creating me [using words]

Archive for the tag “becoming us”


There was a thumbprint
left there,
a miniscule smudge
on a glass of water
perched on her bedside table—
the last thing
her tender worn hands
before she died.
Her bed now empty
but no one moved
the glass,
afraid to remove
this residue of her life.
She left fingerprints too
—that last day
and also before—
all over my face,
my hands and my heart.
Her life seemed so small,
The world never knew she was here.
But if you dusted me for prints
you’d find she broke into my soul
and stole
nothing but my awe.


Bloom Her Sooner

I had to learn to be aggressive. Nothing about stealing the basketball from an opponent, scrambling for a rebound, or using my body to thwart someone else’s movement came naturally to me. I had a knack for shooting, which I inherited from my father. Ball-handling, speed, and teamwork found their way to me easily enough. But aggression was like a foreign-country, and I did not speak the language.

Even after I got good at the game, defense included, I still never fouled. I could play every minute of the game, accumulate points, steals, assists, and even a couple rebounds and walk away with only one foul. Never, in all my years of playing basketball, did I get in foul trouble. I could fully engage, exert aggression, hustle, compete, and scrap, but I did it without breaking any rules or injuring other players or getting out of control.

To this day, it is my special life skill I think—I can be feisty without assaulting anyone. I can score without getting the whistle blown. I engage life, but I never blow my top and get thrown out of the game.

This is so very handy as a woman, because the world doesn’t like angry women. The world likes women to be sweet and polite and gentle and skinny. In the early part of the American Women’s Movement, there was some controversy over dress: whether the spokeswomen should express their liberation by dressing more like men (i.e. bloomers) or whether they should disarm the crowds with their feminine charm wearing traditional genteel dresses.

For the most part, I dress genteel, so to speak. I don’t appear this way on purpose; it’s just who I am. In other words, I am non-threatening in tone and appearance almost all of the time—that wiry little player with the awkwardly thin legs you expect won’t need much guarding until she sinks a three-pointer in your face, and even then, you assume she got lucky. It’s not sneakiness on my part; it’s just me to be this way.

But I am a player, you see. Behind this tiny voice and beneath the brim of my feminine hat, I’m all game face. I am tired of seeing my sisters in bloomers get blasted all the time. Constantly benched for too many fouls in a game designed, officiated, and rigged by men.

I do think there is merit in knowing how to restrain your anger, how to show kindness to others, even your enemies, how to be aggressive without directly assaulting another person. But anger itself isn’t wrong—anger is often legitimate and begging us to pay attention to the alarm bells it keeps setting off inside us. It also isn’t wrong to make other people uncomfortable, (which is one of the most startling realizations of my life. I actually don’t need to worry about how being me will make other people feel. I cannot tell you how life-changing that is.)

Metaphorically, I’ll probably keep wearing skirts, because the skirts fit me better than bloomers. But what I want to say to my fellow women is: Wear what works for you and don’t look back. Quit letting men or your mother define what is acceptable behavior; you’re a grown woman now and you deserve to get to live like one.

I’d like to see my fellow women bloom. That’s more important than staying in bounds, or keeping a foul-clean record. Foul if you have to foul. Fight if you have to fight. You can make amends later if you take it too far, but you can never regain a life you forfeit living. Err on the side of listening to your own life, your own heart, your own wisdom, because you are the only one on the face of the planet who has been given this life, this identity, this story. So know who you are. Don’t be afraid that who you are may not be who-everyone-thinks-you-should-be. Who ever found their life purpose by following the norm and meeting expectations? Your good manners will never be noteworthy. Proper etiquette just isn’t a game changer, but I can tell by the glint in your eye, you are a player, so play.

Bloom under the shade of your delicate white hat or bloom and pull on some pants, just bloom, preferably sooner rather than later.

Menstruation Musings

Warning to Men: I am about to talk about my period.

Disclaimer: I am not a health-care professional, nor is this blog scientific. However, a little bit of research into women’s bodies + my own experience with my own body = well, you will see . . .

I have become fascinated by my monthly cycle ever since I learned that it isn’t actually supposed to be painful. Yes, you read correctly. Those gut-wrenching cramps aren’t a natural part of the package apparently. Who knew, right?

So what causes the pain, then? It could be our own denial. We are ashamed of “that time of month,” or we try to “man” our way through it, or we are afraid of letting go, or what-have-you and we create such tension within ourselves that it causes literal pain.

As it turns out, you deserve/need a retreat during your period. Not because you are weak, but because you are so damn creative. Hello, you can make a baby inside your body. That’s big, so give yourself some credit. And that’s not all. You are wildly creative. There is so much potential inside that womb of yours, and we are not just talking fetuses. Books, paintings, cakes, gardens, homes, speeches, inventions, poetry, business strategies—who knows what all is inside of you. Your powers are endless.

Think of the time when your uterine lining is building as the time when you are gathering, honing, and sparking creativity. Your dreams are conceiving, gestating, growing, forming.

But then the day comes when you’ve got to shed the unused energy, the ideas that didn’t work, the grief for what will never be. The excess energy, the overload of ideas, the weighty grief of living—all these things are a necessary part of the creative process, but there is a time when you have to get those things out of you or they become toxic. And us women are on a schedule—to our chagrin or to our benefit.

You can cooperate with the release or you can resist it. Go ahead and guess which option will be the most painful in the long run.


Post Navigation


creating me [using words]


creating me [using words]