I Don't Feel Bad About My Neck

Back view of woman, hands up to the head, soft colors.
Back view of woman, hands up to the head, soft colors.

I don't feel bad about my neck. My neck is okay. It's holding its own. It doesn't look old yet.

I feel bad for using the word "old" as synonymous with "bad." Where did I learn that to look old as a woman is bad? Maybe I learned it, like, everywhere.

I feel bad that I was more upset when this dude told people I look old, than when I found out he was an alleged rapist. I didn't even confront him about the rape allegations. I just said, "Thanks for telling people I look old. That was really fucking great to hear."

I feel bad about my knees. I have MILF-y knees and I don't even have children. I'm a childless MILF with old knees.

I feel bad for judging people who have children. Recently I was at the Cheesecake Factory (my favorite restaurant and I feel bad about that) and I saw this very Cheesecake Factory-looking couple with their baby. I thought, Oh great, just what we need, another American. They looked happy. I felt like they were wrong.

I feel bad that I wax off all my pubes. What kind of artist waxes off all of her pubes? I should at least leave a triangle on top, and just wax my asshole, inner thighs and outer labia if I'm going to wax at all. But my problem with leaving the triangle is that during the grow-out phase, my OCD really flares up. Like, if there are two lengths of pubic hair "on the mound" it makes me anxious. I feel like it looks mullet-y.

I feel bad that my pubic hair isn't aligned with the current pubic hair trend among porn stars, which is all-bare plus triangle on top. I feel bad that my pubic hair isn't aligned with the current pubic hair trend among hippie girls, either. My friend who lives in Maine with a bunch of hip, organic, homesteader women said that they are waxing. But they leave a big triangle on top to give the illusion of not waxing. To me they are cheating. If you are going to get that organic farm-girl cred, then you should probably earn it by not waxing your pussy at all. Far be it from me to tell another woman what she should do with her pussy. But it just seems a little unfair. They get homesteader cred and a clean butthole? No.

I feel bad when I see feminism used as clickbait. To engage in depth with the ephemeral that is marketing culture makes my inner witch nauseous. I feel like if I read the article I am being poisoned. Like, I am a vampire and clickbait is my garlic, and to turn feminism into clickbait is just a giant fucking puke.
I feel bad that I don't know what makes me a witch, I just know that I am one.

I feel bad that I am a crappy witch when it comes to my body. Like, what the fuck kind of witch eats Lean Cuisine mac and cheese and not Kraft full-fat macaroni and cheese, or regular, homemade mac and cheese (or vegan mac and cheese, if she is a steward of the Earth and all of god's creation, which seems to me would be implicit in being the best witch/feminist/humanist/person one could be). If I were the CEO of a coven I would be like "yo, this Lean Cuisine-eating witch is unacceptable." Though, if I were truly the ultimate witch I would accept where I am and embrace me. But there is still no embrace. I just cannot seem to give myself that hug of the divine mother that is like baby baby baby it's ok.

I feel bad that I don't have a dick. I tend to think that some of my struggles with living in a body are because it is a female body, but that's probably false. If I had a dick I'd probably never get it up.

I feel bad that when a younger person tried to suck my tits recently, there were depth-perception issues involving sagging. Like, I think he expected the nipple to be higher up than it was. The first time he went for the nipple he missed.

I feel bad that when the younger person told me my pussy tasted like rain and a mountain spring and a Faberge egg and a waterfall cave where celebs meditate, I felt proud. I feel bad for feeling proud. Why is a waterpussy better than a bitterpussy or a salmonpussy?

I feel bad that the younger person didn't "like" my Facebook post about going to a police brutality protest.

I feel bad that I posted about the police brutality protest in the first place. By posting about the police brutality protest, I thought I was spreading the word -but now I feel like I was commodifying something that is not mine to commodify. I don't want to appropriate anyone's pain.

I feel bad that I got kind of high on the vibes at the police brutality protest. Like, I cried and it felt cathartic, and it's a catharsis that was not mine to have. Is there a difference between being supportive of other people's revolutions vs. turning something tragic into your own experience? I think there is.

I feel bad that I brought a Prada bag to a police brutality protest.

I feel bad about my struggle, because it is nothing compared to other people's struggle and yet it still hurts.

I feel bad about this essay.

Excerpted from So Sad Today by Melissa Broder. Copyright © 2016 by Melissa Broder. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

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