Today I had a conversation with a male reader about ‘Gut Feeling’. I honestly couldn’t even tell you his name if you paid me. We literally just kept running into each other at the post office. He finally stopped to ask me what I was mailing so frequently and decided to purchase a copy. I listened as this stranger told me everything he wanted to do to Devin. He stated that although page 2 clearly states, this is a work of fiction, he believes within his heart that it was a true story. Initially, I laughed him off. Then, I felt proud that my words could elicit such a strong emotion from a man that doesn’t even know me. As we stood in the parking lot talking, I tried to defend Devin. However, this man, this stranger wasn’t having it. “Devin didn’t force Kaitlin to do anything. Was he charming? Absolutely! But he didn’t hold a gun to her head…it wasn’t rape.” We both laughed as I tried pleading Dee’s case. He didn’t care what I said, he stood his ground and he didn’t back down. The more I said, “he’s not a villain,” the more he told me how he would have handled him. “I know men like him,” he proclaimed. I eventually gave up and thanked him for supporting my first novel.
As I drove away, my laughter and pride immediately shifted to a small bit of guilt. This was the exact same conversation I’d had with every male in my life. It was one thing for people you love to have such strong feelings but for a man you don’t know to want to “make him feel like chewed up gum,” puts things in a different perspective. I didn’t write ‘Gut Feeling’ with the hope of gaining sympathy for sin. Neither did I write it to paint Kaitlin as a victim. Unlike many women, Kaitlin had a choice! I wrote ‘Gut Feeling’ to share a different side of the story. We often hear the hurt wife’s side or the caught husband’s side. We rarely get the other woman’s point of view; and when we do, we are quick to dismiss her feelings inconsequential. So, with ‘Gut Feeling’ I wanted to humanize the side chick. I wanted to show how she fell, why she stayed and how she dealt with the ups and down of being the other woman. I wanted to show that as wrong as her actions may have been, her intent was not at all malicious. I wanted to show how these women have real feelings and deal with real craziness. I wanted to show how mind games are real and once someone has your mind, your body soon follows. I wanted to show that not all “Becky’s with the good hair” are these hypersexual women doing any and everything for a man’s attention. Some women foolishly became Becky by simply giving too much attention to the wrong man. I’m not defending Devin’s actions, as he knew exactly what he was doing. However, he only did what Kaitlin allowed. My grandmother used to always say, “You teach people how to treat you by what you tolerate.” Kaitlin tolerated his disrespectful behavior and so that is what she got.
That being said, I’m thankful to have been given the opportunity to share a different side of the story. I’m thankful that instead of judgment, ‘Gut Feeling’ has sparked conversation. I’ve had some women I love, respect and look up to, tell me that they too had a Kaitlin experience. I’ve even had some wife’s tell me that although they don’t condone, they now have a better understanding of how it could happen. I’m thankful that now other Kaitlin’s know they’re not alone and don’t have to be ashamed for falling. I’m thankful to give a voice to the voiceless Kaitlin’s of the world, who felt like their sin made the disrespect justifiable while at the same time showing the Devin’s of the world, just how their actions truly affects others. I’m thankful to have the support of so many.
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