Linguistic Violence, or Why I’d Rather Be On My Own

I am done letting other people define me. I am done letting in anyone who wants in. I am done settling for less than I deserve because I want people who do not know me to like me.

On Friday I went home half an hour into my day because I could not come back from an over-privileged, white co-worker battering me about why Hilary Clinton is better than Bernie Sanders for a full 20 minutes. She hurt me, with the way she talked over me, the way she dismissed any points I tried to make, the way she attacked and twisted my beliefs and ethics. I did not see it coming, which is why I chose to engage. I did not want to believe that someone who identified me as politically similar to herself would treat me like I had less to say–like I was a lesser person. But that’s what happened. And I bet she doesn’t even know.

Post-traumatic stress is real, but I had thought that mine was so minor and I had worked so hard on working through it, that mine was gone. I had thought that the 3 years of abusive relationships pre-C and the 4& 1/2 years of covert racism and ideological dogfights I lived through in Reno were in the past. Two minutes into my co-worker’s approach on Friday made me realize that post-traumatic stress never actually leaves you, if you’re lucky, you just get better at dealing with it. I went home on Friday because I could not pull myself together after this act of linguistic violence. It is violence to care more about one’s self-perception as a “winner” than it is to care about another person.

So I’m done for now. I still want to meet new people I may one day call friends. I still want to be able to relate past and through differences, but I’m not in a place where I can do that right now. I cannot afford to be careless with myself, because there’s nothing worth that cost.