Laura’s First Cat-Call

Trigger Warning: Cursing and discussion of sexual violence

Haven’t written about anything too real recently.

So, I was walking to get groceries on Saturday, to the grocery store that’s about two minutes from our apartment, I was in about the same place that the blackbird attacked me not so many weeks ago. And I saw a group of young men walking towards me. And I knew exactly what was going to happen.

I’ve never been cat-called before. Or heckled in a gender-based way by strangers. However you want to describe it. And you know what’s sad? That’s really surprising. I’m probably one of the very very very few women my age or really women period (or any non-privileged gender I should say) who has escaped this for most of my life.

But yes. I was alone. I was clearly (according to norms) female. Because I was wearing a dress and my hair is growing out so I don’t look quite as much like a teenage boy. And one of them said something like “Hey baby ——“. I tuned out whatever he said next. I didn’t really need to hear it.

I’m ashamed to say I smiled and said hello in as condescending a voice as I could.

What I wanted to do was stop him and say, “Hello. You can be better than this. You don’t need to feel so bad about yourself that the only way you feel empowered is through harassing women. You can be more than what society expects. And more than what I expect.”

But I didn’t say that. I just kept walking. And I was sad. Sad for him and sad for me.

Then I kept walking some more and I stopped being sad. And I started being angry.

Because sadness is not the right answer. Sadness is depressive (at least for me) but anger can drive action.

So I started being angry.

Angry that it’s acceptable to disrespect women on the street. Angry because this disrespect isn’t always in the form of words, which believe me are bad enough. Angry because in Madison last weekend, on a bike trail that runs by my house, a young woman who was on a late night run was sexually assaulted and nearly killed. Angry because I’m sure a lot of the people who heard that news story probably thought something like “She shouldn’t have been running late at night.”

I’M SO FUCKING ANGRY.

When is it finally going to be time to stop treating women and other non-male genders like shit?

I’m going to say what has been said a million times before, but somehow doesn’t seem to be sticking.

  1. Cat-calling and other types of verbal harassment are a type of violence, and a type of violence that allows for a culture of physical violence.
  2. Victim-blaming is not only ridiculous but also incredibly destructive and another type of violence in and of itself.
  3. We’re all goddamn people, and feeling shitty about yourself and the way society has treated you is no excuse for being shitty to other people.

I know this is pointless because anyone who bothers to read this blog knows all this already. But I just wanted to reiterate it one more time.

And I also signed up to volunteer at a Rape Crisis Center. I don’t know why they’d want someone like me to help, but if I can and I’d be useful, I want to. And I’d encourage people to do whatever they can to stop this shit from continuing.

I’m pretty sick of it.

First cat-calling experience over.

Real-Life Laura Hacks

Hey Gang!

What another post??? Already??? Slow down, crazy! Slow down!

Well, I’ve been kind of a bummer lately. But luckily I have some really great family members and friends (shout-outs to Saber, Morgan, Dimitri, and the Maber) who have been reminding me of all the good stuff as well. So I wanted to return the favor by displaying some of the “cool” things that have been going on in my life.

This is specially dedicated to Sarah A. “Muscles” Milstein because her Netflix isn’t working and she said Facebook is boring. This one’s for you, bby grill!!!

Laura Hack #1

Congratulations! Your roommate brought you quarters because she is an angel (#classiccricket) and didn’t want to be living with someone who smells like 2014. You now have clean laundry! But oh no! Some of it’s a little damp and you have no towel rack!

Bike Rack

Bike Rack

Have no fear, your handy dandy bike-drying-rack is here! Aka … the Bike Rack! (Also that’s my new bike. Her name is Christmas and I love her.) Simply drape clothing articles festively across lovely metal frame and wait! (What do you mean metal rusts? I don’t know what you’re talking about! I’m a biology major!)

Laura Hack #2

Mash-up Playlists

Okay, this is kind of one that I already bragged about, but I’m too excited. Tired of having to switch between your favorite pop hits and the classics you were raised on? Simple! Combine the two into one unbelievable playlist! Examples: JT Play (Justin Timberlake meets James Taylor… the results are guaranteed to please!), Simon&Garfunkel&Beyonce (all hail the only living girl in New York, she woke up homeward bound), and Lana del Ray Charles (they talk about mostly the same things…).

Laura Hack #3

Stuffed Animals as Friends

Tired of making awkward social advances at work? Traveling in the evenings just too exhausting??? How about trying Stuffed Animals instead of Friends!! Pros: cost effective, adorable, everyone laughs at your puns, less criticism, more cuddling. Cons: likelihood of actually making friends following this endeavor… 0.

My main man

Unbearably cute.

Laura Hack #4

Shower Snax

I’ve talked about this one before, but never in public. Imagine with me people. It’s the morning. You’re tired and groggy. You glance at your alarm clock and goodness look at the time! There’s no way you’ll have time for both a shower and breakfast!

But wait! Shower Snax to the rescue! Simply pop into the shower, ingest the snax and you’re on your way.

My test groups have been asking nosy questions about the logistics. “What do you mean?” they ask. “What do you mean, ‘what do I mean?’?” I respond. “Wouldn’t it get soggy?” they ask. “Not if it’s soup!” I say. “Or hot chocolate! Or oatmeal!” “That’s gross,” they say. Then they walk away.

See Laura Hack #3

Possible Shower Snax.

Possible Shower Snax.

Finally Laura Hack #5

Call your family and friends.

I forget from time to time, because I’m weird and spend way too much in my head, but there are people out there who love me. And I hope and believe people out there who love you, too. Yeah, it’s now a bit awkward because we’ve been trained to spend the majority of our lives stuck behind screens, but call the people who are important to you. I doubt you’ll look back years from now and wish you’d spent less time connecting with the people you love.

Cheers!

PSA: Real Life Has Less Free Time Than You Thought

Or maybe I’m still just too sleepy to fully appreciate it…

Hi Gang (quoting from the classic 8 minute Abs Workout Video),

It’s me again. I bet you didn’t think I’d come back. Well. I’m back.

And as you can tell by the title of the post, there’s a reason that I’ve been away so long. Yes, sheer laziness is a part of it, but so are all the things they never told you you had to do when you became an adult that suddenly add up to a lot when you have to do all of them.

Like finding quarters to do laundry so that you can have clean clothes more than once a month… Still on the trail…

Or washing dishes. Or walking to the bus station. Or waiting at the bus station. Or missing your bus because there was a crazy two day detour that you just happened to be in the middle of and then finally downloading Uber even though it scares the crap out of you, but you really don’t want to wait another hour plus you’re a little winded from running after the bus for two blocks and boy you should really get back into shape but who has the time?

My last real post was sort of about embracing the ways that adult life can suck. (Sorry all my friends still in college…) This post I suppose is about finding the time to do all those things that suck while still being yourself somehow.

I love giving advice. Even when it’s crappy. And I’ve been watching too much Scrubs. So here it is: (Feel free to read it in a J.D. voice.)

I guess the thing to remember is to make time for the things that matter to you. Whether that’s scribbling down inane thoughts in your notebook between classes (yeah those don’t stop at college either) or making sure you get that morning cup of coffee, or even writing pitiful pointless entries in your blog. If you don’t find moments to re-establish who you are, you might wake up one morning and realize that a month has gone by. And that’s a month of your life you’ll never get back.

Classic Laura post ends with a downer!

Here it is your moment of puppies and kittens.