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A Dame's Dichotomy

by MM 16 days ago in feminism
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A Musing

A Dame's Dichotomy
Photo by Muhammad Ruqi Yaddin on Unsplash

Maybe I'm dramatic. Maybe I have feelings too big for my own good. Maybe I'm unstable and frantic and sensitive and one light breeze away from toppling completely over.

Maybe I'm self-deprecating. Maybe I stare at my body in the mirror for hours, picking apart every inch of fat and curve and bone, only to move on to picking my non-existent blackheads in an effort to divert my attention.

Maybe I make jokes in work meetings to come across cool and nonchalant. Maybe I admit my flaws so nobody beats me to the punch. Maybe I walk with my head high so as to keep the anxious tears from spilling out.

And maybe, this is what it is to be woman.

When the Supreme Court voted to turn my body into the vessel I had always quietly known it was, I lost it. Maybe I overreacted when I sobbed to my partner about my fear of bringing our not-yet-made child into this world. He sat there in silent acceptance and support-- which made me resent him. There he was, safely nestled into his male body, looking at me as if he could not fathom a word coming out of my mouth, and all I could think was, "How wildly unfair that you will never be able to understand my pain."

Maybe I overreacted when I allowed that resentment to take hold in every crevice of my body and grow over me like a black cloud. I sat in empty conference rooms and cried and cried until I had no tears left, while my male co-workers messaged me over and over about the state of the marketing presentation due the next day. All I could think was, "What a fake, beautiful life you live where your only worry is a marketing presentation."

And maybe I overreacted when I got my period twice in two weeks and cried to my partner on the sidewalk outside my apartment about my fear of anything being wrong in my body, especially in this day and age. Again, he did not understand, but his phone opened to a Google search of "bleeding again after your period," which softened my growing resentment of men.

Well, maybe just my partner.

Because nothing will ever stop me from resenting men. The ingrown hairs rubbing against the lace thong wedged inside me will never stop resenting. The chipped nail polish I feel obligated to cover up week after week out of fear of looking messy will never stop resenting. My too-big-too-small-too-flat-too-curved body will never stop resenting.

My body, full of artificial hormones and processed tampons. My body, a spectacle and muse for the old men biking too close to get a better view. My body, which holds so much love and so much light, holds even more resentment for the torment it's faced its entire life-- at the hands of men and women and politicans and homeless people and personal trainers and waxing technicians and sorority women and fraternity men and mothers and fathers and partners and friends and myself.

Maybe that is what it is to be woman. To hold resentment in your chest and your hips and your cellulite and your rolls. To hold resentment for those who will never understand what it is to be woman.

Despite it all, I would much rather be woman than man.

I love lipgloss and pink mixed drinks. I love the way my ponytail swings when I walk. I love the jingle of my bracelets when I talk with my hands. I love the way my high heels click clack on the sidewalk. I love the concoction of scents floating around me— shampoo, body wash, lotion, perfume, hair oil.

To be woman is to feel the softness of your heart and of your body and to embrace it in all its tenderness. The body that I pick apart is so beautiful in all her curvature and smoothness. I love the feeling of a delicate dress hanging from my soft-sloping shoulders and clinging to my perfectly squishy hips. I love the freckles that sprinkle over my "too-sharp" "too-defined" nose in the summer. I love the way my nail polish chips when I chop vegetables for the soup I've decided to make on a sticky July afternoon. I love the feeling of my bare feet on the fire escape when the same sticky July afternoon opens up to rolling thunder and all-consuming rain.

So, maybe this is what it is to be woman.

To hold resentment in the hips that shape my clothes so well.

To scream into the faces of ogling men with perfectly glossed lips.

To feel the most beautiful while cooking in the kitchen that society has placed me in.

Maybe to be woman is to hold both love and hate in my heart.

Maybe to be woman is to embrace the dichotomy of my existence.


About the author


20-something in a city far too big and far too small, with dreams far too big and far too small.

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