Being a woman isn’t easy. I know people say that all the time, but it kind of gets brushed off and I also hear men saying it isn’t easy being a man. I think it would be easier to be a man. Not having to worry about periods or birth control or pregnancy. Not having to be scared to walk around alone at night. I think that would be pretty easy. I hate that my key chain is heavy. I have my car key, my house key, and a key to my grandma’s house. But I also have a flashlight and alarm. I have pepper spray. I have this thing that looks like a cat that I put my fingers into and it's sharp, so that I can punch and hurt someone if they try to attack me. Having to do all of that and there still be a high chance that I could be harmed, means that being a woman isn’t easy. [bf_image id="xr9tc8qt43f358k5cn9h6k6"]
For my capstone project this year, I wrote a collection of poems about being a woman and how scary it is. I haven’t presented my presentation yet, but I would like to share a poem with you. It is called To Be a Woman, hence why I called this article the same thing.
To be a woman is to be scared,
to hold DNA collecting claws between shaky fingers,
to check every darkened crevice for an attacker,
to always be on the highest alert.
To be a woman is to be sensible,
to wear your hair down and keep it short,
to avoid loose fitting clothing,
to stare straight ahead, not down at a phone.
To be a woman is to be smart,
to know the exact spot to punch when attacked,
to scream as loud as possible to cause a scene,
to never be without a weapon.
To be a woman is to be savvy,
to understand how to break free when taken,
to punch out a car’s backlight and wave for attention,
to release zip tied hands with a shoelace.
To be a woman is to be strong,
to fight back, even when they’re bigger than us,
to break bones into pieces and run,
to kill if it comes to that.
To be a woman is to be many things -
things that often go unrecognized.
To be a woman is to plan for everything and anything
That life will most definitely throw our way.
I wrote this poem in the fall, after having to deal yet again with my stalker from work. No matter how many times I report that I am being stalked, or followed, or however I phrase it, nothing is done. I am never safe. No one cares. So, I have to care, just a little bit extra. I have to be just a little bit smarter. I have to be just a little bit stronger. [bf_image id="p78w34knpgbrq7fkr6v97qc"]
And this strength is something I have learned from all of the incredible women in my life. From my grandma, who taught me that I do not need a man to be happy and that happiness is found within me. To my mom, who taught me to speak up for what I believe in, even if those around me don’t agree. To my friends who always taught me to love myself because they love me and if they love me, then clearly there is something beautiful in me. To my teachers, who show me every single day that doing something that you love isn’t work, it's passion. And to myself. I had to teach myself a lot throughout my life up to this point. I had to teach myself that there is strength in letting go, even when it hurts. I taught myself that not everyone is going to like me and that is okay. I struggled with that one a lot. I care a lot about what people think of me. But accepting that not everyone will like me, that took a strength that I had to dig up and wake up from a long coma.
Being a woman is in no way a bad thing. It's just different. Yes, it is scary. And yes, we all have to learn have to navigate the world in ways that work for us, because lets be real, things are not handed to us the way they are to men. But that doesn’t mean being a woman is a bad thing. I would much rather be a woman. Because we are unknowingly bonded through simply being women. Our experiences bond us, as do our connections. I will never not go out of my way to help another woman. Because we have to stick together if we want to make it. But I love being a woman. Because I am strong. And I am me.