Cigarettes

Can you go buy me cigarettes

She rasps from the dark cocoon of wherever she is with her demons
On the mattress on my bedroom floor

I take my school uniform off and change into civvies
Put on some mascara so the 7/11 guy will sell to me

Come back with the goods

She’s still there
Deep in her turmoil
But also she sees me
As I bring her lighter

I was raped
She drops it
Like a bowling ball through a glass table
My feet beneath.

I feel the impact
On my childhood
On my innocence
On my place as her daughter

As she discloses
For the first time in her life
Nearly fifty years old
Her vast history of horrific sexual assault

In graphic detail
Of the violence
Of the humiliation
Of the insidious threats to silence her

A suite of stories
That I now see as almost universally thematic for so many women

But her first telling
Was my first hearing

And already I had my own
Silenced stories
Tucked away inside so many poky corners of my soul

She draws on her dart
Exhaling putrid smoke
Into my asthmatic face
She’s feeling that relief
Of no longer carrying it alone

Meanwhile
My feet feel the bruise of the bowling ball impact
My soul is writhing with the discomfort of being made the listener

She looks at my face
Hers switches up and she blinks
Dons the facade of adult
And says

You’d better put your uniform on and get to school


Copyright 2021

International Women’s Day

Grateful this

International Women’s Day

For my:

💜right to vote

💚reproductive freedom

💜access to education

💚freedom to marry who I choose, and to not marry at all

💜property rights

💚freedom to work

💜ability to gather with other women

💚daughters being raised in a time when they know their voices are powerful

💜independence

💚freedom to dress as I choose

💜feminist allies of all genders

💚fire in my belly

💜certainty that we will continue to be part of more and more positive change until systems operate from a basis of true equality for all people all over the world

💚ultimate mother, our planet Earth

💜great fortune at living in a time when so much hard work has already been done to make it possible for me to list all these things safely

💚privilege, and my awareness that I can use it to bust oppression

Attend your local IWD Rally! Gather in solidarity to celebrate and agitate!

Women are talking

Yes, girls are coming out of the woods

And women are talking

To each other

And women listen well

And women believe each other

And women strengthen each other, with utterances of “I see you”, whispered through tears, as soft, hard-worked hands hold each other in loving solidarity

Women are talking, telling our stories, sharing our truths, as the relief of being heard and held trickles streams pours out of us, taking form as words, laughter, snot, yawns, and swearing – lots of swearing

The words are not pretty, the stories are not pleasing, the strength is not something that comes out of a jar of protein powder or a superfood capsule.

It’s gritty

Gritty and real and hot – a strength earned

Earned by staying

By staying with ourselves in the darkness. By staying upright in the cyclonic winds of life and other people’s bullshit.

By staying true to the path of liberation laid out before us; without seeking slumber on the velvet lounge of “someone else will fix this”.

Staying tethered to Gaia’s ever loving support through the sinewy tap root that comes straight out the bottom of our pelvic bowl.

Staying anchored to the highest star above, feeding from the limitless stream of white light.

Staying in the process of our stories swirling through us, rebuilding our cells into new, stronger, wiser, same as before women.

We are not obedient. We are not subservient. We are not controllable.

And we make no apology.

We do not allow the shame of others to isolate us into silence. We do not protect those who have wronged us and our children. We do not complicitly uphold the structures of oppression.

Watch as they tumble down.

Watch as the dust rises.

Watch as the footprints of mothers, sisters, daughters, girlfriends, grandmothers, allies, and sons appear in their multitudes.

And listen. Listen as the whisper builds.

It’s the sound of power surging towards a better world for all. For our children yet to come, for our precious planet. For ourselves.

The Women are talking

-••••-

– after Tishani Doshi Read her here ❤️