Fiction: Selections from Gen Greer

Paranoia is an Earned Reality

My uncle has many opinions about the women of my generation. We want too much. We wear too little. We make things about us when they have absolutely nothing to do with us.
What things?
Everything! You act as though the world is after you. Like terrible things are always happening to you.
According to my uncle things are always happening to us, never being done to us.
You know what the problem is? You are all so sensitive about things. You know how much time I have to spend at work doing these fucking HR trainings now?
I know by the way he says this that he has never asked a woman a question with the intention of listening to her answer. He’s been alive for 52 years and during all of that time he has not paid attention for one day.
He has never counted up the number of times the secretary in his office has been told to smile more or the number of times he’s seen drunken men grab the asses of exhausted waitresses. He hasn’t watched the women around him turn their car keys into brass knuckles or heard the subtext when we ask each other: Will you text me when you get home safely?
He doesn't see scared women who know we deserve better. All he sees is paranoia. And perhaps we are paranoid. That doesn’t mean we’re wrong.

Nine Things I Wish I Could Tell Myself the First Time I Came Home Crying From a College Party

1. You may have been robbed, but that does not mean you are empty.
2. Your body is a tool for you to move through the world, not a commodity that men own.
3. The world you live in wasn’t designed for people like us, so we will have to build our
4. The ability to express yourself is not something you have to suffer for.
5. You are a good person (even if you don’t know what that means yet).
6. There is a difference between being stable and being stagnant.
7. Given the choice between love and freedom, always choose freedom. Those who really
love you won’t make you choose.
8. You do not need to be extraordinary to be loved.
9. You are extraordinary.

Gen Greer (she/her) is a dog lover and sometimes writer. Her work has appeared in Queerlings, Rejection Letters, The Daily Drunk, Sledgehammer Lit, and elsewhere.