Fiction logo

Someone Is Always Watching You

A story from the women's perspective

By Green Faerie Published 8 months ago 6 min read

If the walls could talk, what would they say?

When I was a young girl, about 7 years old, my teacher frequently liked to remind me, "someone is always watching you." According to her, my behavior, how I dressed and acted, was a reflection of who I was and told people what opinions to have of me.

I wanted to disregard this idea because I've never felt that judging each other was necessary to be happy. I actually observed it to be fairly destructive "helping" children develop anxiety over what others think of them. I think back now and wish for the innocent days when I never had to wonder if I was being watched and judged.

Any close friends I had growing up were accepting of me despite my lack of social grace. But the adults were always concerned with how we presented ourselves and had a lot to say about it.

Being a neurotypical child who had a tendency toward absolute logic and brutal honesty did not help me in this situation. I was constantly questioning and misunderstanding situations because it felt inhuman to be concerned with what another human's personal clothing choices were (and it still does).

I was an early bloomer. By the time I was 11, I had fully developed into my teenage body, verging on adulthood. It was at this point that the idea that "someone is always watching you" became unavoidable for me.

One day at school, I was pulled into the Principal's Office to discuss the clothing I was wearing. Although I was dressed like every other girl my age, according to the adults I needed to dress more appropriately. This included not wearing dresses or skirts above the calf, not wearing shorts or tank tops, and wearing undergarments that kept things from bouncing or jiggling. I was sent home with a note for my mother and that weekend we went shopping.

I remember getting fitted for my first bra and listening to the saleswoman talk to my mother about my body. It was clear to me that somehow I was abnormal because I skipped training bras and had to go straight to full support. They acted as though I wasn't in the room, and I wondered if they realized or cared that I was listening and feeling judged by every word.

As my mother and I continued to shop for what was deemed appropriate school wear, she talked to me about how men view women. She said this was a discussion she had to have with her mom at one point. All I could think was, I'm eleven - do I really have to be concerned with being a woman at this point?

I started to wonder how my need to dress differently came up at school. Who was the first person to notice that my boobs were poking through my t-shirt? Was it a student? Was it a teacher? Was the person male or female? I became fairly concerned with who was watching me and noticing changes in my body.

I imagined some random teacher eyeballing my extra long legs and thinking, "that girl is way too sexy in shorts and tank tops." At the time, it made me feel sick and scared that adults might be watching me in that way. As I got older I realized they actually were sexualizing me and it made me feel much worse.

My fellow class mates, those that weren't close friends, did not help me feel better about this issue. There was a boy who would frequently run his finger from my crotch up to my face (without touching me) and say, "perfectly up the middle." Several others started calling me Jumbo Julie, in reference to my oversized chest.

Girls weren't really any better. They would point and make gestures about my chest as well. My mother said it was jealousy, but that didn't make me feel any less watched or judged. And it didn't help that my dance teachers removed me from dances that caused excessive bouncing because "it's too distracting."

I ended up wearing sports bras and double t-shirts under oversized sweatshirts all through high school, and lived with a constant anxiety of being watched and judged for how I look.

Soon after I turned 12, the honking in the streets began. I noticed more and more that when I'd go places with my friends, people (always men) would honk and yell out as they drove by. I tried not to listen to what they yelled, but sometimes it was hard not to hear the catcalling. "Looking sexy, baby!"

At school I could wear clothing that made the adults feel more comfortable around me. But it didn't matter what I wore in the streets, there was no easy way to hide an "adult" female body with regular clothing.

In college, I eventually learned how to embrace my body and wear things that I felt pretty in. But I never lost the male gaze. It follows me when I walk to my car late at night. It follows me into every bar and restaurant I enter. It follows me on simple but necessary errands - going to the bank or the grocery store, and pretty much any time I'm away from the comfort of my own home I am being watched. It doesn't matter how I dress or look, it's just the fact that I'm a female presenting as a woman of procreating age.

I've been approached countless times by men wanting something from me, a phone number or a smile. Half the time it's innocent enough, but often things are said that are highly inappropriate and have something to do with sexualizing my appearance.

I can't even count the amount of fake names and numbers I've given out to random strangers who think I owe them something for looking the way that I do. But whether they approach me or not, the feeling they are watching me never goes away.

And it's not that all men do this, but it is in fact always and always has been men that do it. This makes trust and socializing with the male humans hard for me. But also knowing that women are judging me based on what I wear doesn't help my social anxiety. Who wore it better? Fab or fail?

The walls of my home have become my friends. I feel most at peace when I don't feel watched.

If the walls could talk I don't think I'd care to exist. Because if they can talk, they can see and hear, and probably judge me for what I wear and what I do. Maybe they'd even whisper to men what I look like without my clothes on. Does the carpet match the drapes?

We deserve privacy and peace. We deserve to exist without judgement for every little thing we do. Those who are able to have it are privileged.

The real question is, if the walls could talk, should they?

Short Story

About the Creator

Green Faerie

Just another self-medicating American cult survivor

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.