Today, I wanna talk about fear. Because I’m a reasonably brave girl. I say this not because yesterday someone commended me on the fact that I was able to get up and find my ipod minutes after eating gravel on the road.
I want to talk about fear because fear is unfairly shoved into my face every once in a while, and sometimes a little more often than that.
I am a little afraid now.
Here’s the story. I love to travel. It makes me happy. Anywhere, anytime, travel makes me happy. Flights don’t but that’s a different story. I had been planning (and i use the word loosely) to go to Europe ever since I graduated. Back then I would have to mooch the entire monies from my family, and I wasn’t okay with doing that. So I didn’t. Then I thought of it last Christmas. Again, it didn’t quite work out, seeing as I didn’t go there!
I thought of going this December- that way I could see my uncle, spend Christmas with Sinter Klaas (or however that is spelt) and my dutch cousins. Then I thought I would make my way to Vienna, spend time with Fruity and go to Paris with her. Fruity was game, so I thought ..well this could work.
Anyway turns out that the tickets are awesomely expensive, even my soul isn’t worth that much. And let’s be reminded that Europe is crazy cold and that I am a very beach person. Said factors lower the enjoyment levels, thereby putting one under more pressure to deliberately have a good time.
To cut a hell of a boring explanation short, I made my choice. I was gonna ditch the Christmas holiday and go in October. Autumns, falls, coats and boots, without freezing my pants off.
And I was gonna stick with the Dutch plan and ditch the ladies-trip-out.
Uncle said I should do Barcelona, Belgium, Vienna and Paris. (Yes I know Belgium is a country and the rest are cities, you #*$^). And I liked the idea. Uncle was very supportive and very happy that I finally decided on it.
Except for one tiny little inconsequential detail. I was going to do all this alone. I didn’t think of it as a big deal. Apparently, I was wrong.
APPARENTLY, It is a huge fucking deal. First my mom, under the sheltered environment of instant messaging, told me that well, basically Europe was just madhouse of horrible people who are just waiting to do horrible things to me. She told me I shouldn’t travel alone and I shouldn’t travel with boys and I should find some girls to travel with.
Where the fuck am I going to find girls to travel with? I can barely find girls to have lunch with me, and that took me like two fucking years! Let’s face it, women don’t acknowledge the need for other women until they’re burnt. I’m generalising here, but it’s true. Give a woman a boyfriend and she will happily forget that her own gender even exists. I know this because I have extended several offers of friendships to several women and puhleeze, I am quite a pleasant person and you don’t have to be so pricey.
AND EVEN IF I did find girls who were willing, that isn’t enough. We have to sync our leave, our budgets and our interests. Who’s to say who wins in a dual between “let’s laze in Corsica” and “let’s party in Berlin”? Really, how do you reach consensus? Friends are friends, but noone wants to compromise on a 3000 dollar holiday. Puhleeze. I have waited a long time for people to come around.
Then my friends have to rain down on my enthusiasm. My female friends. Apparently, there is no NEED for me to prove my bravery. I need to be afraid. And travelling alone sucks anyway.
You know what? I have two constant reminders of the fact that I am a woman. One is the fear of rape and the other is the terrible pain of periods. Thank you very very much.
Let it be known that both these reminders are fairly regular- once a month for the latter, and every waking minute for the former. So who’s to say that travelling increases the probability of the former?
Rape is a very real fear. I know that. I don’t have to be reminded. Believe you me, I have been reminded enough. It is one thing to be aware and quite another to be afraid. I am not trying to prove my bravery because I can’t. I acknowledge that even a pipsqueak of a man could overpower me. I am five-feet-zero tall for God’s sake! There is no question of putting up a fight- I am not trained in anything but kickcrotch-kwan-do and even that is self-administered. So if every waking breath is really rape waiting to happen, why bother?
The truth is, now, I am actually scared. And that is just unfair, because I was really looking forward to the trip.