Grananda, Nicaragua Calazada

 

I will never forget the first time I felt small, like I wanted nothing more than to hide, like I was less of a person, because of the attention of a man.

 

I was twelve years old walking home from a day at the lake with friends. It was late in the afternoon in the suburbs of Seattle. I don’t remember how I looked or what I was wearing but considering my age and rate of development I imagine I appeared innocent and slightly dorky.

 

Walking the streets of the town I called home, I experienced what we refer to in my country as “cat calling”. A response I, like all women, have begun to expect when walking alone.

 

Granada, Nicaragua street

 

The honking I could tolerate. The indiscernible shouts I ignored. But after walking for nearly three hours on busy streets, sweaty and exhausted, it was the man who stuck his head out of his car window and exaggeratedly blew me a kiss as he whizzed by, that finally collapsed my spirit.

 

Since then I have been shouted at on streets across the world. I have been followed by men for blocks. I have been begged for sex, companionship, a dance, and conversation.

 

Granada, Nicaragua street

 

A stranger stuck his hand up my skirt when I entered a crowded bar in Belize.

 

In Mexico I stood in an ATM next to a man pleasuring himself.

 

Walking midday in midtown clad in professional attire, an American whispered words dirtier than the streets of Manhattan into my ear as he rounded the corner.

 

Yesterday a man stroked my arm as I passed him on the street in Granada. Two teenagers smacked my butt as they rode by on a bicycle.

 

Granada Nicaragua market

 

And somehow it has all felt so disturbingly normal.

 

I lower my head and divert my gaze.

I try desperately to become invisible.

I tug at my shorts.

I absorb the shame that these men are somehow unable to summon.

 

Granada Nicaragua market

 

I expect police officers to undress me with their eyes.

I barely hear the whistles, the “mami”s, and the “guapa”s these days.

The exaggerated glances, the mumbled “wow”s, and the persistent “hola”s have become a simple nuisance in my navigation of the world.

 

Day after day I endure it.

All because I am a woman.

 

Leon Nicaragua

 

Now, in Granada, Nicaragua, where the looks, the whispers, the shouts, the touches are more incessant than any place I have ever been, I just can’t take it anymore.

 

Let’s try that again.

I refuse to take it anymore.

And you should too.

 

So, to the men out there who bother, follow, touch, shout at a woman who has the courage to be and walk alone, listen up:

 

Leon Nicaragua

 

I refuse to accept that a smile or a glance is an invitation for you to stalk me.

 

I refuse to consider how my attire will affect your libido.

 

I refuse to travel with a man simply to avoid your overt attention. News flash: I don’t belong to him either!

 

Masaya nicaragua bras

 

I refuse to pretend I don’t hear your disgusting remarks. I will respond and it will not be pleasant.

 

I refuse to listen to your wants and needs and decline them politely hoping to not offend you.

 

Leon Nicaragua

 

Instead I will tell you exactly what it is that I want.

 

I want to enjoy my walk, my swim, my coffee, my cocktail, my book

WITHOUT

you and your conversation.

 

Contrary to what you think, I want to be alone. I choose to be alone.

 

Granada Nicaragua school girls

 

And what do I think about your machismo?

 

It is not cool.

It is not manly.

And it most definitely is not hot.

 

Leon nicaragua cathedral

 

So please

just stop.

 

 

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Hello beautiful soul, 

In August 2018 I stopped blogging as This American Girl. Six years ago I started this blog with a simple desire to share my heart and ended up creating a revolution among millions of free spirits wanting something greater for their lives. And now, it's time to keep growing together. If you want to take a quantum leap in what you can create in your reality, I invite you to join The Freedom Tribe, where I share all of my guidance for the freedom lifestyle. Then, hop over to my new website camillewillemain.com where I'm sharing my new message and brand. Thank you for your interest and investment in This American Girl, whether today or for many years. Wishing you a bright and beautiful continuation of your journey. 

So much love,
Camille