Normally after my lake walk, I feel a combination of things- slightly tired, overheated, frustrated. Today I got back to my desk and felt something altogether different. The only correct word for it is deflated. I felt completely and utterly deflated.
There were three separate instances of shitty behaviour today that left me feeling disgusted, then annoyed, then just deflated. The first incident was when I was passing 7/11. A homeless black man in his 50s-60s shouted, "Hey sexy, where you going?" as I walked by and didn't make eye contact. Typical, but not cause for deflation. On the way back to the office near the entrance to 7/11, it happened again. This time, it was a black man in his 30s-40s shouting, "Why you all alone when you looking that good?" I kept walking, promptly crossed the street, and didn't think much else about it. Also not cause for deflation. The incident that took the wind right out of my sails was around the duck bridge and fountain area on the back side of Eola. A lot of homeless people usually sit in the benches over there since there are quite a few spots to rest that have ample shade. I've walked past this area many times and have even raided here with groups of people before, so I didn't think anything of the people hanging out around that area. As I was walking, I saw a man wave at me. I looked a him; he kept waving. He looked about 40s-50s, white, overweight - he didn't appear to be homeless, but what do I know. I looked down and heard someone start talking loudly: "I waved at her, I think she saw me!" "So what, she's not gonna stop?" I kept walking but cautiously looked up. I thought maybe it was a poke person who was trying to say hey. Maybe we had raided before and he was just being nice. He waved again and stated loudly, "I know she can see me. She's looking right at me." I know better than to stop and talk to someone I don't recognize. I looked back down at my screen then heard it. "She's like a Barbie doll! She's got the perfect body." "Yeah I'd tap that." "I mean, look at her! The blonde hair and everything. Look at her. Why won't she come talk to me?" "She's fucking hot though. I know she can see you. She looked up but she's still just walking away. Looks like she's got an attitude." "Damn, perfect body! I'd love to get a piece of that. But why won't she stop? Bitch."
my self portraitAnd in that moment, I felt deflated. I felt ugly. I felt objectified. I felt disgusted, then very angry. But then I felt a huge sense of sadness and shame for wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt. Oh, and for being a woman. I felt like a piece of meat waiting to be fed to wolves. I felt like an expired coupon. I felt deflated.