By virtue of living inside a system that is built to undermine your body, objectify and dismember your beauty, chastise and fearfully funnel your power into exploitative ducts, imbibe your soft and essential waterfalls until only barren spaces are left, bury your fiery and exact flame into caskets of underpaid production and mandated reproduction, you, my dear, are my inspiration. When I say you, I am asking every womxn identifying body to look in the mirror. That is, precisely, the you I mean. It is impossible for me to choose just one of you. For I know that my life as a woman is inextricably interlaced with yours- meaning all of us. So, let me honor all of us.
I could name drop the women that have marked me for better or worse; name the magic in my mother’s hands, the power of the color of hope in her smile, the song of justice in her throat; the ethereal and brilliant quality of my grandmother’s heart, of her ways to teach me to love the world and myself and find safety in that love, in the midst of the most monstrous realities; the guidance of sacred words in the mouths of Angela Davis, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Toni Morison, bell hooks, Isabel Allende, Gioconda Belli, the earth shattering music of Mercedes Sosa, Rebecca Lane, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, M.I.A, Beyoncé; the fierce quality of Lucy’s willingness to untangle centuries of patriarchy and oppression on her skin and with her light, lead me towards steps for my own liberation; the genius mind of Nicole, the holy sensuality of Carissa, the steady and powerful voice of Janet, the fearless words of Valeria, the grounded luminosity of Andrea, the revolutionary orbits of Maria Claudia, the transforming art of Cydni, the unabashed roots and wings of Miriam…. I could name drop galore, the names of women throughout history, throughout my story, throughout my veins. What can be said about all the uteruses that have given birth to every single one of us? I am inspired by all of it. I am inspired by all the transgender womxn who have recognized their bones and flesh to be decreed female by their soul; by the womxn who are lesbian, gay, butch, femme. By all the body types, personality types; from cultures, universes and generations unseen, often forgotten but always whispering in our ears, the true current of our rivers. Even, and maybe most deeply, I am inspired by my own self. Because in that depth, is the ancestral entourage, the horizontal retinue of the sisters (not just cisters) that walk alongside me. And the augury of my and your daughter, of the daughter of your son, creating the landscapes of the divine and the corporeal in the weavings of her lungs, hands, feet and pupils. In my own bone marrow is the marrow of well, us. And that is why you, inspire, me.
Do you ever wonder why? Why is it that our bodies are sacrilege to the status quo? What is the cause for the chasm in the tenderness of men’s hearts that see our curves as dangerous and fatal? I do. I wonder every day. And the reason why I am inspired by my own self, my own body, my own anatomy, is that it is precisely because of it having been a war zone, over and over again, planted with mined fields, conquered over with violence and spit, desecrated with entitled fists and corrupted maleness inside my only autonomy, that I wonder every day, why. And my tone is not that of a victim, since I checked off that box by reason of having been one many times; it is also not that of a revengeful desolate trachea, for I have already had to commit to the hermit tasks of healing into those rageful and lonesome crashing waves of despair; and neither is it with a tone of bitterness, for I have swallowed that cleansing tonic and I have nothing but flowers hanging from my hair. I say it with grief, with curiosity, with hope. Hope for the healing of all the ones that have taken from all the hers, without consent. Hope for the healing of all of us, who have endured the heavy burden of emotional labor, underpaid labor, birthing labor, healing labor, to be left toward and within, the freedom of the task of being, creating, loving. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I do believe, us women, these creatures that walk both with tigers and hummingbirds, simultaneously, are beyond capable of making the world a populated innovation of birds and mythical voices. We share and weave the womb of cooperation, the womb of relentless commitment to life, freedom, sensuality, creativity, justice, fierce justice. I have seen it. I actually see it every day. And I am sure you, whether you are a female identifying creature or not, see it too. You might be just too steeped into the status quo and take it for granted, or minimize it, or benefit from it in a way that makes your privilege invisible or assume it not your business. But it is there, and just like the trees, it pumps your lungs with a seemingly seamless ability to breathe. One of the problems is that it is so seamless that your breath coming at the expense of our body is not a problem, or at least not your problem. And unfortunately, patriarchy and living within an oppressive system that dictates competition and objectification as the silent inaudible rule, has made it so that female and female identifying bodies are a target of continuous attack, invisbilizing and abuse. Within misogyny, we are taught self-hatred and hatred of what said oppressive systems make us think are more valuable than us, because of attributes that may or may not fit to the standardized objectification of the female body; we internalize the oppressor. However, I see the resistance in all of us, and I honor that.
And with these words hanging from my mouth like fish trying to find the ocean, I want to recognize all female identifying womxn, and uplift them. And also, name out loud how these oppressive systems hit othered women more than others; so I want to name out loud and honor out loud, not exclusively at all, but specifically, uplifting in prayer of deep respect, black and brown women, immigrant women, indigenous women, LGBTQ women, young women and little girls and our elder women; our survivor women (which I know is the majority of us) and also the women who are no longer with us either because of femicide, genocide or suicide. You inspire me.
So, I invite you to look at yourself in the mirror. And know I am talking about you. You inspire me.