By Emily Chadwell

I’m not really sure why I am writing this.

You will never see it, but you did affect my day in a way that compels me to share.

When you slowed down your car, honked until I looked at you, and waved/winked/gesticulated towards me I did not feel special.

No longer was I a person on a run, no longer was I an athlete, no longer was I a human working on my mental/physical fitness.

I became a body.

I was legs.

I was breasts.

Whether or not it was your intention to turn me into these disconnected entities, you did.

Maybe you meant nothing by it; you liked my dog, or my shirt, or you just enjoy honking at people.

Photo Credit: Yann Cœuru/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

But, you took a woman who trusts her body, a woman who respects her body, and even loves it, and turned her into just a body.

I may be oversensitive or dramatic, but for the next 45 minutes my run was no longer about me; it was about how I looked.

Was my shirt too tight?

Were my pants too sexual?

Did my stomach jiggle when I ran?

Things I should never dwell on while working out.

I can’t blame you.

I can only blame the society that socialized you to honk, and me to smile back.

The society that taught you to feel like you had a right to comment on my external body and me to internalize being self conscious.

I don’t think my experiences are special, or deserving of extra attention.

I recognize that there are people who are victims of worse treatment every single day.

I only ask that people who don’t understand the way your actions impact the lives of others to try.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Jean-François Gornet/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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