How not to argue against rape culture

Oh Women against feminism, you.

Look, I’m not going to talk about rape culture all that much, just because I’m just not educated enough about it to do so.

But this appeared on my facebook feed today, and I’m appalled.

waf

Oh geez I haven’t seen an important argument derailed by tone policing that badly since I stopped posting at wrong planet, but that’s beside the point.

Threatening to slash the OP’s throat definitely falls in the territory of overreaction but my word, what a problematic post.

The problem is this:  the OP is trying to argue against the existence of rape culture by condoning unwanted sexual advances by men as normal ‘male heterosexuality.’

ERRRRRRRRRR no.

Feeling all bent out of shape because you can’t walk down the fucking street without unwanted sexual harassment?  Well toughen up princess, this is just straight men expressing themselves sexually. STAHP repressing poor misunderstood menz lyk OMG!!!!!!

So we’re saying that unwanted sexual attention is something that feminists need to get over because, well, it’s just the way men are.  Men are born sexual harrasers.

Women against feminism thinks that it is the nature of men to harass women.  It’s just male heterosexuality!!!!!  Reducing you to an object of sexual pleasure is just, lyk, finding you attractive!!!!

And then they have the bloody cheek to turn around and accuse feminists of hating men.

#fuckmysoul

The men in your life deserve better than to be reduced to out of control sex maniacs.  Even if you don’t consider yourself a feminist, even if you don’t believe in rape culture, how can you not be disturbed that?

More importantly, we as women deserve better than to be told that submitting to unwanted stares, touches, and words is necessary to accommodate male sexuality.

They keep looking.  They keep touching.  They keep harassing.  Why?  Because people condone it.  Because they have the power to do so and that power continues to be reaffirmed.

Mac

What I’m Into This Week

Because I don’t want this blog to be all wahhh woe is me I suck at life.

I’ve decided to do a series of weekly posts talking about what interests I’m fixated on this week.*

(Dear NT world, just because I have Aspergers and am interested in something, DOES NOT MEAN THAT THIS INTEREST IS FIXATED so please stop asking! I’m allowed to make this joke as an insider. You are not.)

Ahem. Where was I?

Oh yes. Here’s what I’m into this week.

 

Reading:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

I’m not sure how many times I’ve read the Harry Potter books but they’ve all lost their covers, I’m going to have to invest in more.

Anyway, JK Rowling has a knack for storytelling and creating universes that are just as compelling to me in my mid-twenties as they were when I was ten. Much time has been wasted over the past fifteen years waxing lyrical with other members of the fandom.

And fyi, I still ship Harry/Hermione.

Recently though the rest of the world had been alerted to this:

 

 blowjobsinthedungeon

BLOWJOBS IN THE DUNGOEN!

BLOWJOBS IN THE DUNGEON!

Thought you outta know…

Bitch please, we hard core potter-heads have been sniggering over that for…I dunno, at least five years. Since Tumblr became a thing probably.

 

Watching:

veep

VEEP.

I randomly recorded this show off studio but when I watched it I was instantly hooked. For those who don’t know, VEEP is a show centred on Selina Meyer, a potty mouthed, neurotic, borderline narcissist workaholic who has just been sworn in as vice president. Throughout the series her team is in constant damage control as she tries to present as a likable character that Americans can relate to, with laughably disastrous consequences.

I always enjoy shows with flawed but successful females as main characters – maybe a projection of what I hope to be one day? But I guess if Meyer was able to fall into her role as vice president flawlessly I guess she would be hard to relate to for most women.

 

Eating/drinking: Infused water

 2014-10-21 17.28.50

Pretty!

Infused water because hot property amongst fitness bloggers about 18 months ago but it’s not new for me. My grandma has always done it, mainly with lemon and mint. I took to doing it as well, but have been trying to mix up the combinations lately. My current favourite is, as above, oranges and blue berries.

Although putting dried fruit in there is good too, because after the water’s all gone you can eat the plumped up fruit. Amaze-balls.

 

Wearing:

This.

 2014-10-22 16.17.26 (1)

Best. Shirt. Ever.

The print is Sailor Moon perched on an iron throne made not of swords but of the various transformation sceptres used in the show. Brilliant.

I ordered this shirt from Teefury, a store that sells fan art tshirts for only 24 hours, so you have to check regularly to be sure to get what you want. I actually ordered this about five or six weeks ago and it showed up this morning after I had forgotten about it. Totally recommend, as long as you don’t need the tee in a hurry.

 

Following: The Bachelor AU drama.

dirtystreetpie

I think everyone is sick of this except me, but I just can’t stop clicking on whatever story I see. Reality stars gone rogue is one of my favourite things to read about. I didn’t even watch the show, I just read Rosie Waterland’s recaps at Mamamia, but what unfolded after the show ended was worthy of its own reality series

So, for my non Australian readers (because they’ve all just fled to the hills screaming ‘for the love of God, NO MORE!!!’) here’s what went down in a nutshell: Bachelor Blake, or Dirty Street Pie, or Blake the Fake depending on who you ask, proposed to one of the top two girls, Sam Frost, in the show’s finale filmed in south Africa.

Then as soon as the show went to air we found out that all of the interviews and appearances with the happy couple had been cancelled. Next week came the inevitable announcement: Sam and Blake had split. Much sads, love is dead, etc. Except there was never love – Sam alleges that they never even slept together, in fact when they went back to the hotel after the proposal he wouldn’t talk to her and just cried all night. Awks. There was talk of Blake being given a money incentive to propose for ratings, and to Sam because she was judged more likely to say yes.

Blake then went and contacted Lisa, to see if she was interested. She rightfully told him to GTFO. So he moved to the next on the list Louise. She said yes and they fled to Thailand together. Makes you wonder how far down the list of girls he would have gone if they kept saying no!

Blake and a very fragile, medicated looking Louise sold their story to Woman’s day and the project. Meanwhile the original fiancé Sam has been talking to the media non-stop. At first I felt sorry for her – she had been royally screwed over – but after a few weeks it is getting a bit much. For a guy that she apparently never even slept with she sure is hung up on him. It is truly entering train wreck territory.

That was a very long nutshell, as you can see this is a story that just keeps giving. Blake has obviously gone into this looking for a media career and it has backfired in a big way.

 

Youtubing:

OH MY GLOB!!!!

You know LSP rolls with some badass *BADWORDS*

I think I’m responsible for about 1000 of those views.

Keep calm and dirty street pie

Mac

Aspergers and Familial Embarrassment

I’ve complained about feeling like a target of disdain from my family but the truth is, I’m not the only one.

I have this uncle on my father’s side who probably has Asperger syndrome but I don’t believe he has ever been officially diagnosed. He has trouble reading social cues and empathising with others so overall his capacity to function in mainstream society is very low. He lives with my grandma and has been unemployed for at least ten years, possibly longer.

And yes, he’s the one that my mother holds over me whenever we’re having conflict. You’re the one with the social dysfunction, and that’s obviously what any conflict we have is based on. You need to apologise and accept that you’re just a shitty person compared to the rest of us. If you don’t, you’ll end up living in the basement like him.

As far as I know, he’s not there because he refused to lie down to his mother’s emotional blackmail. He’s there because he’s tried to live independently in many different contexts – as a bachelor, married, as a Buddhist monk – and it’s all gone to shit because he can’t empathise with others and live under anyone’s rules but his own. Maybe he could have if he got the same kind of support when he was younger as I did.

Not that my grandparents didn’t care; it was a different time where there were no behavioural disorders, there were just bad kids who were socialised into a lifestyle of ostracisation that would be so hard to escape.

He presents as what you would call an oddball but he’s harmless unless you’re the type of person who is distressed by conversations dominated by talking about chewing tobacco and tarot cards. My mother would appear to be one of those people.

He embarrasses her. I came to understand that very early on in life, I didn’t fully understand why until my understanding of adult interaction developed later on. I knew there were tough times. He’d been married twice, to the same woman but both marriages were short lived. He’d attempted suicide a couple of times. His life seemed far removed from my own until I started struggling myself in my early twenties and the similarities became frighteningly clear. Looking at him can be like looking into a possible dismal future of wasted potential and suddenly my mother’s threats developed a powerful hold over me that still keeps me wake at night.

It makes me sad, thinking about how things could have been different but I don’t know if my mother feels that way. She never lets on if she does. She just gets embarrassed. Every time we have a family get together, she can be heard bemoaning his presence afterwards. He makes her uncomfortable, and dislikes the way he dominates conversations.

Last weekend we had a party for my grandma’s 80th at a nice restaurant. I brought my boyfriend with me, this being the first time he’d met my extended family. As soon as we walked in my uncle came up and thrust a packet of tobacco under my nose, joking that it would enhance my sports performance. I had to politely decline a couple of times before he got the message but by now I’m used to his manner; this interaction didn’t bother me at all.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see my mother looking alarmed as she does whenever he talks to one of us children but no drama ensued and we got on with the party. All was forgotten and my strongest memory of the day was the look of pure elation on my grandmother’s face when the waiter placed her birthday cake in front of her.

My mother however was still bothered by the interaction between my uncle and I today when I went to her house to do some work. She stood with me as I typed away and asked me fretfully,

“Did I imagine it or did he try to make *BF* take some chewing tobacco?”

I assured her that he was offering it to me and tried to laugh it off, but she wasn’t done.

She vented at me for a while about how embarrassed she was. She asked me if I could see that the chewing tobacco represented a destructive fixated interest. I shrugged.

I wish I could pinpoint why this makes me so uncomfortable.

Maybe it’s just as a fellow aspergian I feel uncomfortable hearing him described as an embarrassment. My view as an insider is going to be different and my mother has made her feeling over some of my less than genteel behaviours abundantly clear. She doesn’t like me ‘engaging’ him. I talk to him but I’ve become good at keeping our conversations being derailed by fixated interests. I don’t see why I should pretend he doesn’t exist but I feel like the rest of the family are on a different page. Mother got annoyed when she found out that I’d been interacting with him on facebook. By interact I mean that he comments on my status, I reply to him. That’s as far as it goes

Is it just my non-NT status that makes me sad, rather than embarrassed? I can see that his behaviour is often totally inappropriate. It’s not hard to see how his life ended up as it has and while I struggle to accommodate other people in my life, it’s something that I consciously work on because life is impossible without some form of coexistence.

It’s also interesting that he’s my dad’s brother, the closest one to him in age but I don’t recall him ever giving his take on the situation. I feel like I’m going to have to ask him about it at some point just to make sense of it all. Right now though the thought is too upsetting, I have the feeling that at least it would make him uncomfortable.

In the mean time I can’t stop wondering, how long until my family start pretending that I don’t exist?

Mac

Should I accept that I will never be ok?

It’s one of those nights. It’s midnight, I’m cradling a jar of Nutella, bawling my eyes out because my life has gone nowhere.

And wow, people love to point out that my life if going nowhere. Just in case I never noticed.

It does cause people pleasure to see someone that was once so high functioning being unable to get it together.

My life story in a nutshell was that, despite being a mixed bag of issues from birth, I was a fairly high achiever until my late teens, when I cracked. All the horses and men of every monarchy in the world could not put me back together.

I’ve never worked full time. Never been able to live independently without some form of government assistance.   And despite working on my health consistently for years, none of that seems likely to change soon.

Reading that back makes me cry. It’s just so fucking sad looking at it.

It makes me wonder if all my therapy has been worth it. What’s the point of spending all that money if life just doesn’t get better? If I don’t get better? Is it a waste? My family will quickly point out that it is. I’ve wasted their money, my money, wasted their time visiting me in hospital because I ‘refuse’ to get better.

My sisters both have jobs, I am reminded. One of them is looking for a house with her boyfriend, a house for them, not one with housemates.

They say they like to remind me of my shortcomings so I don’t become complacent. Because I’m always thinking how fucking wonderful sharing a house with other students in a shitty area where people have knife fights in the streets is. How great it is that my friends go shopping for furniture at brick and mortar stores, while I’m scavenging it from the side of the road. How despite my private health insurance, I can’t go to hospital when I need it because I can’t afford the gap.

I could ask my parents for it I guess. But I just can’t give them the satisfaction.

It doesn’t matter how well I’m doing, the conversation always comes back to that. I continue to be defined by my failures.

They say it gets better. But I’m just too smart for my own morbidly low-functioning good. I know that it’s a completely hollow statement.

Sometimes it doesn’t. People just don’t ever manage to get it together. I’ve seen them, in my family, in my boyfriend’s family. People I met in hospital. It just never works out.

After six years of no improvement, it looks like I’m headed the same way and it’s devastating me. Should I just give up, accept my lot, be one of those people on the DSP in the housing estates, compliant enough on their meds to not cause anyone trouble but not benefiting anyone either. It’s a miserable existence. Fifty or so more years with nothing to show for it except being a handy tool for my family to boost their self-esteem whenever they feel like they might not be getting anywhere in life.

I could be a cautionary tale but against what? I never abused drugs or alcohol, or skipped school or hung out with miscreants. My problems are largely genetic which points to the uncomfortable idea that having this relative who is getting so far behind in life is actually no one’s fault. She can’t be fixed, but she couldn’t have been prevented. Where’s the closure in that? Blaming me is so much easier.

I can tell them to stop but, ya know, what right do I have? Do I not realise how hard their lives are because of my illness? The embarrassment of having a partially employed daughter in her mid twenties who is apparently so bright? Of having to deal with the embarrassment of her being in hospital? What would the neighbours say. And bailing me out of debt. No that wasn’t pleasant at all but how could I appreciate that. I was the one having fun spending.

And let’s not forget, I’m on the autistic spectrum. If we’re having a disagreement, obviously I’m the one in the wrong, and I don’t admit out loud that I’m a shitty human being I’m going to end up living in mum and dad’s basement like my unemployed uncle, now that would be embarrassing.

I just need to talk to someone to tell me that I’m not a failure. That I will get there one day. That I won’t end up living in mum and dad’s basement. I texted my boyfriend and told him that I’m struggling but the fucker fell asleep.

Just tell me it will get better.

I don’t even care if it’s not true. Not right now.

Mac

Not sure if depressed or concussed.

I have been dealing with a rough patch lately, but in the last week I’ve had more good days so things are looking hopeful.  But something happened yesterday that may or may not have set me back.

The day started off well; I got up before 11 am for the first time in a week and went for a run.  Context – my running routine consists of walking to the park/nature reserve a few streets away from my house, running through the bush for 45 minutes and warming down by walking home.

Being a Saturday in the school holidays, the park was crowded with picnickers and competitors in the local Frisbee golf tournament ( I have no idea either…) but I wasn’t paying attention to anyone.  I didn’t think I needed to.

Anyway, I completed my run and began walking back home, cut off from the world by my music and dark sunglasses.

Out nowhere I felt an almighty impact to the back of my head and my vision blacked out.  My limbs went slack and I dropped onto my side.  My hand started working again and automatically moved to the back of my head.  I opened my eyes and looked up incredulously.  What the hell was that?  There was no-one nearby, the picnic area was about half a kilometre away.  I figured a falling tree branch must have hit me.

While I was trying to look for the offending branch without moving my head, I heard yelling and running feet.  Suddenly I was looking up at a team of concerned Frisbee golfers.

I had been hit at the base of my skull by a Frisbee.  Not your standard lightweight Frisbee either, it was a dense plastic with narrow, sharp edges.  they explained that they had been practicing some way away.  The thrower was concerned about forcibly throwing a heavy Frisbee in a busy park, but they had assured her that “the only person around is that jogger way over there, and you’re not throwing at her anyway.”

So she hurled it with all her strength.  And it caught a freak breeze.  And rebounded off a tree and into the back of my head.  Lucky me.

I was still a bit groggy but fortunately one of the golfers was a doctor.  He started off asking me about my family to see if I was confused, but we ended up sitting on the path talking for about an hour.  By that point he was satisfied that I had no fractures or bleeds, and I convinced them that I was good to walk home, given that I live pretty much across the road.

Then as I was walking home, my housemate drove past and threw a water bottle at me because HILARITY.

I got home, showered, bandaged an ice pack to the back of my head, and sat in my darkened room to watch some tv.

And after about half an hour of this I realised that apart from a mild headache I was fine.

But I felt completely hopeless.

It’s important to rest physically and cognitively after a concussion but even though I was doing that, I couldn’t make myself do anything else like, say, paint my nails, clean my room, do my makeup.  My housemate was having a party and I found myself hiding in my room for the first half of it.  Being in the living room, with everyone talking was too much for me to handle.

Twenty four hours later I’m still feeling flat.  Not the same as the fogginess and dulled senses I’ve felt with concussions I’ve had before, and obviously I’m typing this onto a backlit screen without discomfort.  My motivation has been completely zapped.

It’s probably the unexpectedness of the incident which making me keen to stay withdrawn I guess.  Which is understandable but I hope it doesn’t stay around for too long.

But I still can’t tell the story without laughing so I’ll probably be ok.

Although I skipped the run today because…well…I don’t want to go outside.  There’s Frisbees out there.

Mac

 

I need to be reminded that my ass is attached to my body otherwise I might forget it :(

It’s funny how counter movements tend to be escalatory in nature.

So recently the #womenaginstfeminism movement came to the attention of the internet, as a collection of statements from mainly women who feel threatened by or dismissive of feminism.

In response the folks behind feminist podcast Wait, Wut? are making #needthepatriachy a thing, as can be seen in this album on their facebook page.

Some of my favourites:

#needthepatriachy because “there’s a hole in my heart that can only be filled with unsolicited dick pictures” FUCKING. YES.

#Needthepatriachy because “Hoards of feminists break into my room and steal my bras for kindling. Shit’s expensive” Well who hasn’t been there.

#needthepatriachy because “feminism made me hate men and now I can’t stop punching my dad. WHY CAN’T I STOP PUNCHING MY DAD?” DADDY FORGIVE ME

Well, after perusing the album I got thinking. When was the last time I acknowledged everything the patriarchy does for me? Time for credit where credit’s due.

After much careful consideration I realised:

I #needthepatriachy because if I felt welcome on the weight floor of the gym, I’d embarrass myself by heading straight for the pretty pink weights.

I #needthepatriachy because if it weren’t for our education minister Christopher Pyne I’d have no idea what to study at uni.

I #needthepatriachy because if I didn’t have aged male politicians telling me how my reproductive system works, I could NEVER work it out on my own. Medical science degree notwithstanding.

I #needthepatriachy because if my looks weren’t worth 95% of my worth as a young woman I’d have to be really, really good at something to be worth talking to. Who has time for that?

I #needthepatriachy because if I wasn’t compelled to spend all that time shaving off my body hair I would go mad from the boredom.

I #needthepatriachy because having a baby is a stressful experience, and worrying about whether I have a job to go back to after I come off maternity leave is great practice.

I #needthepatriachy because my dastardly man–deceiving make up use must be kept in check. Of course it’s reasonable to assume that I look the same way all dolled up under night club lighting 24/7!

I #needthepatriachy because it’s so much simpler to assume everything a man does for me must be repaid in sexual favours.

I #needthepatriachy because if skimpy clothes aren’t a sign of being DTF, how else am I going to pick up?

I #needthepatriachy because ditto drinking too much! Feminists and their pussy blocking…

I #needthepatriachy because thinking that a man would ever want to be friends with my F cups would be thinking way too highly of myself.

I #needthepatriachy because dehumanising everyone who is obviously from a different culture or religion is crucial to our national identity –otherwise we might forget where we live.

I #needthepatriachy because everyone knows, a feminist can’t catch a man!

#fuckmysoul

 

How do YOU need the patriarchy in your life?

That wasn’t a rhetorical question. Comment below if you feel inclined. I’m sure yours will be funnier.

#getmeafuckingdrink

Oh by the way, a friend from uni once ran through the campus women’s collective meeting wearing a shirt that said “you can’t catch a man.” He found out that not only can they catch a man, they can kick him pretty hard too.

Mac

I’m screwed

I’ve been lying in bed for a week.

I haven’t been going to work or class. I had an assignment due today. Can’t even care.

I possibly wouldn’t have eaten all week if I didn’t have my boyfriend and housemates feeding me.

I feel like I should be crying more but it’s happening in short bursts. I can lie here mulling over my devastation – nothing. Then burst into a violent sobbing fit while on the toilet, or in the shower, or while playing candy crush. It never lasts for more than a minute

I guess you have to feel in order to cry.

I was forced to feel a lot of things last week and it sucked balls. My brain has gone into survival mode and has suppressed all of my emotions. If I hide from the world then I won’t be made to feel out of turn. Foolproof.

I’m not fishing for sympathy or attention, there’s no spin on this. This is just reality as it’s happening. How emotional can you get over someone who just stares at the ceiling all day?

I will probably get up soon. I’m craving something. As soon as I figure out what food group it belongs to, I’ll be up searching.

At least I think it’s a food. You can’t eat love and validation, can you?

Didn’t think so.

Mac

I just broke up with twelve people

Oh my lawd that was a tough decision. After all we had been through together.

I never meant to hurt anyone but it was time to face up to the fact that I had taken on a commitment I was incapable of seeing through.

I spent all day crying, shaking, questioning my decision, fearing their reaction. I considered sending a text message to get it out of the way, but no. That would be the coward’s way out. This is a conversation that has to happen face to face to give them the closure that they need.

I felt sick on the drive over to our usual meeting spot. My hands shake as I approach the group. It’s time.

I tried to soften the blow by saying “It’s not you, it’s me…” and I abruptly burst into tears.

Because what I actually meant was:

“Um, actually it is you. Mostly…yeah. Screw you guys, good luck finding another defenseman/back up goalie/anything else I did that the rest of you are too high-and-mighty to do.”

Oh I’m sorry, did you think I was in some kind of crazy polyamorous network? Nah. I was playing a contact sport at the representative level for a few years but somewhere along the way the relationship between my team and I became dysfunctional. I was hurting, losing sleep, losing motivation for life in general. Something had to give.

I was injured a lot during the season. I had gained weight during the summer and was trying to lose it slowly but in a contact sport like ours, weight gain without improved fitness has significant impact on your game and your ability to keep yourself safe. So I was getting hurt a lot.

I didn’t want to play injured. Fair enough, right? I’m paying to play, not playing to be paid. Those pro footballers you see get their faces smashed in then come back ten minutes later with stitched? They’re not trying to be heroic, they’re trying to keep their jobs!

Well not fair enough, was what I was told. I showed up to match to support my team after lacerating my fingers to the bone the night before, my tortured stitched fingers balled up in mittens and was told that a) I’m a disappointment because I won’t play injured (“So fucking what? I played with a broken hand!”) and b) to go away because my jumper was too gross to look at. Noice.

Naturally, I left those bitches to stew in their own juice. And lose.

The next day a post appeared on the team facebook group thanking another girl who was too inured to play who had kept score for the game (which she did REALLY BADLY. I don’t think the correct score was up during any point of the game.) The post ended with something like “it’s nice to see that some people show dedication to their team even though they’re injured.”

FUCK. THAT. SHIT. If you want my dedication, don’t insult my taste in knitwear!

So, you want to talk dedication? Ok teammies, where was your dedication when we needed a goalie and you all refused, yes you looked Coach in the eye and REFUSED! to step up. I, with all my co-ordination problems, was left to pick up the slack. When our regular goalie came back, you thought our problems were over. Except, we didn’t have a back up. There was no other goalie in the entire state that could fill in for her if she got hurt. So I kept up with my goalie training because I knew a back up would be needed at some point. How many of you have been joining me at goalie class so you could step up when it was needed, ah that’s right…NONE OF YOU.

Luckily she never missed a game and I stuck to playing defence. Wait, how did I come to do that again? There was this one game were we needed someone to drop to defence. Coach asked all of you forwards that were there…and what did you do?

Oh yeah…YOU REFUSED.

When he asked me, what did I do?

I fucking stepped up that’s what. I don’t mind trying new things, I don’t think I’m so bloody fantastic that the world will stop turning if I’m seen doing something I’m not good at. Actually I became rather competent at it, but more on that later.

A dedicated player is dedicated to being game ready outside training as well. As I said, this is something I dropped the ball on during off season. But I tried to regain game fitness and when the men’s team coach offered to take us for conditioning as well, I jumped at the chance.

It was a fantastic experience but it was a bit of a sausage fest…why weren’t all the other women there too?

Oh yeah…stop me if this is getting repetitive…YOU REFUSED.

I’m too busy (but not for women’s training) I’m too injured (but not for women’s training) I’m too cold (but not for women’s training.) All of these things said by my teammates.

I felt like the question of “but what have you REALLY done for this team?” was hanging over my head a lot this season, bit explicitly and implicitly. I kind of get it – I’m easily one of the weakest players on the team. How can I possibly doing so much hard work if a) no-one’s around to see it and b) my production during the game isn’t the greatest?

It was painfully obvious because of the contrast in skill level on our team. Because we were low on numbers, some national rep players came down to play with us. They came, did wonderful things in game, and everyone was so excited, because of their production we were coming first, we were just so lucky to have them.

We were so lucky. We were reminded often, in case we forgot. In case we started entertaining the idea that because we were wearing the same colours that we were actually equal. These girls were on our team, but they aren’t our teammates. They only passed to each other. They would score, I’d go up to congratulate them and get ignored while they stood there in their exclusive little huddle. Eventually I gave up. Our team scored, I put my head down and moved back into position as it if were an own goal.

They talked only amongst themselves and the girls on our team who had played with them previously, but were willing to make an exception for any of the rest of us plebs willing to fawn over them. I can’t say I’m the fawning type so I went ignored. Screaming for passes, constantly ignored, just conditioning when I should have been playing.

So I settled into a stay at home defenseman role. I got rather good at it, if I say so myself. While our national players got too ambitious, went up too high, when the game turned around I stayed back to take on breakaways as they frantically scampered to fall back. But no one noticed. I shouldn’t care, I know. But no one noticed. Even experienced athletes never give thoughts to what defence is doing unless they score goals, and I didn’t score goals.

I didn’t get player of the match once all season. Not once. I even started voting for myself because there were a few games where I FUCKING DESERVED IT. I don’t care if that makes me look conceited, it’s still true. But yeah. I don’t score goals.

There was this one girl that got it twice. And she’s terrible. She’s been playing for a few years with no improvement. Yeah, I’m terrible too. And yet I’ve never scored a hat trick of own goals. She is the only player I’ve seen do that at any level for God’s sake. And then was prancing about the locker room boasting about how she, like, totally knocked the other team’s star forward over. She couldn’t do her job and actually fucking stop her, hell she way as well be on her line for all she was helping her score, but at least she put her on her arse that one time. What an idiot.

Ok, so she didn’t win the player of the match that day but that’s beside the point! She’s useless. She’s the same ‘dedicated’ player who will score keep when she’s injured even though she can’t score keep.

I felt unappreciated. Because I didn’t only do my work out in the open, where everyone could see me. It did what I could in my own time as well as in team training. I didn’t just cheerlead my team on Facebook where everyone could see me doing it. I can’t say what I don’t mean. If someone was doing remarkably well I told them privately. If I was worried about someone I asked them if they were ok privately.

It shouldn’t matter to me that no one appreciates that. I know I’ve done the right thing. Character is defined by what you do when people aren’t around, after all. I guess my wishing that people were paying attention means that mine still needs work.

But I wasn’t just unappreciated, I wasn’t accepted. Tolerated, but not accepted. I was being pointed to other members of the team. Why aren’t you like her, she volunteers at junior games. Why aren’t you like her, she helps out with coaching. Why aren’t you like her, she never criticises anyone.

I can’t be someone I’m not. I can’t give time I don’t have. I can’t force myself into a role I’m not capable of fulfilling just for approval (already far too common in our sport) and I just can’t bullshit people. I can’t conform to this image of female niceness, which as far as I can tell consists of smiling and lying to someone’s face, telling them that they’re right then bitching furiously behind their backs once they leave.

Being on the spectrum in a women’s locker room is hard. I would much rather sit with a team of men than a team of women. It felt like me and the rest of them. And I am an educated, intelligent – articulate, outspoken (ok, abrupt) female. Let’s face it. Competitive sport isn’t dominated by intelligent, educated, articulate, assertive females, neurotypical or not. I was never going to fit in totally.

There are intelligent girls on my team but they dumb themselves down, present a convincing tough as nails, rough as sandpaper façade to fit in. I feel like that’s what they want and while I want you to think that I won’t be like that, the truth is that I can’t.

Well, if a partner puts you down, belittles you, tries to change you, doesn’t appreciate you, refuses to accept your shortcomings, what do you do? You cut your losses and you leave.

So that’s what I did.

As I drove to practice to confront my coach I was incensed, fuelled by the vitriol I’ve been spewing above. I’m leaving and I’m telling their dopey asses exactly what I think of them when I do!

And yet, I got there. I asked to speak with him, he stood there expectantly with his clipboard with the miniature field drawn on it. And my script went blank.

“I’m done…my season…it’s done.”

He looked sad, asked me if it was the team and my anger evaporated. I burst into tears.

“It’s not them, it’s me.”

He wasn’t angry. He was disappointed. No, shocked he said. But he understood that I had to look after myself.

I agreed to talk again in a few days for closure. Because we were both getting upset, and the parents of the juniors were circling closer and closer, drawn in by the pungent scent of juicy club gossip.

I thanked him and left, flicking tears over my shoulder theatrically as I raced to my car. My anger was gone. It’s still gone. I’m second guessing myself. Because even after everything that happened, it wasn’t them. It really, truly wasn’t.

It was me.

Sure all those incidents were unpleasant but the main reason that I opted out of the rest of the season wasn’t to avoid my team mates, it was my anxiety.

Anxiety driven by a lot of things. Fear of getting injured yet again, fear of being put down by my teammates, fear of trying so hard and going unnoticed yet again None of those things happened in a vacuum but there will always be shitty politics in sport. It you really want to be there you will suck it up and get on with it.

I couldn’t suck it up. Not this time. I would sit on the bench at games, trembling, stomach clenching, one thought on repeat in my head – I DON’T WANT TO BE HERE. I couldn’t concentrate on the game in that state of mind obviously, so I would get in a bad spot and get hurt again. I was losing sleep. I was self-medicating with food and alcohol. I would go to training praying to get injured just so I didn’t have to play. Just thinking about the upcoming game in two weeks was driving me to tears.

I feel like a failure by admitting defeat but I’ve been on teams where people who didn’t want to be there kept forcing themselves, or were being forced to come. There’s a couple on my team now, apart from me. Those people brought the whole team down. I know I’ve been doing that and I don’t want to be that person any more.

I thought I was at peace with my decision until I called BF. He asked me where I was playing this summer, and got an anguished wail down the phone as a response. Thinking about other teams is just too painful!

I need to get over this team before I find a new one. Or we might reconcile next season, I don’t know yet. It’s all still so raw.

And I was just reminded by Facebook that I agreed to go out drinking with them next week! I’d better start preparing my outfit…just to show them what they’re missing out on.

Or will they just drown me in questions? Probably. Ugggggggghhhhh!

I can’t deal. I’m heartbroken.

Excuse me while I go look though team pictures while listening to All Saints’ ‘Never Ever’ on repeat.

Mac