ALEXA IS A SLUT

ALEXA IS A SLUT

I stare at the words wondering what they are written with. Was it paint? Glue?
I got a little closer and inspected the material that was used to write them across the front of my house.
I think it’s, I chip at it with my finger nail, I think it’s…mustard?

Ew.

Gross.

I back away to take in the full image again. I’m standing in my driveway, still in my high school uniform, just getting home from my day.
My breathing is shallow. I have a lump in my throat.

Who did this?

Why did they do this?

How many people have seen this today?
Do I call someone? The police? My parents. . .
Oh my God, how will tell my parents? What will they say?
Tears well up and I choke them down. I am stronger than this. If I cry, whoever wrote this wins.
I dial my mom’s cell number.

“Hey, baby” she answers.

“Hey, I have to tell you something”, I say getting straight to the point.

“Someone wrote on the front of the house. I think it’s mustard and it’s hard to get off. I just wanted to warn you before you got home.”

“What do you mean someone wrote on the front of the house? What does it say?”
“It, um, says. . . .uh. . .Alexa is a slut.”
She pauses.

“How big is it?”

“It’s big Mom. Like, really big,” my eyes go wide as I say the last ‘big’.
“Ok, well, I’ll be home soon and we can figure out what to do from there.”
I loved this about my mother. She’s always had this, it is what it is now lets figure it out and forget about it mentality.

“Ok” I say. I hang up and wait.

Later we discover that it is in fact mustard. The interesting part about it being the famous yellow condiment is that once it sets in the sun, it has color stripping capabilities.
After we had the letters pressure washed off the house, we had to paint over them because the wording was still legible.

We never found out who did it. Police couldn’t do much about it.
I carried it’s weight throughout the rest of high school.
I can retell this story like it happened yesterday even though it was over ten years ago. At the time, I had no clue what to do with the emotions that I was dealing with when that day came and went.
At the time, I thought it was just something to deal with and move on.
At the time, I was mostly concerned with what my parents thought of me than the emotional abuse coming from someone who probably knew me personally.

I was more concerned with actually being perceived as a “slut” than anything.
The truth is that it didn’t matter who I had done what with and if I really had opened my legs for more than one person up to this point in my life, because it was written. It was broadcasted for the neighborhood. It was talked about and taken pictures of. It was decided for me that I should have to take than word and the weight that comes with it from that point forward. No amount of good deeds, no amount of wonderful character traits, no amount of extracurricular activities, or above average grades could erase being a treacherous slut.
I remember fighting it for a brief moment in time before eventually I just gave in.
In hindsight I see this all exactly for what it is. People said it enough, I had to defend myself too many times. I eventually said “fuck it”. And I decided to hate me, for the slut everyone already thought I was.
I began disregarding my body. I let people use me. I gave substance to the words and rumors. And I began hating myself for it all.

Fast forward to now and you will see a very different version of me.
Meet me today and you will see a bright, shining light coming from within. You will see confidence, contentedness and peace. Most importantly, however, you will see undying self-love.
You will see no apparent visible remnants of the teenage version of me who was heavily slut shamed during adolescents. It will be hard to tell that I used to loathe being in my own skin. It will seem like a lie for me to say that I hated myself so much I would have rather died at that time. People who knew me at that time who read this now may think, wow Alexa. That’s a little dramatic of a description don’t you think?
And that is ok. I am choosing the words I am writing here very carefully and they are my perspective and they are my truth.

I, along with many others, lived a time in my youth when hate for self was so strong, taking my own life was a brief consideration. Thank goodness it never lasted long and I didn’t struggle with it as much as others, but it was there from time to time.

And from what? A word? Like. . .SLUT?

Today, that word has a different meaning to me. Today, the word “slut” reminds me to give the younger version of myself a hug. It reminds me to tell her that it all gets better and that you are not the words that are told to you.

Slut reminds me to love a little deeper, not only myself, but others who know not what they do. It reminds me to have empathy for those who are at a different part of their life’s journey and have not realized the consequences of their actions and words. Slut reminds me to forgive myself for the times that I have done that to others in my life and it reminds me to ask for forgiveness from those souls.
The words you use are powerful, especially for those who are less than self aware or fully present. Sharing my story with you is my way of healing one step further, sure. But it is also a call to action to take more consideration with the words you choose to use. If a word like slut can have me tell you a story like this, imagine what a few other choice words might yield. Each and every one of us has the power to personally choose not to use words that shame others.

If you are a parent, explain what happens to people on the receiving end of words like this. And do this from an early age! Don’t teach them only after they are already victims. Prepare your kids for how to handle situations like this so that they are better equipped to deal with their emotions and so they do not lash out and hurt others because of it.

And for those who are like me, who have a story too or who are going through some sort of slut shaming now, I am here to tell you that it is not your fault. You are not the words that people have labeled you.
You are worthy. You are beautiful. You are relevant. You are more than capable of incredible things. You are loved.
I also want to tell you to prioritize yourself. Make sure you heal from things like this so that they do not wind up effecting how you handle moments in your future.

A message to men from a friendly feminist: There is not a word used for a man that is an equivalent to the words that are used to shame women for being sexual, for having sex, or for the ways in which they have it. If you love the women in your life, please make a promise to yourself right here, right now to stop using words like slut, whore, skank, tramp, or hoe. I do not want words to use for men so that we can even the playing field; I want the shameful words used towards the women in the world to stop. We can all make a difference, even if our great greats are the one’s that will actually benefit.

A message to other women from your sister: Slut shaming words hurt worse when they come from other women. Just remember that. I removed them from my vocabulary and I sent a silent “I’m sorry” to all those who I have ever shamed with those words before. I can’t change they ways I acted when I was ignorant, but now I know. . .and now you know too. Let’s make a change together for the better. If you choose to use any of the words that are typically used to shame, let’s use them in ways that reclaim them! Turn them into words that empower instead of oppress, or don’t use them at all.

(And, yes “bitch” is included in this. . .and yessssss I know that’s a hard one! I’m still struggling)
To all my readers, I love you in all your sexy glory. Your sex actions or the words used to describe them at any age are not a direct reflection of who you are as a person or the quality of your character. If I could have my way, you would have daily conversations with your genitals and you would only speak the nicest words to them. You would thank them for bringing you pleasure and you would promise to heal from any shame.
Ok. . .it’s getting kind of weird so I will end it there
Honorably yours,

Alexa

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