by Eleanor Goldfield

Simone de Beauvoir wrote that one is not born, but becomes –

a woman…

I’ve always so admired the writer who can pack so much life – so much meaning into a single line.

It’s never been a gift of mine –

short and honest to the point of curt cuntness while speaking,

when writing, it’s as if I must explore the thought –

knead it like dough,

roll in it like silk sheets and meander through it –

like forest bathing,

wandering through the leaves of language,

the branches of words,

and before I know it,

the pages of my meaning are strewn onto a path hardly short, or straight.

But de Beauvoir could be beautifully and powerfully succinct.

And she was indeed a woman.

And I love that I can FEEL what that means as I move on through life – to become a woman.

To know what that journey means – and that it is not one path – but a meandering forest bath.

Complete with turn offs, switch backs, losing your way, finding a new one, and a helluva lot of trailblazing.

To be all of it.

To be, as she wrote, the second sex.

And yet the first –

the first to blame,

the first to shame,

the first to be damned –

and the first to taste –

the first to veil,

the first to strip,

the first to burn –

and the first to turn,

and stand unapologetically in the face of a future she raised –

in the present that saw her erased.

But more than this.

She is more than her pain –

more than the shallow sketch you drew,

in the hopes of killing my depth.

I am a thousand years of strength –

the kind that weathers storms,

that fall –

from the sky and our minds.

I am the divine that WILL not be placed –

in the hands of a god that doesn’t believe in me.

I am the joy that dances –

the siren song –

that can quiet swords, or sew revenge.

I am the hips that don’t lie –

that no matter how much they try and hide,

restrict and deny,

bring life – bring light.

I am the mind –

the feminine sense –

the witchy, the wise –

the intellect and the imagination.

The spirit of mothers, of daughters, of sisters –

pulses inside.

I am the future, I am the present – today.

And I am all of this past.

To borrow some unfamiliar brevity – I am a woman.