Here are some basic rules as I came to understand them.
- Be effortlessly “I woke up like this” attractive. At all times. By standards that are constantly changing and move further away as soon as you reach them.
- Do not know you are attractive. Ever. If anyone compliments you in this manner, perfect the surprised/unaffected look. “This old thing?” about all things at all times. In fact, actually hating yourself is best practice.
- Sexy is about you but not for you. It is for everyone else to decide about you and you should be it while maintaining modesty as also defined by others. Like being sexy was an accident and not deliberate. And again, not for you. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll discover that your sexuality is a part of your whole human when you’re an adult. But keep that ish to yourself.
- Have opinions, maybe. But keep them cute and peppered with “I just” and “sort of” and anything that tones down what you say or makes them seem adorably curious.
- Do not exhibit passion about said opinions. Unless they are acceptable and non-threatening ones for lady-identifying-folks such as “my kids are my world.”
- Natural emotional reactions are not for public because one cannot be taken seriously and have feelings. Especially anger. Bottle that shit up somewhere because no one wants to see that. For sure don’t cry.
- Time/money/energy spent on oneself is selfish UNLESS it is justified by needing to do so in order to care for others. Because your sole purpose is nurturing others. Regardless of what your actual values/talents/desires for your own life entail.
- Abuse of all kinds is to be expected if you step out of any of these boxes. And should you dare speak out against any abuse of your person, it is you and your clothes/behavior/choices that will be critiqued, never the abuser.
- Run every feeling, expression, action by the list of “am I unthreatening enough?” rules and second guess yourself every step of the way.
Did I miss something? Probably. This is an “off the top of my head” list from my experience. And this is just about sexism. I didn’t have to learn these rules and those that are learned by those whose sexual orientation, gender identification, race, religion or other identities intersect with sexism making for an even longer list.
The trouble is, the woman I have become (and am becoming more all the time) doesn’t resonate with ANY of those rules. As it turns out I am a multifaceted human with my own values, thoughts and desires. I like who I am and the package it comes in. I am passionate about social justice which falls short of keeping opinions adorable. I am sexual and feel sexy and don’t agree that those things make me less able to be valued in other ways. I do not agree that abuse is justified, ever. I like doing things for myself. In fact, I’m the very best in the world at taking care of me. I have oh so many feelings, which I have found only add to what I say unless I apologize for them. And so, fuck those rules.
You’re going to be seeing more #queenshit from me. What is #queenshit? It is the audacity to believe that I am at the helm of my own life. That waking up in the morning is enough reason to believe I deserve my own care and attention. It is the radical idea that my voice, opinions, sexual expression, appearance, passions, all my ever-loving feelings and EVERY PART OF MY HUMAN are valuable and mine to decipher. Without craftily placing them in a perfect, limiting box I didn’t pick out or agree to.
I thought I was showing up before, but there were still things I was keeping close to the vest. Showing up like the queen of my own damn life means taking bigger risks so that I leave it all on the table. I keep having this image in my mind of me on my death bed asking for my phone to do another facebook live post in “And another thing *finger in the air*” style.
So goodbye rulebook, hello fully expressed human that I am. #Queenshit is a party and you are invited. The only rule is that you make the rules for yourself and allow others the space for their own journey of discovering who they are without all the shit we’ve been handed. We can (and should) help fine tune each others’ leadership and look out for folks whose struggles are different than our own. But this is diamonds sharpening diamonds, it’s about everyone shining not kicking anyone down.
Looking right at you, 2017. Even if doing so makes me somehow threatening. There is some shit in the world I’d like to pose a giant threat to anyway.
Unleashed, firey and showing up all the way. However you decide that looks for you, I hope you’ll join me.