Knowing My Place
by Dawn W
Several times in the past few weeks I’ve encountered people who aren’t happy with my existence in their lives. Something about me is displeasing or offensive. A coworker told me that “fat girls with glasses should know their place.” A person waiting in line with me said that he admired I try to dress girly since I’m obviously not dainty. Strangers hearing me talk about business admonished that a woman should know where she belongs, and it is not in any decision making role.
The entire time I was growing up, I was told that women could be anything they wanted to be. You could be a doctor or lawyer or even President! This is all in addition to being a wife and mother. That was a given. Also, to be feminine meant to be small. Dainty and demure go hand in hand. The world was my oyster. As long as I was Betty Draper. I’ve always had opinions and never been hesitant to share them. Girls don’t do that. I’ve always known I was smarter than many of the boys in my classes. It’s good to be smart, but don’t flaunt it. I spent my whole life trying to find ways to take up less space, literally and figuratively. I associated my size with somehow being butch. (If you’ve met me, you know that skirts are my favorite thing and I cried when my pearl necklace broke. I’m prissy as hell and I love it.) Girly girls, REAL girls, they were skinny. My personality and opinions were loud. The world’s short attention span didn’t need to be wasted on me. Girls were a waste of time, unless you were pretty. I didn’t qualify so I belonged in the corner. Someone would call me when a quirky sidekick was needed.
Many, many, many years later and I realize that women are women. It doesn’t matter how you dress or what you like or what you do or who you love or what anatomy you were born with. If you look in the mirror and see a woman; you are a woman. We are like flowers of the fields: endless variety and equal in beauty.
We have our place too. WHEREVER WE FUCKING WANT. You can be interested in all the things because you are a human. You can do anything because you are a human. Careers, hobbies, interests…the world belongs to us because we will take it by force if we have to.
So, sorry people. I’m not going away. I will not shrink in size because you don’t like my shape. I’m gorgeous and you can suck it. I will not be silent. If I am the smartest person in the room; I will let you know it. I will not apologize for my interests, weird though they may be. My opinion is valuable and I will make sure you know that.
Do not go quietly into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of your light.