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The Art of Being Dead or A Woman

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Knowing that one is either dead or a woman
Is like knowing knowing that the sun shines
Or that the earth spins
We know such things because we have been taught to know them
Taught by the people who pull us from the womb and lecture us
On how to survive invisibility
Step one: Stop talking. From the moment we watch our first Disney movie at age 3 it has been made clear that neither corpses nor women need to do much speaking. Want some advice? Don’t bother. Instead line those pretty little lips with your choice of strawberry flavored chapstick or formaldehyde because God knows they are there purely for decoration like ornaments on a christmas tree. Oh, and PS: nobody can hear you from six feet under or from the kitchen anyway.
Step two: Stop making a living. You take part in the burial of either your body or your career by lying perfectly still and not breathing no matter how much your lungs burn and plead for oxygen while simultaneously allowing someone else to support your limp limbs or your lifestyle while you sit and watch from the background. Hear that? That’s the sound of you being a good statistic in a world where even our newest president insists, “You wouldn’t have a job if you weren’t beautiful.” Which leads us to...
Step three: Make sure to be attractive. Till death do us part from our Sephora eyeliner and MAC concealer, to accentuate our hollow eyes and to hide away our flaws. Always knowing that we are worth nothing more than our jean size and our waistline. From head to toe you must look sexy, but modest. Edgy, but girly all at the same time juggling these ideals until one day a ball drops and hits you like a blow to the skull from the hammer of generalization. When you are buried, don’t you want people to remember you as beautiful?
And finally step four: Listen to the sound of deafening silence while you slowly go insane enveloped in a casket of your own self hatred.
The art of being dead or a woman
Is an art not forgotten
A barbie or a burial
A mannequin or mortician
It’s all the same because sooner or later we all land in the grave
Staring up at the dirt remembering a world that shunned
Our bodies
Our clothes
Our minds
Everything that makes us alive has been robbed and pried from our fists
No matter how iron your grip on self identity is
When you stare into a mirror so long that your vision goes blurry
When you bleed yourself dry and deny yourself the right to have a voice
Because God forbid someone think of you as rude
We live in a nation which teaches us that being polite is more important than being safe
Where we are taught that “yes” is always the correct answer
Where we are taught that the millions of women who are raped or beaten everyday
Were just “asking for it”
Is my skirt too short for me to say no?
Are my heels to high for me to say no?
Are my lips too red for me to say no?
No…
But maybe the problem isn’t what we are saying
It is what we are hearing
I can almost feel my heart beating in short shallow rhythms
As I hide from the weight of all the lives that can’t be saved
Am I too late to be saved?
Are we all too late to be saved?
Why bother when it’s so safe here in our warm cocoon that has nurtured us from day one
And taught us life’s most important lessons:
Stay fit
Stay pretty
Say please
Say yes
Stay kind
Stay silent
The art of being dead or a woman




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