by Eleanor Goldfield
Simone de Beauvoir wrote that one is not born, but becomes –
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 –
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.