10 Thoughts You Have While Walking Home Alone At Night As A Queer Woman

10 Thoughts You Have While Walking Home Alone At Night As A Queer Woman

This is a true internal conversation I have with myself every time I'm walking alone.

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These thoughts go through my head constantly when I'm by myself at night. I shouldn't have to think about these things, but I do. This is the reality that I, and many others, live in.

1. Don't put your phone away 

Hold on to it. Don't put it in your purse or pocket. Keep it close just incase. Better yet, call someone.

2. Hold your keys in your hand 

You need to be able to get into your car or house as quickly as you can. You never know what could happen in the few seconds it might take you to rummage through your bag. They could also be used for self-defense if heaven forbid I need it.

3. Does this path have enough light? 

Which route should I take? Am I going to be walking on a street that has enough light? Even if it takes longer, is there a safer path I should take..?

4. Check to make sure no one is following you 

Don't make it to obvious, but look around. Be aware of your surroundings. Has that person been behind me for a while? Maybe I should go somewhere else to see if they are actually following me. Am I just being paranoid? No. People get raped, assaulted, and kidnapped every day. Women get raped, assaulted, and kidnapped every day. Queer people get raped assaulted and kidnapped every day. I am not being paranoid. I am being cautious.

5. What should my boyfriend's name be? 

If I'm approached, I need to have a quick story. Something that sounds believable. I'm going to meet my boyfriend, maybe? I need to make sure my 'boyfriend' has a name that makes him sound big and scary. Chad? Max? The freaking Hulk? I can't tell them that I'm single, that might give them the wrong idea. I can't tell them what my sexuality is, that might give them the wrong idea. Honesty isn't the best policy when every 98 seconds another American is sexually assaulted.

6. Your pepper spray is in the side pocket of your back pack 

All you'd need to do is swing your bag off of your left shoulder, unzip the pocket with your right hand, and there it is. Super simple. You can use it if you need it.

7. I wish I could listen to music...

I wish I could just put my headphones in and listen to the Spotify playlist I just made but I can't risk it.

8. Why didn't I ask a friend to walk with me...

Everyone preaches about the buddy system but it's so easy to just assume you'll be fine. You don't want to be that person who victimizes themselves before anything ever happens. But it is better to be safe than sorry. I'll bring a friend with me next time.

9. You're almost there 

Just two more flights of stairs and you'll be on the 6th floor of the parking deck. The car is in the middle row and about 5 cars in. You'll be there soon and you'll be safe. You're almost there.

10. Lock the doors 

Get in the car and lock the doors before you do anything else.

I wish I was exaggerating about these thoughts, but I'm not. This is how I feel when I'm on my college campus, downtown, in a parking lot, and even in my own neighborhood. This is the reality of women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and many other marginalized groups. I should be able to walk somewhere without fearing for my life. We, as a society, need to do better.

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Being at school and away from home can make being sick worse because there is nobody to take of you such as your parents. Another thing is having to make the decision to get the rest that your body needs in order to feel better or staying on top of your assignments to avoid falling behind. My parents will always tell me to get a good night's sleep so my body can feel better the next day. However, sometimes I will feel more stress if my work isn't getting done and I feel like I'm falling behind and leaving things to get done in the last minute.

Currently, I am sick now and the past few days haven't been easy, but I still attended all my classes so I wouldn't miss any material or assignments that were given. I usually end up feeling the worst at night when trying to fall asleep, and by that time the doctors are not present at the student health center. Even though my health is important I usually don't like taking too much time out of my day to go to the health center to see a doctor. Some days I don't really have much free time before the evening.

I don't believe I have been over-exerting myself, but I don't want to just stay in my bed all day and sleep, even though that may be what is best for me. Most professors will be understanding if I email them and provide them a doctor's note as well, but I also just got back from a conference where I had to miss two days of classes next week.

I have been trying to keep hydrated so that way my body can fight the sickness. Also, I have been told if you stay hydrated you can flush the virus out of your body quicker.

Eating can also be a pain when you have a sore throat, for the past couple of days I have tried to have some soup in order to help. Most meals I would have to force myself to eat something of substance in order to give my body some type of energy in order to get through the day. It's also never fun not being able to breathe out of your nostrils. If it wasn't my nose being stuffed, then it would be constantly runny so there was no winning that battle.

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