I buried the girl I had been because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. She is still small and scared and ashamed, and perhaps I am writing my way back to her, trying to tell her everything she needs to hear.
Belle dir. Amma Asante - 2014 Beyond the Lights dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood - 2014 9 Kisses dir. Elaine Constantine - 2014 Jupiter Ascending dir. Lilly & Lana Wachowski - 2015 The Whole Truth dir. Courtney Hunt - 2015 After the Storm dir. Jessica Oyelowo - 2016 August 28: A Day In The Life Of A People dir. Ava DuVernay 2016 A Wrinkle in Time dir. Ava DuVernay - 2018 Fast Color dir. Julia Hart - 2018 Irreplacable You dir. Stephanie Laing - 2018 Summerland dir. Jessica Swale - 2019
I keep waiting to be treated badly. Does anyone else do this? Literally every day I think, Today is the day when things will change, when I will overstay my emotional welcome, when this person will decide that treating me well is beyond what I deserve. Every nicety, every act of kindness feels like something I need to lock in a vault. It all makes me realize that my threshold for being treated decently was desperately low for like, all of my adult life. I am full of great advice and lofty standards for my friends. Do this, don’t put up with that. When it comes to myself, it’s like, well, you’re garbage so the rules aren’t the same for you. I get mad at myself when I realize this, when I realize how passive I can be, how I try to be invisible in my own life, how I try to not take up space or require anyone else’s attention or energy.
Finally, there came a time when I decided to ignore all the advice I had read and do the only thing I know how to do, which is write. I wrote what I felt like writing, when I felt like writing, how I felt like writing.
This is what most girls are taught—that we should be slender and small. We should not take up space. We should be seen and not heard, and if we are seen, we should be pleasing to men, acceptable to society. And most women know this, that we are supposed to disappear, but it’s something that needs to be said, loudly, over and over again, so that we can resist surrendering to what is expected of us.
What goes unsaid is that women might be more ambitious and focused because we’ve never had a choice. We’ve had to fight to vote, to work outside the home, to work in environments free of sexual harassment, to attend the universities of our choice, and we’ve also had to prove ourselves over and over to receive any modicum of consideration.