I hold in my heart the women I have known, my dear friends, my colleagues I’ve worked with, those I’ve learnt alongside. I call to mind my mentors who’ve listened and walked along side me. I remember the women I’ve read who’ve spoken exactly what needs to be said. I think of my female idols in culture past and present. I look at all of this in my minds eye and all I can see are curves, beautiful, necessary curves, like the Angel of the North, contoured and absolutely resolute. Like the curved forms created by Gaudi (my token male here) to draw with lines soft and still have them stand strong.
A song then, to the women I have known…
To the women who were objected to
because they were too soft,
and cared too much.
To the same women who were told
they were too fierce
and too strong.
Soft and strong in all the wrong places,
like some grotesque part lion, part lamb,
so they could not decide which kind of cage would suit you best,
even though they could not bear to look at you in any case,
even if they would not see you.
To the women who have refused
to nip and tuck who they are,
who have ceased trying and rightly failing
to contort themselves into very specific shapes.
To the women who have kept their whole selves,
not left pieces behind in their wake,
but gathered up instead, insults and all.
To the women who have put two fingers up
to the many things they could change so slightly,
told these voices to jog on.
Refused to succumb to something so unlike them,
Refused to change the orientation of their heart,
Refused to re-train their mind to think in ways more conventional.
Refused to cover up their face and body to be deemed more acceptable.
Refused to pretend,
and so find themselves always at home.
Always with a bottom line to stand on.
A fidelity to a way of being.
The way of soft and strong.