It feels like punishment. This body. Sometimes. It seems that more things go wrong than right, and as long as the baby is okay the world is fine. That blood drips and panties stain and uteruses hang and bubbling cysts form in the folds and it gets itchy and creamy white and some are too dry and others too small and they need some good germs and on their own will wash out the bad. What is this body? Constantly needing to be locked and unlocked.
My friend newly ripe with motherhood asks me if I want to have children one day as I hold her newborn son in my weak arms. He’s like a little potato sack, but I don’t think that new baby smell is better than when I sniff my lover’s beard. I say, “No.” No is the safe answer. Like when I was in fifth grade and some kids in class asked me if I was a virgin. How could I answer something I didn’t understand the meaning of while completely recognizing the condition of humiliation?
And, everyone laughs.
And, when will I teach my daughter about the glory of her flesh and bones. Not because of what it could do, but because of what it is. Strong, unyielding, constantly healing itself, this open portal into our mollusks.
And, when will I teach my son the meaning of respect. That those who are different deserve more appreciation than antagonizing. These aren’t gendered lessons, but they can reap gendered consequences.
I’m sorry I’m a woman, and I’m told I can do anything, because I’m a girl. This is not me, too. Because of course me, too. Assume it’s me and every fucking woman, too.