To All of the Women in My Life

To All of the Women in My Life
by Miriam Eisenstat, Nov 2016

This is not the first time your hearts have broken. It has happened before, in a million pieces, and you are the one who must do the sweeping. I woke up reading news of protests, relieved that we do not have a Woman President for fear the violence would be that much worse. This is what it is to be a Woman in the world; reconciling your voice with the harm it will incite.

I hold all of these women in my thoughts today. The ones who have made me, me. My mother who taught me the power of language. My grandmas who do not shy from their scars. The girls who taught me to raise my hand in class. My friends who taught me they are not my enemies. The mother on the subway with more bags than hands. The girls who model patience as they wait for someone, anyone, to throw them the ball. My teachers who have been slandered behind their backs as they write poetry on the chalkboard. The women at their first jobs, stomping fear beneath their heels.

To you, the Women in My Life: you already lead. You are already strong. Your existence itself is an active protest against those who fear your magnificence, as stunning and homegrown as the Grand Canyon. Your being is all of life and death contained in the body of an ocean. Your feet have danced between the currents at the Red Sea to the sand of Standing Rock. Your mouths have already spoken the truth of oneness, the majesty of yes and non and go fuck yourself. Your tears have filled cisterns to reflect the pink sky you painted. You have already split your time across the aisle, bouncing the future on your lap while singing soprano in the choir. Your life itself hosts time and space, with meaning as great as the landscape of a full moon during high tide.

What a curse to be blessed with these gifts. What a flaw to have such strength. What a strange, paradoxical existence to crave being seen, yet be made to feel shame for this innate desire. And yet, the wholeness of your broken heart lets in more light than the fires on the streets (thanks mom.) You never had the option of giving up.

I internalize in my body this mounting pain of lost trust. The betrayal hurts and my legs shake, feeling the weight of all of those who’ve come before us we have disappointed.

And to the Women who aren’t in my life. To the ones who mistake their lives as unremarkable. I only hope one day you will allow yourself to feel the full complexity that is being a woman, to not shy from heartbreak, but accept the value of our whole range of experience, uniquely ours.

You deserve the whole wide world - my sisters, my mothers, my friends.
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a personal message from me:

Today I am exhausted in my body. Thrashing sounds of palm leaves smacking into my bedroom window had me up at 3 AM. I knocked over a potted cactus on the table downstairs and saw a rainbow atop dark, gray mass on my way home from yoga. Meditation felt wonderful to just sit, though in my seat I couldn't quite find comfort to drop into. In the shower I decided to sit down because all I wanted was to feel release, surrender, stability. Standing to do the dishes felt like it was taking everything out of me. Washing the silverware, I had all utensils in hand and realized in the center was a butcher knife. To refrain from losing a finger, I had to let all the surrounding spoons, forks and butter knives fall into the bucket of water, leaving me with only the big knife in hand. And now I sit, typing to you, Mar curled up in my lap, wondering consciously about today's happenings from time to time and definitely wondering unconsciously, probably all the time. So many feelings. Everyone feeling so many feelings. Not even 5 PM and I'm spent. Going to go horizontal for the remainder of the day and stare into little pug eyes. Tomorrow we march. See you out there.