WOMANIFESTO

 

Congratulations.

You have woken the witch that lives deep inside me.

You have removed the slumber chains from the giant of old.

You have handed me a box of matches and no chaperone

And a world made of lies and polyester.

Congratulations.

 

You have barked up the wrong bitch.

 

Proclaim it:

I have shucked off the good, southern lady’s cloak,

Of the homecoming court, the cheerleader,

The preacher’s daughter, hands gentled in her lap.

They tied it at my neck with a bow, a Gordian girl-knot,

When I was young and bossy and sure-footed

“For protection,” they said.

Whose protection? I wondered.

Enough.

I have sent that shit out to the dry cleaners

I will not pick it up

They can sell it for a profit from a rack on the street.

From now on,

I’m exposing the raw pink edges of my true skin to the sun.

Some things can’t be prettied up.

 

I used to be embarrassed by this side of me:

Messy. Expansive. Unraveled by rage.

The barroom brawler holding out a broken bottle

With a shaking hand

Blood jumping to a punk-rock soundtrack in my soul

Eyes so alive they had to be narrowed to keep the light of all that truth

From burning up the room.

These mornings when I wake,

I feel as if I have eaten a breakfast of gunpowder and a handful of stars

The combination roiling, anticipatory, explosive

My mouth ready to spew out a universe of fire and

An ancestral memory of the silenced women who came before,

Rotting in their shrouds, long dead under the ground

Still angry.

 

No one seems to understand:

That rage has to go somewhere.

Some girls cut. Some girls starve.

Some fuck strangers, tell themselves it’s freedom, not numbness.

Some guzzle gin when no one’s looking.

Some girls swallow their rage down and vomit it back up with the

penetration of a reprimanding finger, stifling the voice,

an Inside Job

The internalized, reflexive police force

Body violating body,

Forever and ever

Amen.

 

I have done all of those things:

Starved. Cut. Boozed. Fucked and run.

I’ve punished myself the way

the world wants to see its women

punished.

Spoiler alert: It’s exhausting.

No.

You exhaust us.

No.

You. Are. Exhausting.

You. And your bullshit.

You, the Senators and Churches.

You, the old men holding the law hostage to your whims.

Blind Justice?

Nah. That bitch sees fine.

Puts the blindfold on herself now.

Stockholm Syndrome, you know.

Happens after a while.

Shrug. Step. Repeat.

Jazz hands.

 

They told me not to raise my voice.

So I learned to swallow all my sharp words.

They told me not to be disagreeable.

So I learned lipstick and smiling, a catechism of femininity.

They told me I was shame.

So I learned to feel shame.

They told me not to curse.

 

Yeah. Good luck with that, motherfuckers.

 

Oh, beautiful for spacious goddamned skies

For “fuck off” and “bite my ass”

Thundering across the parched grasslands of my tongue

Like middle-finger mustangs who won’t be tamed.

Cursing was the first language of my anger.

The poison apple spit out, not choked in.

A weaponized mouth and a sharp wit

To establish a DMZ—“You shall not pass.”

That foul mouth has saved me from myself.

Try to take it from me, motherfucker.

I double-goddamn-dog-dare you.

 

Oh, my anger needs room to roam.

I will spread my legs on the subway seat

Let it take up space.

I will turn up my coat collar and skulk the streets,

Hands fisted in pockets, knuckles turned towards the world, ready.

Oh, it’s on.

I will call up to my sisters at their windows,

“Yo! Leave the dishes in the sink,

and the pantyhose to drip from the towel bar.

Leave your shame on the floor

So they’ll see it first when they come inside,

Expecting you

but finding you

Gone

nothing but a slipped skin, a

warning

To remind them that they were right to fear you

All along.”

Then, soft as a lover:

“Come out into the streets, all you messy ones.

All you angry, hurting, had-enough ones.

It’s time.

Come on out. Come out.”

 

I have awakened to reclaim that girl.

The one refusing the cloak at her throat.

I am an angry woman with a voice

And a foul mouth

And a pen as cutting

as the jagged teeth of a bottle

that has been broken too hard against the bar

and is now a weapon

in a barroom brawl.

 

Your move.

Come at me, motherfuckers.

 

 

 

 

 

233 thoughts on “WOMANIFESTO

  1. I love this womanifesto!! I have also tried all of those things, drinking, fucking, swearing and now just stick to swearing like a sailor which totally pisses off members of my family, but I think they deal well with it, if not, they are not so stupid as to let me in on the angst!

    Thank you so much!

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  5. Beautifully and powerfully written.

    My wife is much as the awoken giant woman your blog describes, and I’d have it no other way. The social circles, the puny men that would have you wear that cloak of “Southern Charm”. They give you that cloak to protect THEM, their fragile egos, their towering fear. A REAL man would find more glory in being allowed to watch the strong woman soar. (Not that you need our approval, just as the sun does not need our approval to rise)
    Remember, too, that there ARE men with a mind and a heart who love strong women, and want to fight along side, to push the cowards out of power. To put “social expectations” back in the closet where they belong.
    Spread those wings, soar like the Goddess you are, for that is more truer beauty than any fake beauty that lipstick or lingerie can imitate.

      • For Kathrnbrady:
        Your life will not be meaningful, unless you make it meaningful.
        Your life is a gift from God.
        He has given it to you freely, to be used as you wish.
        But if you choose not to have some form of a relationship with Him
        meaning that you blatantly disregard his Word and or teachings
        you will never find that inner peace; that you so desperately desire.
        Happiness is a feeling, like sadness and anger
        it lasts only for a moment.
        But the real secret is learning how to be content.
        Being content means that you are happy with who and are and where you are in your life.
        Despite whatever is going on in your life, whether good things or bad, you have a choice.
        You can view your situation as half full or half empty.
        I understand that many of you would say that that is just very cliché,
        but sometimes you have to choose to be happy, even if you don’t feel happy.
        Look for the good in life, it is there.
        And after a while, it will become second nature
        and no matter what is going on in your life or the world around you
        you frankly won’t care because you will be at peace.
        Striving to serve the Lord by serving your fellow man.
        Peace be with you, now and always.

        I guess that I proved you wrong…

      • Feel free to cry over the fact that the world is no longer yours. Come on, keep trying to knock it down, we will just run you over. And we will enjoy it.
        😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈

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  9. “Oh my anger needs to roam”
    I LOVE this line. If we keep our feelings inside, no one will ever know that something (or more likely many things) is wrong. We have to let our opinions be known and fight to make change for the better, because silence sure as hell isn’t going to do anything.

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