I’m sincere in my simplistic grouchiness. It is all well and good to celebrate female excellence, female power, female stoic holding on being women in a man’s world, to celebrate for a day. It is all well and good to offer each other support and pats on the back, but it isn’t nearly enough, is it?
I am one of the unfortunate females for whom our status, our procreative abilities, expectations upon us, and of us, translated into a struggle to survive. It feels almost like I want to ignore the fact that the powers that be gave us a day to be celebrated, and then put back into our boxes, and say, no, not today. I don’t want to be told when to celebrate and when to be quiet. I don’t want to be told what to do. My whole life men have been telling me what to do, what I can do, what I cannot do. My whole adult life blighted by being refused an international divorce from the man who beat me mercilessly year in decade out, my motherly love used against me, wielded by the legal system like a all conquering weapon. I would do anything to be with my babies, even be beaten.
I put Patti on the speakers, she is helping me conjure up the ghost of some strength with her refusals and her squeals and her careful assertations of ownership of herself and all her faults, real or otherwise. Because we all need to borrow other women’s strength occasionally, we all need help to access that primordial Goddess energy, to latch onto the mother’s milk of Her warrior strength, and fight through to another day. I’m sick of men’s religions telling me I’m tainted. I’m sick of men’s rules telling me where I can go, and where I cannot. I’m sick and tired of other women putting down other women and their efforts and their fights and their problems and their fears, because, Sisters, I fear we do that way too often.
I’ve been lost in Messianic detours, worship of symbols and signs, I got waylaid in Buddhism, enchanted by Shinto shrines, and made my way back, drained and bled dry to put my flowers at the feet of the Great Mother that birthed the world, and offer my quiet resolution that I will, to mine own self be true, and if some cruel and capricious male God throws my ass in hell for it, then perhaps he should have been there to catch me when I was thrown to the floor.
Yes, we all have to channel the Gloria of Patti Smith’s incantation sometimes, we have to fasten our bubblegum courage to the sticking point, plug in our weapons – our words, our music, our art, our creativity, and yell it to the Heavens, that we exist, and are no longer going to be made to pay the price to men’s rules, laws and institutions that time and time again fail to protect us at best, and cause real harm at worst.
We each have our own manifestation of our own truths. We all have our stalls to set out, our manifestos to publish. We all have the right to strut into a room, Glorious, and have the air part for us, and make way for us. Yes, we all deserve room of our own to flourish, and to offer other women a hand up.
So, Ill put my manifesto here, since we are allowed a voice today…
I reserve the right to travel without fear. I reserve the right to roam and to camp, to boil a pot of water, to make tea in a forest and to hell with the civilized world.
I will have my voice and my say, and if I want to sing it, I will sing it loud without permission, because my voice matters, and I have to right to say, to speak and to spread my Truth as well as listen to others.
I reserve the right not to please men. Not to care for them if I cannot. Not to fuss. Not to indulge. I reserve the right to please myself, and to love other women, and be loved by them. I don’t need to be validated.
That said, I also refuse to apologize for deeply enjoying male company upon occasion.
I will not grow old gracefully and quietly. I will not disappear with age. I refuse to be quiet now I find myself undesirable to men that I never really wanted anyway. I’m gonna put on my best Keith Richards tee and refuse to comply. Age will not calm the rebel in me.
I reserve the right to love women and only women, and not to let a man touch my body ever again.
…And I reserve the right to pick up a microphone and scream…pick up a guitar and play and not give a shit.
I’d love to hear what rights you claim for yourselves as women? What makes you come on like Gloria and walk into that room and own that space, split that atmosphere, as Patti so eloquently and powerfully puts it?
Happy International Women’s Day…..I guess….