Thank You, Women
No, this isn’t Ryan Gosling. I wish for you that I could be. I wish I could put on that scorpion jacket, hold you back in an elevator, kiss all your sorrows away and beat the shit out of a bad guy for you. The bad guy in this fantasy looks a lot like the governor of Indiana. But I’m not violent; I consider myself a pacifist (note: look up ‘pacifist’). I also don’t know what to do with anger when I feel it other than put it back in my sock drawer or eat it. I never have known.
Case in point. I just ate a pizza. Not a slice of.
I’m just a woman like you feeling sadder than usual but also more sentimentally grateful to all the women in my life.
On this day before we all go sit across the table from our moms and wonder how quickly we are becoming them, or this day before we don’t go sit across from our moms because they have passed away, or went away long ago, or because our emotional health or our finances or our unsympathetic boss is keeping us miles apart (knowing wherever our moms are, even if it is in front of us, we still somehow miss them now that we’re grown), I wanted to write you. I wanted you to know that I see you.
I see you taking the trash out and then walking your dog as you’re already filtering work emails, waiting for Garbo the 10 year-old Schnauzer to poop out that one last hard grape.
I see you driving your kids to school and rushing to get to ONE zumba class and then being late and sitting in the car defeated, crying, as the carefree, thin woman who can pull off the tie-dye leggings dashes in through the studio door just in time.
I see you quickly eating a bad tuna sandwich, and then trying to find a vein in the woman who is here for her cancer treatment. I see the pissed look in your eyes when you can’t find one.
I see you listening to the doctor tell you your prognosis. I see that your first look is to your mother, telling her it will be okay.
I see you rubbing lotion into your sick daughter’s legs when she can’t do it herself.
I see you taking birth control every day.
I see you taking Lexapro.
I see you you numbly pulling on jeans you hated buying.
I see you next to your father’s bedside, whispering you love him.
I see you going through his piles of papers from the 80s and finding that nude polaroid of the woman who is definitely not your mom.
I see you putting on those fucking pantsuits to vote.
I see you coping with the loss of hope after Hillary Rodham Clinton lost.
I see you feeling gut-punched by the “win” of a narcissistic hutt (as in Jabba the) whom you would never let near your vagina and yet understand in a visceral way why and how he has been given carte blanche to sexually assault and consensually fuck other women much like you for reasons our world has yet to wake up to or acknowledge honestly.
I see you watching him be elected President of the USA for those same unspoken reasons.
I see you eating a pizza.
I see you trying to get this turkey recipe right.
I see you calling Barbara Boxer.
I see you letting your daughter tell you off.
I see you giving her your dreams.
I see you brushing her hair.
I see you taking an abortion pill because you already have two children who you support by yourself.
I see your miscarriage.
I see you carrying a baby in your body, letting them feed off your body, after every method of fertilization was enacted and no expense was spared, and I see you still wondering if this is an okay world to bring them into now, still wondering if you want this.
I see you filling out huge stacks of paperwork so your son can see a speech therapist.
I see you downing a whole cup of coffee, bored but alert, as you watch him bounce around the room, dropping his bottle again and again.
I see you trying to go have fun without them for one night, just one night, and not having enough fun to really feel like it was worth the anxiety.
I see you reading your astrological fortune once a week. I see you quickly X-ing out of it when your male assistant checks in.
I see you taking care of your siblings because you’re all they have.
I see you waiting for him to text.
I see your sigh of relief when he does and I see you replying too-quickly. I see the smiley-face. We all see the smiley-face.
I see you apologizing too much.
I see you bearing the thousands of small comments at your job that cumulatively make you feel less than and not good enough.
I see you being better than all of them and not because it comes easy.
I see your co-worker, Ted, and his bag of broccoli and cold-cut turkey because he’s gone Paleo and it’s working.
I see your mocha frap. Your last mocha frap.
I see you being called a slut by your boss in a jokey way.
I see you stomaching your friend saying “I’m not racist but…”
I see you working out before the sun comes up.
I see you making a vision board out of unread Atlantic magazines. Oprah mags stay uncut. You may need them.
I see you spending six grand at the vet because your dog has a mass.
I see you on the phone with your best friend (again), listening (again) about how she wants to break up with him/her but can’t decide what’s worse: being single or being with someone.
I see you finding it hard to voice how much better being single is out loud because it means sentencing yourself to a life of sweatered pets and dying vibrator batteries.
I see you being sad about Cleveland.
I see you being happy about Chicago.
I see you being anxious for “Gilmore Girls.”
I see you bringing wine and cake to your friend who’s heartbroken.
I see you being jealous of your friend for the love she has, or the job she has or the ass she has.
I see you being Lupita Nyong’o, and I want to be you.
I see you being lonely.
I see you crying alone at a ramen bar.
I see you being asked if you’re dating anyone.
I see you zipping up the dress yourself.
I see you pulling up those control-top tights.
I see you taking them off and throwing them across the room and finally, finally, farting.
I see you looking in the mirror and wondering if you’re pretty. Objectively.
I see you being told to smile.
I see you not wanting to smile.
I see you smiling anyway.
I see you hating yourself for it.
I see how beautiful you are. It’s bananas how beautiful you are. You are so terribly beautiful.
I see you asking me to spoon you the night before you died because we saw each other truthfully and fully more than once. And what we saw was another woman trying her very best to be good, not nice, but good.
I see you and I’m proud of you. I see you and I love you. I see you and I’m so grateful to be one of you.