I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.’
I am not superwoman. My mother is not superwoman. My mother’s mother is not superwoman. I am, we are, soft. Can shatter. Crumble in your hands. Our survival does not mean we prosper. We are like other women but unlike them. So do not tell us we can handle anything. We only seem like superwoman, a figment of your imagination, because you have forced our lives to be perpetual labor with only seconds of relief. If we carry the world on our shoulders and the children on our backs, what are we but your glorified mules slapped with guilt praises of perseverance and strength. Our bones and our blood and our sweat have built the wealth of nations. Our burial should not be the first time we rest.
You don’t often make time for self loathing
but today is a different type of day.
In the afternoon, you meet up with an ex lover’s ex best friend in London
here for the day on business.
Over a drink and, ‘it’s so good to see you after two years’
a) The wound is still sore.
b) Your ex lied and cheated, often.
c) The ‘friend’ finds you beautiful.
You enjoy the last fact. The other two are burning a hole in your throat
but you enjoy the last fact until, five glasses of wine later,
they miss their flight
and you wind up together in a hotel bed with starched sheets.
So it happens,
(as things do)
and in the end everything just feels a little stale
and, mostly, you just feel like the tissue paper
in the bin or the half cup of water
or the do not disturb sign
and you both say ‘bye without kissing,
the hug is a useless lie,
they get a later flight. You catch the night bus home.