Dee's Journal



Entry #13: I just feel cloudy.


Since that afternoon in the backseat of Victor's car, I haven't been feeling much like talking to anyone. I don't even like to think about what happened or what might have happened if Miguel hadn't come back when he did. I feel angry and scared and sick inside. Why should I have to be afraid just because I'm a girl? Why is it that guys can do what they want and girls have to always be on the lookout and be ready to defend themselves. There's something really screwed up about all this. It's all so unfair!!

I took out my watercolor paints this afternoon. I carefully filled two clean plastic containers with water. Water is so pure. You can see right through it. I wish that I could feel like that. Just the way I felt when I was a baby. Simple and pure.

I took out a large piece of watercolor paper and I soaked it in the sink filled with warm water. I remember an art teacher I had in fourth grade said that if you like to use lots of color and lots of water on your paintings you should "stretch" the paper first. You do that by putting the paper in a warm bath (the sink really) and then you take this really wide tape that people use for sealing boxes... my dad has a roll of it, and you smooth the paper out on a board or something that's stiff and strong and won't bend. Then you tape the edges of the wet paper down onto a board.

I like doing all this stuff before I start painting. It's like a ceremony that has certain steps. And I feel proud of myself that I know all the steps. I didn't have any idea what I wanted to paint. I decided to just going to let my imagination or my feelings to choose the colors and guide the brush.

I mixed a lot of blue with a little bit of red. I got this cool purple and swished it around on the paper. Then I cleaned off the brush. The clean water got cloudy purple. Not pure any more. I guess that's what happens to us when we get older. We get all cloudy.

Then I added more water to the paper, and with my clean brush I choose a dark green and added a touch of bright yellow to it. The colors swirl in the water. And as if there's a current flowing on the paper, the water takes the color onto parts of the paper where my brush never touched. I like watching it and wondering where it's going to go and what it's going to look like when it gets there.

After a while I started thinking about what happened in the car. I called Becca and told her everything. She listened and didn't interrupt me or anything. Then she said that she was feeling really angry at Juan and that even though I had told her what happened, I needed to tell someone who could do something about it.

"Like Miguel?" I asked. "He could beat up Juan. That would teach him not to mess with me."

I thought that was a good idea, but Becca didn't think so.

"What about girls who get bothered by creeps like Juan and don't have boyfriends to defend them?"

She was right about that. And thinking about Miguel maybe getting beaten up, well I didn't like that idea. Becca told me about this book she read called "Reviving Ophelia". It's about girls only being valued as sex objects in our society and because of that, not feeling safe. She said that it would be sexist for me to believe that I couldn't deal with Juan myself. That I should be strong and tell him that I'm not afraid of him and that if he ever touches me again, I will charge him publicly with sexual harassment.

"It wasn't sexual harassment! He didn't rape me or anything."

"Sexual harassment is not only rape. Any unwanted touching or sexual words or flirting teasing stuff that makes you uncomfortable is sexual harassment. You should tell Ms. Harden, the counselor. She's very cool."

I told her I didn't know about talking to the counselor.

And Becca said, "Dee, what Juan did was wrong. It's against the law. He's got to know that he can't do that to you or any girl, ever."

When I thought about the possibility of Juan bothering other girls I knew that Becca was right. I had to talk to Ms. Harden.




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