My child asked me this morning, at 10 years old, “Mommy, am I pretty?” and I want to cry. It’s a question that is inevitable and is too powerful. I have to say yes but I also say “You are more important than Pretty”
Pretty.. I wish I could say it doesn't matter, but I made a career of my pretty, my pretty enough. For so long, I was pretty on the outside and so fucking ugly, mean, and sad on the inside... When I see pretty, mean girls, I get it. I remember. You hurt because you were hurt and it all hurts when we are measured by PRETTY. Beyonce sang it best, but we've ALL (feminists and all the women artists/poets/singer since time began) been saying this same line for so long and will continue to say, because it's a cultural disease that isn't going away anytime soon. PRETTY HURTS.
I have stopped posting photos of my kids on social media and I will try to keep them from accessing Facebook and social media platforms as long as possible, knowing how these platforms are causing more pain to young girls than those supermodel magazines did to me and my generations. (Kate Moss led us all into starvation of self worth).
I am always posting about my work and community, but don't ever doubt that MOTHER is the most dear role I play in this world and in this lifetime. It's cliche' but... everything I do, I do for them. I wish I could always shield them, protect their bodies and minds with my own, but I know that, as they are full-fledged tweens now, the harshness of the world is upon them and our dark blood magic is flowing. But still I frantically carve at the world's edges, hoping to smooth a gentler space, sowing seeds of joy.
And always this goal, too:
One day, when the inevitable bully tells them that their mother is a whore, I hope that they will reply, "Fuck Yeah." -from my IWD speech 2019
Photo by Aeric Meredith Gordon