When we are girls,
they hand us dolls and say
“Be like this.”
Pretty.
Pliable.
Silent.
We grow up holding glassy eyed fantasies
Taught early on that we will never be as perfect as what we are asked to be.

When we are no longer girls,
but not yet women,
they hand us razors and say
“Run these across your skin.”
We learn that our bodies are intrinsically wrong
And when we tear ourselves open trying to scrape away the inadequacy they’ve forced on us
They act shocked.

When we are women,
they hand us shame and say
“Here. This is yours to carry.”
So we drape it around our necks
like a scarf
And the furious proclamations that rise in our throats
stay trapped just below our tongues.

But I am not made of porcelain.
Take your dolls back.
I am not yours to shatter.
I will take the razors that they handed me and use them
to tear the shame from my neck
because I’ll be damned if
“woman”
and “shame”
are synonyms.

I will be part of the generation that hands my girls
steel.
And says,
“Be like this.”
Strong.
Immovable.
Shining.
They will grow up seeing that they do not have to bend,
that if someone tries to break them they will not do so silently.
The generation that teaches our girls
that they were made to withstand storms,
and that they are no one’s to hold.

When you start taking responsibility in your life, you suddenly stop
blaming everybody else for what is happening or how you are feeling, because you know that you can do something about it, namely let go of whatever is causing the reaction or triggering the pattern in you.
—  The Spiritual Password
Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.
—  Ernest Hemingway
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