Once I was the girl who laughed every day, I found beauty everywhere, in everything, I took deep breaths in the morning air and was content to the tips of my toes and the depths of my soul. I was the girl who let her hair dance with the wind, who danced under thunderstorms, soaked through and thrilled, I went skinny dipping in rivers, pools or that cold north Atlantic, never really naked, always clothed in water or the night or the heat of a lovers arms, happy and free. I used to play, explore, sex was all visceral touch and love; freedom in someone else’s arms, I could live and breathe on kisses, a kind of drunk and just as wobbly. I used to be a girl who knew her body was a lovely thing, it was all my own to dress or share as I wished and I was so very ok in my own skin. I used to stay up all night just to welcome the dawn, I read without distraction and slept without fear. I gave my heart and trust without question or trial, I was so very sure in my instincts and I didn’t guess or ask why.
But now I’m the girl who misses her laugh, like a bird without song, I still find beauty everywhere but it’s not enough to sustain the day. I no longer dance, rain still makes my toes curl and butterflies flutter in my stomach but I’m not safe now; I no longer swim, I hold back, there is no one to swim with, to play with or who wants to kiss me. I’m no longer comfortable in my own body, it doesn’t feel as if it’s my own, I doubt every decision of what to wear, I fear being a provocation or the blame my skirt may bring. I stay up all night from fear of sleep and I haven’t finished a book in months. I cannot trust or give my heart despite how badly I want to and I need to understand the why in every word or action.
This is not life; this is a kind of prison, a grey slow torture, and I miss that once upon a girl, but I’m so scared she died on a cold floor one night, she faded with every cruel word of spite or blame, she hid away with every cat call, wolf whistle or honk of a car horn, she paled with every unwanted touch and act of violence and faded with every bruise. She stalled at every rejection, each word of anger or lack of understanding and so she ringed her heart with walls of thorns and held her trust too close to give. I miss that once upon a girl and I don’t know how to get her back…
“Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.”— I’m feeling this so badly at the moment, I wish it would just change, I wish more people would notice, pay attention and change it in their own way… I’m so very sick of it!
“I like that about art, that what you see is sometimes more about who you are than what’s on the wall.”—
- Cath Crowley
Note to the guy who visited my show last summer and rather excitedly told me I was “one freaky chick”, that may be true but the freak you saw was in you… And Ps. I’m not a baby chicken, I happen to be a woman!
“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable and beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.”—Mary Oliver; Starlings in Winter
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”—F. Scott Fitzgerald