Dear Woman

Be free.

Wrench off the manacles you have twisted around your wrists and ankles and neck and cast them away. Pull the chains out of your hair and your eyes and your ears and whatever deeps you have anchored your tongue in- be free.

Be brave. This road is worth everything you have to give, and you will have to give everything. It’s a small price to pay. Walk away from the shadows that overwhelm you. Grow in the blazing sunlight. Let your leaves dry up and wither away and gaze in awe at the bare, thorny twigs that form your silhouette. Let the moonlight softly caress them, let the breeze love you as it goes by. And when spring comes again, let that be no more beautiful than the stark jaggedness of your autumn. Beauty is whatever you want.

Be free.

Shout or laugh or cry. Bleed for the earth and its burden. Bleed for yourself. Count the stars in the night sky and dare them to tell you the truth. Dare them to speak their secrets. And when you have laughed and cried and raged, go into the quiet stillness and read what you find there. You will never be the same.

You are not a mere woman. You are not a daughter or a sister or a wife or a mother- although you are all of these things, fleetingly and as they suit your purpose, when you want to be. You are not merely a goddess. You are not your face or your body or the number of years you have walked into meaningless walls and struggled to surface under the tide. You are no man’s pride.

And you are no man’s possession. You are not an ornament or a haven or a barter-deal, not an accessory or a mindless smile- though you can play any role you want. But that is not who you are. In your barest essence, when the leaves have blown away and the bark has withered off and there is hardly anything- that is not who you are.

Let your love burn with a fire so fierce that it sets ablaze everything that is not real. Sit quietly among the smoke and ash and watch. You will be the only one left.

Don’t surrender that life. You are not your sacrifice or your martyrdom. You are certainly not the false gods you bled for. Don’t surrender that life- that pure, blazing essence that was all that was left when the world went up in flames. You found it the hard way.

Be free of every lie you have ever been told, and every lie you have ever told yourself. There is nothing you have to do, nowhere you have to go, no-one you have to be.

Be brave. It’s a small price to pay.

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