As an abuse survivor with a father who cheated on my mother, I’m not set up in life to trust men easily. I spent the last several years in intense feminist psychotherapy to finally own the demons of my past, and I’ve come through some incredible personal grief. In the end, I emerged ready to try my hand at love again, and I was lucky enough that it found me.
My closest friends have been wildly supportive, knowing the hurdles I have faced, and many fewer have acted in spiteful, jealous ways. I speak to almost no one about the negative reactions I’ve tolerated because they’ve been so painful and incomprehensible to me. Mostly, bitter feedback comes from those who don’t know me very well. They don’t know that my partner and I have spent countless hours deciding how to maintain independence while trusting and relying on one another. They don’t know how much I’ve personally navigated to be able to trust him, to trust myself. Perhaps they’re just angry that they can’t heal the way I have.
So in thinking about the pain this has caused me lately, how deeply hurtful I find their negative reactions to a major point of healing, survival, and triumph in my life, I made this little image, ala Post Secret, to showcase my confusion and frustration. It is incredibly unfortunate that in a time of such happiness, I feel my most secretive and isolated to protect what I have. I realize this isn’t the positive ray of light the feminist carnival is probably aiming to shine, but it sure felt therapeutic to make this, and that’s gotta count for something.
Brittany Shoot is a graduate student who lives with her partner and 20lb. cat, splitting time between Boston and Copenhagen. She believes in furniture and worries about the unfulfilled promises of feminist friendship.
Read more submissions to the Women's History Month blog carnival at Women's Space.