I hear them call out as I climb in the lift,
Didn’t know if to me as my mind is adrift
Hear them clamoring up as I reach the second floor
Heart pumping, I intuitively race towards my door.
Do I freeze with my key so they can't push me in?
If I need to scream...bonus, my walls are quite thin
If I open the door, will I make it easy for them?
I was suddenly shaking, in full fear of strange men
I rush through my entrance, keep my lights out real dark
Drop my bags down, and floor my flat like a narc
Convinced someone is there or will crash through my place
It’s the first time I feel truly unsafe in my space
Then I got to thinking - well that's not true at all
What's being triggered within me, why this fear-driven call?
Why were these man voices causing me such a scare?
My body physically trembling, in need of being handled with care
I know that I have an issue with men -
I just didn’t realize the who, what or when
How these loud and near voices, instinctually
Could literally frighten the fuck out of me.
Uncertain, unmoving, unsure what to do
Sat still on my couch, for an hour or two
Hearing some clangs, convinced they’ll break in
WTF was my mind on - how did this all begin?
I ring a friend up so she can talk me right down
Her sound advice told me to put on a man’s sound
Tupac 'Changes' became the choice of the night
His lyrics of love help me build up my might
For the rest of the eve, I was trapped in the thought
Why had these man voices made me feel so distraught?
How I feared for my life, felt weak, worry throughout
Wish I’d learned krav maga so I could live with less doubt
A part of me realizes it was all in my mind
A part of me knows I have no fucking blinds
Maybe my apartment's been watched
By a stalker or two
Waiting for the right moment
To attack me on cue
Maybe it’s one too many stares from that man on the street
Every time he eyes me up like I’m a piece of rare meat
Maybe it’s knowing the random violence that happens to women
Maybe it’s because I have too many of my own opinions
I was aware of my anger issues and the feminist like
I just never realized the depth of my emotional strife
Such pain, such fear, sunken deeply within
How can I climb past this, how can I truly win?
The funniest part of this whole scary tale?
I wonder...what if I had changed one detail...
What if I hadn't rushed through my door?
What if I made eye contact on the second floor?
What if I missed the chance to be kind?
Another missed husband opportunity -
was what’s on my mind.
From potential rapist to prince charming you see -
Between fantasy, reality, trapped in Fairytale Theory -
How deeply does my mind spin these mental tricks,
So quickly and thoroughly does she auto-transfix.
What could the lesson of this story be?
Well, it sucked out the fear lying dormant in me
Not pleasant at all but at least it was felt
And with this rhyme, it’s out there, trauma starting to melt...
“When was the last time you felt safe with a man?”
A question asked during a convo with my very best friend.
Thoughts reeled and all my boys rolled through my mind...
Not one time popped up as the safe and sound kind.
“Um. Never…”, I lingered on these words with despair.
How was this possible!? Were these words true and fair?
Even with my most substantial of ships, I didn’t feel safe?
Looking back, I was saddened to acknowledge this disgrace.
How could I do this to me, and also to them?
Why was I so scared of these big, bold, bad men?
And then... it popped.
The issue became clear to see.
I uncovered that I had
felt safe to
By: Zo Flamenbaum
Zo is the founder of School of Shine. School of Shine is a movement for women by women - to start making the change within yourself, so that together, we can create a better world for ourselves, our children, our communities, and our world.