Alice Writes An Angry Letter

Dear Random Man on the Street Who Kept Talking to Me Until I Finally Looked at Him,

Thanks so much for picking me out of a crowded sidewalk of people to talk to. I was moved, almost really!

I mean, it sounded like you recognized me from somewhere, with all that babbling “hey, how are you, hey sweetheart, how you been doing.” As if you wanted to check in on what’s been up with me since the last time we talked.

Or rather, since the last time you talked to any totally random woman on the street. Because one thing I’m sure we agree on: who I am beyond “woman” doesn’t matter in this interaction.

In case you were wondering: no, I didn’t think you were dangerous (unless it turned out you were). And no, I didn’t you were going to follow me (unless it turned out you did). And no, I didn’t feel sexually objectified by our encounter (unless we’re gonna count the fact that it is men—always and only—who make this kind of you-owe-me-your-attention-cuz-I-called-you-sweetheart move on women. Also always and only).

You say you wanna know how I’m doing?

So glad you asked!

Claire Standish gets me.

Turns out I’m having a frackin’ godsawful month, what with the sick-again-again cat and the brain that’s decided August is the perfect time for another deep dive into shame and old trauma, so it’s continually flooding my brain with maybe-memories/maybe-hallucinations, all in full Technicolor and Surround Sound. I keep having loud, curse-filled arguments with people who aren’t there; I can’t sustain self-care beyond sobbing inconsolably, making a “good day” one where I manage to put myself into uncontrolled, chest-heaving grief at least once; I haven’t slept more than 4 hours any night the past week; and I keep having to remind myself not to take all the suicidal ideations too seriously, cuz they’re just par for the course, given everything else.

Finally, as the cherry on top of this ice cream float of craptasticness: my therapist is on vacation all month—and my very last remaining nerve left? Is the one you decided to have me spend on you, douchenozzle sweetheart.

So let’s get something straight: I don’t owe you shit. And neither does any other random woman choosing to be in public space.

You got that?

Need me to repeat it?


For f#ck’s sake. Enough with this sh!t already.

Next time, try getting those pesky drive-by emotional-connection needs met by someone who actually knows your name. Or cares to.

Sincerely yours,

alice isak

[featured image via]

33 thoughts on “Alice Writes An Angry Letter

  1. Vent away, dear friend. Take out your anger on someone other than yourself. Be mad as hell, and scream as loud as you want in this space! The world is a better place with you IN it, and you don’t deserve the crap your brain is trying to serve up. RANT, VENT, CHASTISE! Anyone other than yourself. This political season is ripe for the picking. It is low-hanging fruit. Grab it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh sweet lords save me from political ranting in the heart of this dark election!! *shudders*

      My tweaky, twitchy, angry side is generally just a symptom of being triggered — and my big ol’ shame-dump/story-telling extravaganza freakout on Wednesday night managed to purge it pretty thoroughly. I’ve spent more hours asleep than awake since Thursday!

      “For thus is it written: after the great stress shall come the great crashing.”


      Liked by 1 person

        1. But your rants are so wonderful that, as you peel back layers, turn that laser wit and fury on He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Elected. Or the turdbag of your choice. You’ll feel better, and so will the rest of us!

          Thinking of you.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Alice… =( I am so sorry the doldrums have you in their grasp… ! Empty words time, sounding like so many I have said before, but PLEASE know this, Alice… I mean them. For what it is worth, you are a valued part of my day and if there is anything in my power I can do to quiet your storm, PLEASE contact immediately with details!!!

    Know your name will be chanted today, for peace, loving-kindness, and relief. You are without a doubt the strongest person I know, and as always, it is a pleasure to be in your company. Just hang on until you regain your equilibrium!

    Love and tuna-crunchies to poor Nathan, the scoundrel. =) You have your hands full at present, and I hope soon the burdens are transformed into piles of fragrant flowers, and your infectious smile lights up the room once again…

    Take care of yourself, and know we see you, and we are all here… =)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve said a few times this week…my Steinem senses are tingling…big things are happening. It’s going to get worse before it gets better….but, I have to believe that bigs things are happening. Otherwise we are all going to end up living in a real life Handmaid’s Tale. I’m sorry you’re depression is back (that sounds thoughtlessly callous, along the lines of “Gee, Ricky, sorry your mom blew up…”, but it is not meant to). Sometimes you have to tuck your head between your knees and let it pass–on every level. Sending thoughts for quick and peaceful resolutions. And sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, yeah — in every Ricky’s life, a mom or two will blow up from time to time. And I think, painful as it’s been, this month marks some important progress.

      Thanks for the sleep wishes. Am really hoping to draw on them tonight!


  4. Oh, I hate this for you.
    And I’m with Butch about that back-up therapist. I know how stressful it is to be vulnerable with someone new when it’s only for a month, but it’s a safety net. And if what I’m reading is what I’m reading, you need that net. If only to say exactly what you wrote here.

    And WTF with these Pervy Space Invaders? I can’t even imagine it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Sandy — all is well, if rather stressful at the moment. Stress like this makes me damn testy, too, with all the patient calmness of a chihuahua hopped up on caffeine. Is probably why the Pervy Space Invader [LOVE that image, btw, and totally stealing the term!] got so under my skin today.

      Please see my response to Butch for more on the WTF?? question, as well as the therapy situation. Also know that I am not out here without any net: I still have a therapy group I do to every week. It’s a lower-intensity continuation of the program I went into 3 years ago, the therapist who runs it is fabulous, and my own individual therapist has been checking with me regularly since the start of summer to be sure he wouldn’t be gone at the same time she was! (Or, if so, that she and I had discussed backup plans.) I am so lucky and grateful for the support I have.

      (Including you, m’dear. Thank you for your concern! ❤ )

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I fucking hate men. Goddamned entitled pigs. Let’s get rid of ALL of them.

    I am so sorry you went through that. On top of everything else. Is there a back-up therapist in case of emergencies? Because, my dear, all this everything qualifies as one in my not-so-humble opinion.

    I’m also sorry about the sick again cat. Poor kitty. Poor you. That is so stressful, and upsetting.

    I call my ol’ pals Fear, Silence, Shame, and Guilt my four horsemen, because they ride me into the ground whenever I’m at my weakest and saddest and most traumatized. Bastards. And, yes, reliving the trauma to put it behind you. I just love when that happens.

    If I do, in fact, make it down to Philadelphia in October, let’s hang out for a bit. For you, Alice, I would uncloak my identity. Briefly and privately and under solid oaths of secrecy that might just require signing your name in blood. Not really. Well, maybe.

    Here’s a story: Back when I was in college in Philly, my girlfriend used to work at this really nice ice cream shop on Chestnut near 20th, right across from the salad joint SaladAlley (which I’m sure is no longer there). There was this horrible creepy disgusting guy who would stand on the sidewalk in front of the shop and expose himself in the direction of the big picture window of the shop while making vile noises, such as, “Oh YEAH baby OH YEAH,” and he’d start to jerk off. Gross. Anyway. All us queers decided it was time for that to stop. So we hung out at the shop on one of the days he typically showed up and, there he was, right on time. He did his thing, pulled out his junk and started his little show. So us grrls all walked right up to the window, got real close to it. The one femme among us pushed her ample cleavage right up to the glass. “YEAH BABY YEAH!” he shouted, he was so pleased with our reaction. Then we all looked down at his bird-in-hand, pointed at it, and laughed so loud and long he could hear us through the glass. We didn’t let up. He was stunned. He lost his erection. He started crying. He zipped up his pants. He wandered away, weeping. And he never came back again.

    It’s time to start the revolution.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is for damn sure time — and PAST — for the revolution. I am gonna pull a #notallmen on ya (my apologies!!), but for sure I got no use for the “hey, woman I’ve never met! Smile for me!” crowd and their ilk. Living in the middle of a big city, and going everywhere on foot the way I do, that kind of crap is constant background noise. A day when no jackass tells me to smile, or calls me sweetheart, or asks if anyone’s told me today they love me (“I’ll tell you, if no one else has!”) is a rare day indeed.

      I’ve noticed an interesting shift in the kinds of comments I get, as I’ve moved into gray-haired, plump, middle age: very little of a sexual or harassing nature [the fact that I’m white helps too], but so much emotional baggage! The endearments, the cajoling efforts to make me smile (“aw, cheer up! it can’t be that bad!”), the periodic offer to tell me I am loved — it all speaks to a wide-spread assumption that a middle-aged woman just going about her damn day MUST be lonely, or in such need of human empathy that I will gratefully receive every “I love you!” I am offered by random dudes in line at the Starbucks. Makes me wanna start pointing out to these yahoos: Ain’t ME the one so desperate for human contact that I’m out here accosting every person with a kind face and a nonfat latte. Sheesh!!

      And — should you indeed find yourself in the city of Sisterly Love come this Hallowe’en month — I will gladly sign in blood on the dotted line. Or, yknow, just call ya ‘Butch’ in person too. 😉

      [As to the therapy ish: yeah, I’d be worried too if I were out here without ANY backup. My group still meets every week — a lower-intensity continuation of the program I went into when I left the hospital 3 years ago — and the therapist who runs that is fabulous. He also lets me sit in on some of his other groups during the week, if I’m in a really bad spot. So all is good. I’ma just have a crap-ton to catch my individual therapist up on when she gets back!]

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I know, not all men. But damn, most men.

        You need a t-shirt that says simply, “Do NOT speak to me until I speak to you first.” I need a t-shirt that says that, ffs.

        I’m glad you have a back-up therapy support system in place. Phew.

        GQB has gone a month without therapy because she’s been teaching/traveling this entire month except for being home just a few days, and she’s a hurtin’ pup right about now.

        I suppose that the men who think it’s their duty to talk to you, to try to get you to smile, feel on some level that they are being nice. Up here in the northeast, particularly in western MA where I live, folks are friendly and talk to strangers because our communities are often rural and people help each other. Hell, I talk to strangers all the time. But I never, NEVER talk to people and suggest that they cheer up when they are obviously entangled in their own quiet thoughts and doing their own thing. When I was a young, cute thing, the level of daily, sexual harassment from men and boys was off the charts. I don’t miss that one bit. I’m relieved to hear that they are not sexually harassing you, at least.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Same here — the harassing stuff can get awfully scary, awfully fast. The “poor ol’ broad MUST be lonely” schtick, annoying as it can be, is really more about misguided good intentions. And a super eff’ed up view of middle-aged women.

          I mean (speaking as one sad pathetic dried-up hag to another!), most men have no clue how liberating the ZERO FCUKS LEFT TO GIVE-ness of women in their 40s+ truly is. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  6. And a warm hug, back to back, like the way one of my foster kids did it – it was too hard for him to be face to face, but back to back and holding hands – that’s still connection! Remember, always, that there are people out here (and in there, and everywhere) you can turn to for the level of connection that suits you – if you reach out!
    And yes, I send love and (because you’re in summer and I’m in winter) comfy slippers, sunshine, and the smell of fresh picked parsley [what the hay, one of my faves!]

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, and I accept your gifts — including the green smell of growing things — with gratitude!

      As for reaching out, this blog continues to be an immensely helpful tool; responses like yours, and all the others here, ground me. The contact with so many compassionate people helps me feel solid, if that makes sense. So, thank you for that as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. How many times can I “like” this? We don’t owe men shit…. not our bodies, not our conversations, not the time of day. Not anything.

    Thank you for reminding women of that. It’s easy to get bogged down with a culture that still tells you that men are entitled to you.

    I’m so sorry you’re having a rough month. It’s terrible when your brain won’t let you live in the present, even as you try desperately to move past all the negatives and on to better things. You’re strong and you’ll make it through. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! Tho it’s the part of culture that still tells MEN they are entitled to women’s younameit that is bugging the snot outta me today. 🙂

      As for the rest of it… I keep reminding myself that one doesn’t recover from PTSD without revisiting trauma. No way out but through. (And thank you for your wishes on that front, as well. ❤ )

      Liked by 1 person

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