I just finished reading “The Only Girl in the Car” By Kathy Dobie and it has inspired me to get back to work on writing my own memoir. It is a project I started months ago, but I seem to lack the time and the bravery to add to it. My goal for my memoir is to write out the events that happened in my early to late twenties and to keep it as close to the reality of the situations as I can. I don’t want to sugar-coat anything. I would like to show exactly what happened and let the reader decide how they feel about the situation… Like Kathy Dobie, when I tell some of the stories from this time period, I have a tendency to try to make excuses for my behavior and for the consequences that followed. I want my memoir to show the truth, even the moments I am not proud of. Unlike Kathy Dobie, I don’t think I’ll be able to use real names. Actually, I KNOW I will not be using real names.
I am ashamed to say that through out a large portion of this book, I found myself judging the teen-aged Kathy. There were many parts where I cringed and thought she was to blame for a lot of the actions against her. Although I found myself judging her, I also found myself relating to her. I definitely made some bad decisions as a teenager and I was lucky in my teenage years not to have had terrible consequences for my actions. I was often “the only girl in the car” as well, feeling more comfortable in a room full of boys than I did around most girls. Yeah, I had a couple of close girlfriends, but they couldn’t give me the same feeling as a group of guys. I oozed sexuality in my early years of high school, often volunteering to demonstrate my lack of gag reflex on a guys finger or randomly changing clothes in front of a group of guy-friends. These actions, along with many others, were where I drew my “confidence” from. I thought of myself as sort of a vampire, absorbing my identity from how these horny boys reacted to me. As an adult, I have recently realized that my view on men and women’s roles/worth is skewed and I am making a conscience effort to change this way of thinking. Essentially I tend to think of myself and women in general as only good for sex and making babies. And, although I thought I was beyond this, I am guilty of blaming the victim when it comes to sexual issues. I definitely still blame myself for the sexual dilemmas that I have found myself in over the years.
At fifteen, Dobie finds herself in a situation that she doesn’t know how to get out of. After having sex with her boyfriend (who is older, seventeen or eighteen) in the back of his car, he convinces her to have sex with three of his friends. He essentially bullies her into agreeing, then watches and holds her hand while his friends fuck her. At this point in the book, Dobie had already told of her early sexual escapades and I found it hard not to blame her for what happened in the back of her boyfriend’s car. I feel extremely disappointed in myself for initially labeling her as “slut” and feeling like she deserved what she had coming to her. How can I feel like that in this day and age? How can I feel like that after some of the situations I have found myself in? I very well can relate to the feeling of panic that I’m sure she was feeling, the feeling of helplessness, of not knowing how to say “no”. But really, would it really have mattered if she did say no? It seems like there are a lot of guys out there that believe when a women says “no” she really means “yes”… So, who knows?
All I know is that I still have a lot of issues to work out regarding my sense of self-worth as a woman and maybe someday I will be able to read something like this and not immediately label the person a “slut” and think that she had it coming to her. And then maybe someday I will be able to think the same way about myself.
I equals Judgmental.