Woman-yn-en-to be, or not, to be…

A woman is a gift to the planet, for she is a reflection of the planet, and weaves its manifestation onto the soil in order to bring life -the physics of who and what we are.  A woman is a threat to all that chooses to dismantle the gift of life; she is a nurturer of spirit, and an embodiment of her own existence before and beyond the physical.

What is a woman, you ask?
I say, I am a woman.  I am that which deserves mention.  Body Ecology at this previous Rivers of Honey coined it well when they asked, “how do you show a girl that she is what stars are made of?”

A woman is certain, even in her uncertainty, that she is real.  She expends life onto those that she touches.  She is a human body, in completion, all that she knows.  We could not exist without the scent of a woman.  We wait for it, gravitate for her pull, yearn for her at night.  A woman knows and is change.

Being a woman is as powerful to me, as being alive.  I cannot wish for any other existence, but this one.  In my own womanhood, as we all claim this existence differently, I define her as such:

Opinionated and surreal.  I am admirable for who I am.  I still remember being a young girl and living in the mirror of my changing reflection.  I still see her, looking at herself, wondering what kind of body would come of her.  And being attracted to this new incarnation of myself.

20-year-old version of myself drawing the 16-year-old version of myself looking in the bathroom mirror

I had a sadness when looking in the mirror.  I was never ready to say goodbye to the existence that I had become comfortable with.  I wanted to keep myself for as long as possible, knowing this was not a possibility frightened me. Still, I allowed her to grow, while slowly dismantling the insides and outsides of myself.

I lent myself to men.

This was a process of debrief, I realize now, as I am a woman.  The act of forgiving my body for changing, was to take the current body I was in, and hurt her.  This would make me hate her/ miss her less.  And so, at around the age of 15/16 I had many sexual conquests, all which were unprotected, some forced.  I still remember a large man in the back of his truck near Christmas time, who offerred a ride from Kings Plaza mall, me with my bags of gifts for family.  When we parked near my house, he came beside me in the passanger seat.  Instead of me paying him for the ride, he placed his erection on his lap, and I fisted him to expulsion.  He couldn’t see my tears in the dark.  I remember running, fleeing a car on Flatbush avenue, running into a duane reade and hiding, for my life, panting in the vitamin aisle, I wondered if he would be outside waiting for me.  I recall waking in the bed of a man, who old enough to be my father, and with locks longer than his, unbuttoning my pants and giving me my first orgasm with his mouth.  I remember all of the sex, and all of the pillows I cried into.  I remember my thumb on New York Avenue, erect to cars as they passed, wanting to get in, just to flee again.  I remember wondering then, what it meant to be a woman, since the response to men, had been my only marker.  Forcing the question and the answer.  I remember my girl-hood-woman-hood transition in the shower, washing away bruises, inebriation.  All of these things meant a woman to me then, and I invited her, hardening myself, creating callouses so to evoke a reality that I knew was required for this new body.

And now.

I am none of these things.  I don’t know who that girl-child was, and am surprised to have lived her.  To have survived her definition of woman.

Now, I am a woman, who knows herself.  In the midst of my past, I feel so disconnected from a woman-hood that is defined by sex, but still, empowered by my own sexuality, as only one marker.  Now, I enjoy the hardness of my chin, the brown embalmed spots that my mother calls ‘black girl freckles’ that line my skin.  Now, I embrace my palate for fruit and leaves and alcohol, and my need for love, a child in my womb.  This excites me, my sometimes tired, sometimes excitable, most times caring woman-ness.

I look at my aunts, and am marveled at their smiles.  My mother, still and always, the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.  Her palms are so small, her skin so brown it is purple and translucent, her nature a cave of comfort and warmth; she is full, her life, like a choreopoem, that I will spend my life wishing to perform.  I ask them about my grandmother, and take notes about her coming forth.  Their voices recorded, and overlapping and she is there in the room when they speak, recalling:

born Mary Meruca Lambey, February 12th 1932 on the other side of British Honduras.  Was it the East or the West?  Guatemala has different dissections now.  on a farm, wealthy with land and herd. one of many, her closest sister followed her to the states to help raise the children…

And the part of me that I love the most, as a woman, is my connection to my women -my grandmother, her daughters, her mother, her daughters.  We are one, and I am nothing without them.  They are the center of my every movement.  I owe my life to women, and their women and their women, and the women that we are.  My little sister is an embodiment, almost a woman, perfect and individual, sculpted from the parts of me that weren’t quite all of them, now we have another.  Womanhood, the part that I love is my ancestral connection, that I had as a girl been unable to fully sculpt.  In my imagination, my dreaming, my reliving of the girlhood that I robbed myself of so many years ago, and my connection to spirit, I am a woman.

In that re-living lies the power, in my womanhood, is the ability to conjure, and enforce, and create.  As a woman, I am a creator.  And these visions that I have are potential manifestations of my possible realities.  As a woman, I create magick.  And that is the best part, nurturing and conjuring, dreaming and realizing, opening my palm and with a single soft breath blowing forth all that I desire.

And what about you?  What does it mean

to be

a woman?

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