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Spoken Word: To Be Woman

by Michelle Wright of Norfolk, Virginia
a freshman wildlife conservation major in the College of Natural Resources and Environment

There’s something glorious about being a woman
Like the feel of Saturday mornings when you don’t have to go anywhere
And the sky has been painted with purple lilacs and periwinkle and you wonder
“Why do I ever go to religion class
When I can learn about God from my bedroom window”
It’s 6 am and you understand the intricate beauty of bending golden rays,
—not only is the air silky in its frigid touch
It smells of the fresh dew drops painted so delicately on the earth below
And invites itself in to linger on your skin
You can play connect the dots with goose bumps to freckles to acne
Oh, it’s one of those mornings when your imperfections are enough, you are enough

Your second floor apartment
Feels like a castle tower and you are a queen
Today life is a gift, wrapped with lavender skies
Finally in your mind you can push aside the forced salads
100 calorie days, abc diets, thigh gaps, collar bones
No more silencing your body much like you silence your voice
To offend is to be human, to be loud is be a woman—there is nothing quiet, about being one

And god doesn’t it feel great
When you can kiss whoever you want
Wear your skin color proudly across sidewalks
Wear your gender, your personality, your identity,
Without the burden of feeling judgment as it radiates from the mainstream

Today it’s okay to eat chicken wings and French fries, and it’s alright to stuff your face with
What magazines and media screens forced us all to believe to be
guilt and regret
A minute on your lips is a moment of bliss this time
Isn’t it glorious that in this gorgeous moment you finally don’t feel like
Less than human, minuscule
No, You are astronomic, a force of nature

Picture this:
You are a baby again and
Mommy’s arms are as pleasant and warm as those spring days
It’s the April of your life and Daddy loves you and you are not broken
and the toilet bowl doesn’t scream to you yet, and cat calls are just meows
Don’t you remember how lovely it feels to run around outside all night
Nothing is there in the shadows yet, nothing will get you, you are safe
You could reach your hands to Orion, Bellatrix, and Pollux
And you would find God standing among them
Bathing you in all of springs delicious breezes, a time of peace
And mom just whispers, as the street lights go on,
Be safe
Tread lightly

But she doesn’t warn you about the bruises she endured
Or the beatings you’ll find yourself giving to your own body
She doesn’t warn you about the way one day your skin
Will feel more like rat pellets and less like flower petals
The taste of iron after runs will be the only thing you want consume

She won’t tell you that, men will look at you the way
You look at candy when walking by a convenience store
You are cheap until you are not,
They determine your worth,
somehow you lost your say while playing hide and seek under street lights
there came a day where someone who wasn’t mom or dad could touch you
suddenly, you didn’t play with dolls, you were one
There is still something beautiful about being a woman
And never speaking about the trials you will go through
Only the motions you must follow
She wants you to be a flower, cared for in a vase
A bird kept in a dainty, little skeleton cage

But no, not today—and you scream
“mom don’t you know, I am no caged thing!”
And now you see that god was there even when
Those hands that were supposed to protect you
decided to lay on you purple hues of violence and
Helped wrap you up in a blanket of self-hatred
that you didn’t realize you began sewing long before you actually learned
No--today you are stronger
Because yesterday you learned
That now you can’t let this stand
Ever again

You are the very goddess
That embodies the sexual experiences
Men dream of
And you have the power to deny him or anyone
Even the simple pleasure of exposure
If you deem it
You are Shiva you are Venus you are Athena
You are
You are
You are

Because there is something magical about being a woman
And the moment you realize you are no longer a paper doll living in a fiery world
More like an Iron Lady with the power to manipulate
Or eradicate the steel chains that held back all your fallen sisters

OH! How, the, sky, will
Those purple hues
With autumn wind off
Goose bump-y skin
And turn them into beautiful portraits in the morning sky
Because somehow there is a god
Even when there isn’t

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