When I was a woman

Fat engorged steroid snowflakes blow about outside my window. I should be doing work– my list sits beside me, quietly beckoning, but I cannot. I sit with an empty coffee cup and lose myself in the snow that doesn’t fall but swirls.

I dreamt last night of being a woman. Of being a woman and dealing with the daily harassment of men. Of the jokes we are submitted to, of the roles we are assigned, of the continual guilt–am I doing enough? am I doing this right?

I woke up this morning and I read. I read of the new Lady Byron biography. I read of the first homicide of 2016 in Madison, a woman shot by her coworker. It was easy to kill her because she ruined my life, he said. Because she rejected him and reported him for harassment. My stomach turns. I read more about Beyonce’s video. I read the responses in the comment section. People who don’t believe art is activism. People who don’t think she has a right to say anything because of the color of her skin and the color of her hair and the money she’s made and the songs she’s sang in the past. We have to always be on the same path? We have to always be prepared for what is next? We have to always back up what we’re saying now with, well I said something similar before? How can you live the potential of yourself? I think of Nina Simone:

“You can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.”

I have to read Madeline Albright and Gloria Steinem’s critique of young female Bernie supporters. I feel myself slightly insulted as I would say I’m in that camp. Of course, I want to see a female president. Of course, I want a woman to represent us. Of course. But I’m also tired. Tired of our broken system and the same old. Tired of the boys club. Which I understand; I do understand Hillary Rodham Clinton’s achievement and her struggle. I do get that Bernie’s political career has existed in a place of privilege which was never available to HRC on some level. I realize that the very reasons I like Bernie over Hillary can be much attributed to his white male privilege. So, what do you say? How do you choose? Bernie appeals to me because he is such a loon. Bernie appeals to me because he does seem radical. Bernie appeals to me because god dammit, “let’s push things forward.

When I write my memoir, chapter 9 won’t be, “Why I let you down.” Chapter 9 will be, “You let me down.” And I will describe it without a moment’s hesitation. I will leave the me out of it, and I will detail it. I will capture it in black and white and resist the gray, finally. Finally. The gray exists every day, but in my story I will finally eradicate it. No alarms and no surprises. In my story, I will finally be free of your perspective. I will not write of how I know. I will write of the cold, hard facts. I don’t have to tell your story, even if I know it by heart.

Isn’t my problem the same of all women? The body of constant compromise. Constant navigation.


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