To the man who spit at my feet,
Let me paint you a picture of how my day was going before you entered my life. I woke up annoyed and confused. I had gotten a text message from someone that threw off my vibes for the start of the day. And you should know, I’m all about vibes. I had been scrolling through social media and came across no shortage of articles telling me about what this new presidency was going to cut. I was stressed about what that meant for me as a women. This concern slowly extended for the rights of people all over America–women, children, poor, ethnic, you name it. With this gloominess hanging over me, I dragged myself out of bed.
By the time I got through my morning routine, I had changed my mood and perspective on the day. I chose positivity. I sipped coffee, paid bills, and went through what I had to get done before my girlfriends came over later that day–all with a smile on my face. I got myself dressed and set out to Costco, home of items in bulk and a fantastic selection of wine. Now, let’s not forget one important fact… yesterday was the women’s march. An event that has been in the works for weeks. Everyone knew it was happening–all around the world. That should have come as no surprise to you. But let me try to be understanding. Maybe you don’t have social media or cable. Maybe you don’t talk to people who keep up with current events. Maybe you truly didn’t know the women’s march was happening and our conversation came as a surprise to you.
Although I didn’t march, to show some solidarity with my sisters around the world, I wore a pink hat. It wasn’t the march pink pussy hat. It was just a pink snap back that said, “Team Bride.” It was honestly the only pink thing I own. While in line to check out with my bulk water and way too many bottles of wine, your wife asked me whether I was getting married. I giggled, shrugged, and said, “Oh no, just a hat from a bachelorette party for a friend. I usually only wear it for bachelorettes… I honestly don’t even like the color pink.” Your wife and I giggled and I thought that was the end of it. Until, you came into the picture.
“Well, if you don’t like the color pink and you’re clearly not at a bachelorette party, why are you wearing a pink hat?”
“Oh you know, for the cause.”
“What cause? Girls? Ha ha ha.”
I should’ve known from your sarcastic tone and empty laugh that this was not going to end well. In my most sweet and polite tone and with a small smile on my face, I responded:
“Actually, yes. Today is the women’s march on Washington. I’m not able to participate in the march, so I’m wearing a pink hat in solidarity and to show support.”
“Support what? You guys have all you need. I don’t get it.”
“I believe that you truly believe that, but as a woman I can’t help but disagree. I think there is still a lot of progress that we can make. There’s always progress to be made.”
And this is where it happened. Where you took me back to the annoyed and confused state I was in when I woke up. I don’t know what it was that set you off. Was it my pink hat? Was it the word progress? Whatever it was, you thought that it was appropriate–in the middle of the Costco checkout line–to spit at my feet. Not only does this show a lack of general manners for a person out in public… But what’s worse, is your saliva, as it pooled next to my shoe, sent a very clear, very loud message. I was worthless to you. I was less than. I was an empty space to be filled and covered. Your own action contradicted the words you uttered just moments before. No, sir. We do not have all we need. If we had all we needed you would’ve realized how despicable and unacceptable your spit was. And, to top it all off, you followed it up with:
“Fuck you and fuck your rights.”
Your poor wife looked ashamed. I pitied her for loving a man who cared so little about her basic rights. Did I want to punch you? Of course. Did I want to kick you in the balls? Abso-fucking-lutely. But I’m quick on my feet and I knew had I done that, I would’ve ended up on social media as the “violent protester who was immature, unintelligent, and quick to anger” and somehow it would’ve been my fault. Because that’s the world we live in, sir. Where I go to Costco in a pink hat–no signs, no shouting–just to buy some water and wine and somehow hatred is spewed at me–and the media would make it my fault. Because I’m young. Because I’m a woman. Because I’m an immigrant’s daughter. There would’ve been some excuse made for you because you were born with a penis and I was born with a vagina.
Thankfully, the handsome gentleman I had met in the wine aisle was checking out before me and he stepped in, leading to Costco staff kicking you and your tired wife out of their store. I had to be walked to my car for safety purposes. (No matter how much I said I was fine and pleaded to be left alone.) You’re 3 minute interaction in my life changed a whole portion of my day and projected me into a new future. What you probably shrugged off in a matter of minutes, became an ordeal for me. People asking if I was okay. People offering their support. People walking me to my car. You’re nothing became my something.
Now, I left that Costco angered, confused, upset, frustrated… you name it and I felt it. And then, at a red light, as I sipped my iced coffee, I said to myself, “What the fuck is wrong with you Chmura? You’re gonna let some idiotic douchebag ruin your mood?” So I didn’t. I went home. I cleaned. I played loud music and danced. I drank wine with my GIRLfriends and we talked and laughed. We talked about work, aspirations, futures, sex… all topics that probably would’ve made you very uncomfortable to hear six powerful and independent women talking about. But I was happy. You, even if you thought you did, did not have the power yesterday. I had the power. I refused to react to your hatred. I refused to let you ruin my day. I refused to let you make me feel inadequate.
But you did inspire me, sir. You reminded me why I put on that pink hat yesterday. You reinforced my belief that our fight has not ended. You proved my point. You made me think of what I need to do. You made me create my next action steps. You made me write this post.
You may have thought that you had the power yesterday, but really, all you did was empower me.
With a fire in my heart,
The girl with the pink hat at Costco