Shower Thoughts: “Taking Back the Night” in daylight

May 21, 2024, 9:15 p.m.

Content warning: This story includes references to sexual violence.

Dan Kubota’s column ‘Shower Thoughts’ explores those thoughts that you have when you zone out in the shower and let the warm water just run over you.


you’re so emotional and over the top. it was just a kiss. he didn’t force himself on you. 

you weren’t loud enough when you said no. did you even say no aloud, or was it only in your head? it literally happened in broad daylight. you could have said something. you could have spoken up, told him how you felt, gave words to the storm of thoughts whirling about. you could have pushed him off if you’d only tried harder. it’s your fault. you were just too quiet.

you’re literally being so dramatic, far worse things can happen to people. calm down.

you’re delusional. “summer fling, don’t mean a thing.” that’s what danny said in grease. you remember how you thought danny zuko was cool? have you not given up chasing movie tropes and living with your head in the clouds? it takes an idiot to realize that was never realistic. must i remind you that this was YOUR idea? YOU wanted this. YOU wanted to date someone over the summer just to try it out, to get that experience before college and escape your reputation for being nerdy and living life as the eldest daughter, the model child. look at how that turned out.

you could have said something. maybe you are just faking it. you ARE just faking it. always vying for attention from others. you never grew up, did you?

you’re supposed to be perfect. being perfect means being quiet because children should be seen and not heard, and even though you were older (by two months), you felt like he was older. even though you were both legally children in the eyes of the law, he made you feel like more of a child than ever before.

you need to grow up.


You know you were always dramatic as a kid, crying over the littlest of things. You were rightly branded as “sensitive” and easily hurt; people always told you you needed to have thicker skin or this world would be a hard one for you. You always lived with your head in the clouds.

You were supposed to walk down an aisle paved with pastel-colored rose petals while wearing a billowing, lacy white dress to receive a shiny diamond ring and kiss the Prince Charming in front of the grandiloquent, fancy Disney castle. That’s just how things were in the movies, and if they happened like that in the movies, wasn’t that how they should have happened in real life? They did with what seemed just about everyone; in each neatly framed wedding photo, the princess (bride) in a billowy, lacy white dress looking radiant as ever lovingly kissed her prince (her hand strategically placed so her ring would catch the attention of the crowd) as adoring lords and ladies of the court (bridesmaids and groomsmen) and townspeople (guests) watched on in admiration. 

You know full well that’s what was supposed to happen. You know full well you couldn’t mess up that first time you dared to step into the world of love. You are the oldest. You are the one to set the standard. You HAD to. Everyone else follows in your footsteps, and heaven forbid you step out of line and mess it up for everyone else.

Your cousins pestered you for details – where did you go? What did you do? Did he pay for you? Can we see photos? You gave some cop-out answer – it was fun! We had a good time! We hung out and talked and bowling was lovely! You know how much I like bowling when the four of us go together. 

Your sister seemed skeptical; she always knew about these things before anyone else did, she knows you’re not a good liar. You couldn’t tell her. Not until that late night when we were gathered in the backyard did you tell them what happened, protected by the cover of the dark and the quiet of the night. How could you be so weak? How could you let someone else take advantage of you? How could you, such a loudmouth, fall silent the one time you should have been loud and spoken up about something? Always chattering useless things and never speaking when it actually mattered. You fell silent, that you did. You pretended it didn’t matter and stopped thinking about it.




You’re funny. You know you’re really bad at lying to yourself. You know full well you never really pushed it away, that you could never keep away from your notebook and you’d write everything down all over again. 


I didn’t know kissing someone was supposed to be an enjoyable activity. That it could be one for me, that is. I knew it was what you were supposed to do because of this Disney fairytale I held (and still do) close to my heart, but I didn’t know that I could want it, not merely tolerate it. I didn’t know I could want physical intimacy, to be close to someone and gently pull them closer instead of struggling, fighting to push them off.

Olivia Rodrigo said it best in “scared of my guitar” with the lyrics “I’m so scared of my guitar / ‘Cause it cuts right through to the heart / Yeah, it knows me too well so I got no excuse / I can’t lie to it the same way I lie to you.”

Her guitar is the notebook and pen that lies at the bottom of my backpack. Writing everything down made it real, crucial evidence that I didn’t have to run anymore.

The first few words were hard to get out. Yet in no time I was writing faster than the feelings rushing into me, rushing onto the page; it seemed I couldn’t write fast enough to keep up with my mind. Words on paper became words aloud to my bathroom reflection became words quietly spoken over the phone at 2 a.m. when I was too sleepy to think about being self-conscious, text messages to my friends an ocean away. Thoughts shoved away in the darkest corners of my mind became thoughts whispered in the silence became thoughts plastered on the giant marquee for all to see. Thoughts became real, and real was — is — okay.

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