Number of times

Number of times I have said, “I’m sorry.” Number of times I have felt sorry. Number of times I have made people feel angry and uncomfortable at dinner parties for directly expressing my views about women. Number of times I have been called “strident” and “aggressive.” Number of times a male person using my tone and language would be termed “strident” and “aggressive” to his face. Number of times I have thought my life was defined by anger. Number of times I have thought I should become softer, kinder, more open to contrasting views. Number of times I really thought this. Number of times friends have recommended Buddhism and meditation to me. Number of times I have thought no one can live an easy life with so much dissent and refusal in them. Number of times I have wondered if I would wind up entirely alone. Number of times I wondered if my outlook would destroy my writing. Number of times I have thought it was funny being stuck in my temperament and also in a world fighting hard against my desire for change. Number of times I have marveled at Rebecca Solnit for her ferocity and seeming nicer-than-me-ness. Number of times I have wondered if some people have more love in them. Number of times I have rewritten conversations in my head all night. Number of times I have felt it does not matter if your views are popular as long as they are yours. Number of times I have wanted to be loved with all my shit. Number of times I have had dreams about this.

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