I work at a University and the other morning these were scattered all over the tables in our building. We had to remove them because a student was ‘offended’ but I thought they were awesome….
As women, when we’re children we’re taught to enter the world with big hearts. Blooming hearts. Hearts bigger than our damn fists. We are taught to forgive - constantly - as opposed to what young boys are taught: Revenge, to get ‘even.’ Our empathy is constantly made appeals to, often demanded for. If we refuse to show kindness, we are reprimanded. We are not good women if we do not crush our bones to make more space for the world, if we do not spread our entire skin over rocks for others to tread on, if we do not kill ourselves in every meaning of the word in the process of making it cozy for everyone else. It is the heat generated by the burning of our bodies with which the world keeps warm. We are taught to sacrifice so much for so little. This is the general principle all over the world.
By the time we are young women, we are tired. Most of us are drained. Some of us enter a lock of silence because of that lethargy. Some of us lash out. When I think of that big, blooming heart we once had, it looks shriveled and worn out now. When I was teaching, I had a young student named Mariam. She was only 11 years old. Some boy pushed her around in class, called her names, broke her spirit for the day. We were sitting under a chestnut tree on a field trip and she asked me if a boy ever hurt me. I told her many did and I destroyed them one by one. I think that’s the first time she ever heard the word ‘destroyed.’ We rarely teach our girls to fight back for the right reasons.
Take up more space as a woman. Take up more time. Take your time. You are taught to hide, censor, move about without messing up decorum for a man’s comfort. Whether it’s said or not, you’re taught balance. Forget that. Displease. Disappoint. Destroy. Be loud, be righteous, be messy. Mess up and it’s fine – you are learning to unlearn. Do not see yourself like glass. Like you could get dirty and clean. You are flesh. You are not constant. You change. Society teaches women to maintain balance and that robs us of our volatility. Our mercurial hearts. Calm and chaos. Love only when needed; preserve otherwise.
Do not be a moth near the light; be the light itself. Do not let a man’s ocean-big ego swallow you up. Know what you want. Ask yourself first. Decide your own pace. Decide your own path. Be cruel when needed. Be gentle only when needed. Collapse and then re-construct. When someone says you are being obscene, say yes I am. When they say you are being wrong, say yes I am. When they say you are being selfish, say yes I am. Why shouldn’t I be? How do you expect a woman to stand on her two feet if you keep striking her at the ankles.
There are multiple lessons we must teach our young girls so that they render themselves their own pillars instead of keeping male approval as the focal point of their lives. It is so important to state your feelings of inconvenience as a woman. We are instructed to tailor ourselves and our discomfort - constantly told that we are ‘whining’ and ‘nagging’ and ‘complaining too much.’ That kind of silence is horribly violent, that kind of insistence upon uniformly nodding in agreement to your own despair, and smiling emptily so no man is ever uncomfortable around us. Male-entitlement dictates a woman’s silence. If we could see the mimetic model of the erasure of a woman’s voice, it would be an incredibly bloody sight.
On a breezy July night, my mother and I were sleeping under the open sky. Before dozing off, I told her that I think there is a special place in heaven where all wounded women bury their broken hearts and their hearts grow into trees that only give fruit to the good and poison to the bad. She smiled and said Ameen. Then she closed her eyes."
- A Woman of War by Mehreen Kasana
- Margot N.
- I Have Thrown You Into The Sky Because That Is The Only Place You’re Safe | Lora Mathis
HOW TO BE THE GIRL HE WANTS:
the first time someone tells you these words I hope you stick out your hand and catch the letters in the air I hope you crunch them in your fist I hope you shove them back into the mouth they flew out of I hope and pray you are not eight years old and hanging off of a shopping cart and groaning about how bored you are, I hope you were not young like I was the first time I read a magazine on a shelf underneath the candy I hope you weren’t young because I still thought everything I read had to be true - but better yet, I hope these words never find you.
They tell you to be strong but it’s the little things like this that sit on our hips and tangle in our hair and feel like bees when the night gets dark. It’s the little things we could never ever shake off because the minute we tried, we discovered there were more waiting for us.
HOW TO LOOK GOOD FOR SUMMER:
smile more often. I hope the first time someone calls you fat, you shimmy your shoulders and wink and feel like a goddess and take it as a compliment. I hope you are not the new kid in a fifth-grade class, glasses on your nose and your hair in tangles. I hope nobody ever touched your tummy and asked if you were embarrassed by the way it jiggles. I hope if you ever hear those words, you reach out your beautiful fingers and touch the temple of the person talking and ask, “Are you embarrassed your brain works like that?”
See, I have not gained weight since the eight grade and I’m twenty. I have had about four hundred people tell me I’m skinny but it’s only the two or three voices about the thickness of my thighs and the fat on my hips - these are the only voices that stick. Don’t give them that satisfaction. Take a bath. Stare at your reflection. Count the flecks beside your iris. Promise yourself you’re not going to ruin your life - you won’t let them win. Don’t let that moment cause ripples. Yank out the cruelty from your system.
HOW TO HAVE BETTER SEX:
stop faking it. Stop engineering your body to be a call-and-response of bruises and shots. I hope you are not fifteen the first time a boy kisses you hard. I hope you do not go home with a bloody mouth and spend the rest of your life thinking love is stained with iron. I hope you are not swallowing your sanity to be with somebody. I hope the first time you let someone touch you, they are someone worthy of your trust - I hope that nobody tries to force you into a label like “frigid” or “slut.”
In the animal world, most males have bright plumage so they can attract mates. In humans, we expect ladies to look a certain way. When you break out of the norm, suddenly you’re rattling chains. How dare you not want sex and still look this way. Maybe people are scared of admitting your body has power - it can turn heads in a baggy sweatshirt. Your body doesn’t need a magazine’s confirmation. Your body’s been through hell and still keeps on living. Put on your heels and stalk down the sidewalk. Take off your makeup. Do what you need to feel awesome.
HOW TO BE COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OWN SKIN:
ignore everything they tell you. Don’t let them in."
- Maybe one day I’ll make a list of every single terrible magazine I’ve read. I think I’m gonna start an advice column called “If it makes them money, it’s probably not good.” /// r.i.d
- Notes to Future Lovers, Kent W.