girls should be seen but not heard

i’m the ratty haired girl in the backyard climbing a tree bare footed. i’ve got scrapes and cuts on my knees and shins from the bark. my skirt is filthy and torn, but i’ve made it to the highest branch. i’m going to jump. the trampoline is below me, and as i push off the branch and launch into the air, i’m the most powerful thing on earth. i know She is going to be angry at my torn skirt, and i know god is watching me and is displeased. i am not biblical femininity. i’m a spirit, a bird. i spread my arms and for the few seconds it takes me to land on the black stretch of the trampoline, time stops. light flows from my finger tips and my hair is a weightless halo around my head.

i would not be held down. i wore patriarchy on my back and religion as chains on my feet, but i still tucked my skirts up at the waist and flew. i told the landlord’s son that i would show my legs, that i would bare my shoulders, and he would respect me.

i am no man’s woman. i filled a barrow with potatoes while wearing my best dress, and tossed my bra away despite modesty. She pleaded, begged me. “be biblical womanhood.”

no. i’ll rub dirt in my hair and tear my skirts and scream as loud as i can, because i will be heard. my voice will no longer be silenced.

i’m a woman, and i have something to say, and no man will stop me. no god will tell me the steps to walk. this is my life, and i run this show.

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