?
* Can I protect myself?
* Will anyone go with me?
* Who can I leave my trip plan with?
I contacted my best friend, who is a guy, and he immediately went into all the reasons it was NOT a good idea. I hung up the phone feeling irritated & sad. Irritated because I really wanted to go chase this phenomenon and sad because all the reasons he brought up were valid.
The fact of the matter is, women DO have to think about this type of stuff all of the time - that's our reality. I know that any man in my position last night, would not have thought twice about going out. Not to say that bad things don't happen to men but women are a much bigger target.
My parents were divorced when I was pretty young and I was primarily raised by my mom. She raised me to be very independent and always told me that I didn't need a man to do anything. I carried that mentality into my adult life and I'm very independent just like my mom. Yes, I still have wonderful relationships in my life, but I never feel like I NEED one to feel complete. I have always enjoyed living by myself and I have also traveled many places alone as well. In my 20's I didn't even give it two thoughts and looking back I was probably in some situations I should not have been but never felt unsafe.
I'm not sure if it's because I'm getting older or because we live in a different time (probably both) but I'm far more aware of the dangers that come with being a woman on my own and I think about the situations I put myself in.
Last night the wanderlusting hippie in me wanted to go out and chase the Northern Lights. This side of me always loves to see the best in people and in the world. The practical side of me consults the realist. When I really thought about it and asked myself "Heather, do you feel it's safe to go out late at night, by yourself to sit on a dark beach or pier?" The answer was an instant no! This is where the irritation comes in.
You mean to tell me, because I'm a woman I have to alter my life experiences because of safety? I have to worry about hiking alone (something I also love to do but shouldn't)? I have to worry about getting a van and traveling around the country? I have to worry about going down to Seattle at night by myself? I have to worry that I may be hurt at any time if I choose to adventure alone?
Don't mistake what I'm saying - you shouldn't stop living because something bad may happen and this is what trips me up sometimes. Where do you draw the line of "being safe" and saying "fuck it!?" Do I have to feel like I need a man with me if I want to do things like travel, camp, hike or be out when it's dark?? That's bullshit and it makes me mad!
As I was sitting there last night, wondering if I was missing this spectacular display of nature, I felt like something had been taken from me - like I had been wronged in a sense. I think this plays into how I see the state of our nation today. I feel this is amplified for me because of how much hatred and divide I see going on in America and in the world. Without getting too political, violence has become acceptable and the rights of women are being challenged. We have taken giant steps backward and many people are feeling the impacts of discrimination and fear.
I always try to end my blog posts with positivity or a potential solution but this is different. This is more of an awareness we need to have, especially as women and definitely a conversation we should all be having.
I'd love to hear how all my lady warriors out there feel about this topic. Feel free to send me a message or post a comment to this blog post. This is how awareness is shared ...