I live in a world where people like me - queer, woman - get killed for being like me: queer, woman. Where people who aren't like me - people who aren't white, or cis - get killed for not being like me. There are places I dare not venture for fear of my identity being my death sentence. There are places I can go that others cannot for fear that their identity may be their death sentence. I live in a world in which I am implicated in others' fear as much as I experience my own fear, and unless I am actively working to dismantle the fear I am implicated in, than I am no better than those who strike fear in me.
I live in a world where twenty percent of all the women I come in contact with are likely to have been victims of sexual assault in some form. Where domestic violence is considered a normal part of life. Where I walk down the street at dusk, or at night, with my keys clenched between my knuckles, repeating in my head the moves from the self-defense class I took six years ago. Where my friend is choked by a stranger on the dance floor, and then again after she's said NO. Where I feel more relieved that she got home safe than surprised that such a thing could happen, because of course that is something that happens. This is a world where these things are not surprises. Where my male partners are as likely, statistically, to be my attackers as any stranger on the street. Moreso. Where I am made to feel guilty or ashamed for fearing for my life in situations where women are often robbed of their lives, and then made to feel stupid if I do not behave as though I am fearful for my life.
I live in a world where every time I look at the news, there is genocide and hate and terror and cruelty being enacted against people who are simply trying to exist, simply because they are trying to exist. Where my heart aches and breaks constantly and I simply cannot do enough to fix it, where none of us can do enough to fix it. Where those who are trying are fighting against a current a thousand times stronger, that saps us of our energy to stay afloat long enough to fight another current. Where the current we fight against comes at us in the form of our neighbours and families and employers and politicians and teachers and religious leaders and everyone who can control us in some way, who can affect our lives for the worse.
I live in a world where some people are thought to be less than other people, because of who they are, and the fact that who they are is different than those in charge. Where everything hurts all the time, everywhere.
I live in a world where a mother would tell her fifteen year old daughter coming out of the closet that she is lucky she didn't beat her, and that bisexuals spread diseases. Where my straight, cis, white "best friend" of fourteen years will dump me because all I talk about it LGBTQ feminist "propaganda". Where caring about my safety and happiness, the safety and happiness of others, is "propaganda". Where telling people that they are being unnecessarily cruel or hurtful is "propaganda". Where compassion is a weakness and an annoyance. Or a terrorist act.
I live in a terrible world. A world I am scared of and scared for. A world I can't save because I am just one small queer woman. A world that needs so much help that it cannot ask for, and that will not be offered.