lots of rehearsals, dreaming of my alma mater, Elliot Rodgers

This is the second day of six nightly rehearsals this week. There will only be four next week. Mozart, Vivaldi, and Grieg tonight. Fun, but I am tired! I was on family duty or working from 9 am to 10 pm with no break. *phew* Juggling family, performing, teaching, and me-time is always a bit of a trick, but some weeks it’s more challenging. This is the first time since I went away for a week that my kids won’t see me for almost a week of nights in a row. So this afternoon instead of having Hazel do quiet time by herself, I asked her if she wanted to chill with me in my room while the twins napped. She agreed enthusiastically, and we snuggled, played games, and read books. That was nice.

Yesterday my stand partner was another graduate of my alma mater. Possibly inspired by that circumstance, I dreamed about my college last night. The accommodations were rather extremely more plush in my dream than in reality, however: each dorm had its own extensive pool room with ranks of individual endless pools, for example.

I do sometimes dream about going back to study with, or at least play for my college teacher. I can’t, as he passed away quite a number of years ago. I grieve his loss whenever I wake from a dream like that, so this morning I woke up laughing at the extravagance of the pools and sad that I’ll never see him again.

I’ve been feeling fairly melancholy of late. I think it’s partly because my sleep hasn’t been that great (I’ve been waking up early in the morning and not getting back to sleep properly), but also partly because the horrible things that have been happening (are always happening) lately. Here is a good piece (one of many) on the recent killing of six other people by Elliot Rodger due to his anger that women wouldn’t sleep with him. There are some good comments after the posting, one of which I want to highlight here (bolds mine):

We will always have narcissists and angry people in our society, but whether they see women as the enemy and their rightful victims, whether they see violence as their answer du jour, is pretty much up to acculturation.

Violent crime in general is declining. We’re actually getting better at this overall, but violent misogynist extremism seems to be something of a blind spot. And a hell of a lot of women are sick of that blindness and are clamoring for the terrorism that makes up part of their daily lives to stop.

I am very tired of society advising girls and women to “just be smart” to avoid getting harassed, raped, or killed. It is not our responsibility! Nothing about me matters, not my age, my brain, my body, my profession, my connections, my philosophies, or my wishes, if a guy decides he has the right to attack me. None of that will save me. None of it will justify a change in action on his part, in his mind and in others’ minds. I can attempt to live with the societally sanctioned degree of caution, but it will not keep me safe.

I will never forget the occasion on which I was taking the train from my college in the Midwest out to the coast to spend the summer with my then boyfriend. I was sitting in a dining car reading, and there was a group of guys at the far end of the next car playing cards. One of them came over and started talking to me. I tried to indicate total lack of interest, telling him I really just wanted to chill and read my book, but he persisted and persisted. I didn’t want to go back to my seat, because I didn’t want him to know where it was. Eventually he said, “A lot of guys would think you’re a bitch, but I don’t.” What I can’t convey adequately was his tone of voice, something that combined a sneer and a come-on. What he meant, of course, was, “You’re a bitch, but I still want to f**k you.”

I get a lot less attention now that I’m over 30 (quite a long way over 30, of course ), but the very fact that I have a large chest has always seemed to justify commentary when I’m out in public. It’s not a compliment! It’s harassment, plain and simple. It’s designed to create an unequal relationship, and does not recognize, let alone honor my right to consent, respect, autonomy.

Hours after Rodger’s attacks, a man in LA shot at four women who refused to have sex with him. When will we be safe? When men and boys are no longer trained to believe that girls and women owe them anything at all, no matter how much they want (or don’t want) their bodies.

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