How an 8-Year-Old Reminded Me to Fuck Politeness

I’ve been sitting on this blog post draft for several months, and I couldn’t figure out why. It dawned on me today that I’ve been triggered by regret from past sexual trauma (will touch on that later) but it’s time I close out these thoughts and push through processing what I’ve been meaning to write.

On November 15, 2019, I attended my grandpa’s funeral in Sacramento. I hadn’t seen some of my family members for YEARS, namely my not-so-little-anymore cousins. I said hello to my 8-year-old cousin — let’s call her Zoe — and commented on how grown-up she is now.

My arms opened for a hug, but she recoiled immediately. Her mother sensed this and told Zoe to hug me out of respect. She replied, “No. I don’t want to!” My emotions quickly went from shock to pride. This 8-year-old girl had already mastered the concept of FUCK POLITENESS.

Coined by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark on their “My Favorite Murder” podcast, it’s something that murderinos have internalized as a necessary life credo. Basically, don’t go against your instincts to avoid a situation because society demands certain niceties.

My heroines, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark.

Over 8 months later, this incident still plays over and over again in my head. It bothers me that parents often impose lessons of “respect” on their children without regard for their consent or autonomy, especially in extreme cases where an abuser turns out to be a family member.

I didn’t grow up with any semblance of fucking politeness, and it haunts me to think that this might have saved me from being sexually assaulted in high school or raped in college. I know I’d never allow my friends to think that way about their own trauma, but it’s a cycle I’m still coping with.

Instead, I remind myself every day that I don’t owe anyone anything when it comes to being nice. From those who shame me for being too busy to hang out, to men who try forcing me to accept a free drink at a bar, I salute you with my middle finger. Or at least I try to, being a people-pleaser deep down.

It also gives me hope that the next generation seems better with practicing consent. With all that’s going on in the world, I admire those who are unafraid to stand up for what’s right for themselves and others. Look around for that inspiration and let it make you better, not bitter.

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