Woman

Ugly chest, ugly hips.

Sex on soft, ugly stilts.

23 years trying to accept this body.

In a sea of voices screaming.

You are female: You are ugly, beautiful, sensual, horrible. Cover your repulsive, delectable skin. Anything that happens to you is your fault. You are a woman, it is always your fault.

Wait to be rescued and valued by a kind charitable soul, because the world hates you.

Procreate and try to be pretty and maybe it will be satisfied.

Too much and not enough. The disgusting message of my culture.

Too much, not enough.

A 12-year-old, afraid of what was happening.

What it would mean.

A 15-year-old bleeding for the first time. Paying a lifelong debt of pain and fatigue and blood to be hated by the world.

A child, terrified to grow up. Because her culture tried to get her to believe that women aren’t human. Women aren’t funny. Women aren’t strong or unique or interesting. They are pursed lips and styled hair. They are strange, needy, bitter creatures with annoying high-pitched voices. They are sexual vending machines, a status symbol, a lubricated hole.

Ugly chest, ugly hips.

Is it any wonder I hated these parts of myself?

Because all I’ve ever wanted was to be human.

And this soft body made it hard to masquerade as one.

I could try to disown myself, if I wanted–say I am neither. I am nothing.

Except my heart won’t let me.

I intend to stay here, in this body and its labels, declare for myself that it is human. My body is a good place to live, and I have decided that for myself. I will reach out for as many hands as will join mine. I will raise my voice to be heard and I will defend to my dying breath that women are funny, they are strong and unique and interesting and they can be whatever and whoever is in their hearts to be. They are human.

We are human, and we do not owe the world anything.

Quiet chest.

Steady hips.

Cherished skin.

The world cannot define for me whether I am human or not.

My body is a temple, and first and foremost, it is mine.

Hate it, hate me, if you want.

But I will not.

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A/N: Some thoughts on womanhood and rape culture.

We are not monsters

When it began to mature, I was terrified.

There was no hiding what I was.

People would stare. They would think they knew what I was supposed to be or do or want. Some would understand, others would look at me like some kind of animal.

Centuries of objectification, symbolization, fanatic sacralization.

Beautiful yet ugly, sacred yet shameful. Mysterious but inferior, immaculate yet disgusting. Desired, yet abhorred.

Just because ideas are ancient doesn’t make them right.

What does that make someone feel, to be born in such a body?

Someone who wants only to be human?

Who looks upon their own physical container and wonders why. A child feeling that pain for the first time and thinking what a curse it is to be born this way. Why do creatures like us carry such burden? What an honor, I’m told.

What an honor. We can be procreators, but never human.

And rising against the voices, the dominant, the brutish, the ancient, we hear our own. Insisting what we are. Perhaps we’re crazy. Perhaps we’re wild. Rabid, diseased beasts. Overstepping the lines we did not set, renouncing our masters. Whispering or snarling what we know to be true, however we can get people to listen.

We are not monsters.

We are human.

We are human.

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A/N: Thoughts while milling around the apartment this afternoon.

A Happier Best

I generally entertain the idea that I don’t run away from a fight, that instead I relish a good challenge and embrace growing experiences wherever I may find them.

After two and a half years as a science major, I’ve realized my desire to better myself manifests as less of an intentional pursuit of opportunities as me finding something that looks cool, and then throwing myself in to see what happens. For example, I wanted to go to a private Christian university, so I did, not worrying as best as I could about the financial burden. I am very grateful my parents are currently shouldering it until I get a higher-paying job, but the loans have started to make me nervous. Upon entering said university, I wanted to be a science major–partly because I liked science, partly because I liked the idea of being a physical therapist, and also because I wanted to prove I could pull it off. In addition, I thought it would be good to learn Spanish, and I knew immersion would be scary and uncomfortable. Being a Spanish minor, studying abroad was optional, but I did it anyway. I liked the idea of doing research, so I ended up contacting my professor about an open spot in his lab this summer to see what might come of it. This week, I submitted my research proposal and, if accepted, I’ll be spending a couple months in Arizona studying hummingbirds.

I want to write novels, so I’m working on one. I want to be an illustrator too, with a particular interest in graphic novels—an endeavor I’m just in the beginning stages of pursuing. I’m not sure how I’ll do either of these, and sometimes I drown in my own mediocrity, but it’s a work in progress.

So I like to think I’m ambitious. But the last few weeks have made me wonder.

As the semester is quickly drawing to a close with tightly packed projects and exams, I’ve been procrastinating like mad, and a great deal of hemming and hawing goes on before I actually finish anything. I get distracted, spend far too much time on tumblr, and get caught up in drawing for five hours on a school night. But I’ve been doing this all semester.

So I ask myself if I’m not focusing well enough, or if not caring as obsessively as I used to is a lowering of my standards. I always want to do my best, but this pursuit has started to look different than before.

Freshman year of college, my “best effort” looked like pushing most everything by the wayside, my only free time being my self-imposed Sabbath Friday night to Saturday afternoon. I didn’t write or read much at all. I wasn’t even really all that much into drawing at that point. I was usually stressed out, and attended school functions with a sour feeling somewhere deep within my being—the constant worry that I would regret the diversion.

This semester, however, I write and draw quite often. I procrastinate perhaps more than I should. I tend to wait for inspiration to hit me before doing anything academically significant. I don’t get as much sleep as I used to. I’m in bear hibernation mode with regards to my physical condition. I wear makeup when I have the patience to put it on. I am adamant about not letting academics run my life (any more than it already does, that is.)

This can’t be my best, can it?

I still manage to turn in quality work on time, somehow. My grades aren’t really suffering, last time I checked. I still don’t understand how—maybe magic.

I’m tempted to think I’m slipping, because my amount of general life effort isn’t tightly controlled. It’s a lot more noncommittal and easygoing in parts, but I really do believe it still is my best.

And it’s a happier best, I think. I like it better than the stressed basket-case variety. Here, there’s room for failure and frustration, but ample space to breathe.

Even as finals and projects clamor for my attention and stress breathes down my neck, I operate under the general assumption that things turn out all right in the end. I’m doing my best, after all, and if it’s not enough, God will fill in the gaps.