Tenderness: the Other Definition

Today was a long day that ended a long week at work. FYI: I work retail in a sex toy boutique. This week I’ve had to two customers ask if we carried Spanish Fly/something that makes women “want” to have sex. I have had customers snatch their change from my hands. One reached over the register desk to swipe their own card. Another grabbed my arm and held me without asking. Some customers mindlessly handed me their things as they shopped, regardless of what I was doing, sometimes without looking at or even addressing me. Just the assumption that I would be there to catch their items. I have had people cut me off and suck their teeth while I was speaking. I have had a customer angrily storm out after I troubleshooted and problem solved with them because I ran out of options and could not get them what they wanted. I watched over and over again how people are polite when they get their way and not when they do not. So many small shitty interactions and exchanges of energies.

Today, I had to feign kindness and interest. I had to perform patience. Faking magic is draining. And I am heading home exhausted and resentful because I feel like I have little energy left for the people and things I love. I am trying my best to meditate on this thing called tenderness. It is hard. Tonight I see how tenderness also refers to spots of irritation and inflammation. It refers to a sensitivity to pain and weariness. I want to tend to these hurt spots: the feeling of sometimes not being seen or treated as person; the having to answer a “how are you?” with I’m well, thank you when I’m actually tired and need to scream; the having to smile and extend warmness to people after they mistreat me or cross my boundaries. I want to tend to this tenderness with a going slow, accepting how I feel, maybe a nice bath and a good joint and most definitely a rant. So…

• Fuck you if you treat workers in the service and retail industry like shit.

• Fuck you if you think that it’s okay to have sex with someone without their consent.

• Fuck you if you only know how to extend kindness and patience when you are getting your way.

Do better. Be better.

Ashe

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