Self-Conscious at Home

A rather interesting thing happened today.

And this may turn into more of a rant. But it’s still worth mentioning, I think.

I decided to wear a new shirt for the first time. I purchased the shirt from a concert I had attended a few weeks ago. It’s more of a tank top. And aside from being ridiculously overpriced for such a small piece of fabric, I was really happy with the purchase.

The band name is displayed prominently across the back side (lower back, which I thought was an interesting design BUT YOU KNOW I STILL LIKED IT). When I bought it, I made a choice to wear it only around the house. Because aside from displaying some of my favorite things: Reggae, rock, music, etc. It also said the word SEX.

Sex was the loudest word on the shirt. Which is fine. I still wanted the shirt so I bought it.

ANYWAY… I wore it today. I’d been cleaning my house for a solid hour when I realized I needed to make a trip to my car, which was parked conveniently in front of my home. A mere 10 second  walk.

I thought to myself: I never see my neighbors, especially this time of day. The car is right there. I’m not going to change my shirt to walk to my car. That’s a silly idea.

So I stepped into the world representing a realm of depravity and mother’s nightmares (I’m probably exaggerating here). The neighbors on both side of my house were home. Better yet, they were in their front yards and ready to strike up conversation.

Lovely.

I nonchalantly said hello to both  of them because Lord knows I couldn’t turn back. It was obvious that my younger man next door, who want my neighbor, liked my shirt. Like, really liked my shirt. My older neighbor either didn’t see, or politely declined to say anything out of courteousness.

Perhaps it was a slip up in my confidence: was I being self-conscious? Perhaps it was the cut of the shirt and the men who looked at me. Whatever it was, I was uncomfortable. So much so that I had to change my shirt when I got inside.

My shirt said sex, but it wasn’t an invitation for your eyes, nieghbor-sir. It wasn’t even that reveling. The context made me quite uncomfortable. I don’t like feeling unsafe, so usually if it’s 100 degrees outside I will hide my body for peace of mind.

But I didn’t today because I was home. In my own house. Cleaning.

Women have a high concern for safety across the board. Safety is drilled into our minds as young girls and young women: “The perils of the world will take your innocence”, says some authoritarian figure from some authorization soap-box. There are real dangers, and then there are scare tactics that embed and reinforce the male as a gargantuan unable to control his own urges. stereotypes. Gender stereotypes. That’s another conversation that I will most likely write about very soon. But in essence, I think I as more afraid than I should have been by the presence of my neighbors because of the clothes I decided to wear.

I think what really struck me is that it happened in from of my house. I would expect this to happen wearing my shirt to the someplace public. But that wasn’t the case. I was home.

It’s startling how unsafe some women feel in their own neighborhoods or at work. I go outside quite often. I started jogging again (yay!) but I would never jog at night in my neighborhood. Not alone anyway. It’s easy to feel this way when we are conditioned to live in fear.

But hey, I don’t want to take any chances. Daylight is best for walking and jogging. Even if it’s 100 degrees.

And even though I’m learning to love my body and accept it, I don’t want anyone staring at it with smiling eyes. It’s a breech of privacy and a stain on my vulnerable state. Mind your own. I’ll mind mine. Your stare is not a complement nor is is appreciated.

And even if my shirt said sex, it wasn’t an invitation for you to view me in that context. I guess that’s the price I pay for wearing it.

I’m just here supporting small bands and being fashionable.

I’m going to wear the shirt. I guess I need thicker skin. This moment hasn’t tarnished my love for the band, only my respect for the man who shamelessly checked me out while wearing it. It’s okay the check someone out, but have some dignity and class. It would be much more appreciated by the person you’re shamelessly objectifying.

~musicalwayfarer