Reply (or ‘to any one who has ever told me to “man up”‘)

To everyone who has ever asked me to “man up”:

please,

take another fucking look at me.

I am all woman,
all double-x,
all lower-your-voice,
all cover-yourself,
all flash-a-smile,
be delicate,
all survival,
survival,
all surviving,
all fight.

In my conditioned silence all I had been
fighting
for years
is my own instinct.

Every feeling of inferiority planted underneath
my skin.

But I will no longer be victim to this.

I will no longer be subjected to the
sickening degradation of my sex.

I am more than this.

I am centuries of women being beaten up
and burnt at the stakes,
the silent screams held behind their
clenched teeth,
I am the black and blue circles on their
covered faces,
the reincarnation of every girl buried
before ever being able to breathe,

I am the woman I will teach my daughter to be
and I too, promise to not be silenced.

Will not have my gender dragged through the
mud in the name of their righteousness.

We know we are more than this.

But the men in my country have thrown us into open
graves.

Like their ancestors before them, they have
found it best to stifle our whimpers before
they grew into screams.

But I have been clawing my way out of dirt
for so long and I will not rest until I feel
the sun on my face again,

until I am standing on the same steady ground
that they parade on so full of feigned piety.

I am coming back for all the rights that were
dragged away from me.

Before you tell me to “man up”,

know that my womanhood has been stolen away
from me.

Has been turned into something
so perverse,
so wrung with evil,

I had spent years wishing I wasn’t so unholy,

but I’m taking it back.

I do not wish to be anything other than what
I am,

so believe me when I tell you that I will never
“man” up.

I will reclaim the force of my gender,

Realize the holiness of my existence,
rekindle the ashen fires of my passions.

I am a woman reclaiming the sacredness of the
disgraced term

“woman”.

So the next time you want to remind me of my strength,
tell me of our history. Of the women who have waged wars
against all this ignorance before me.

The next time you want to remind me of my strength,

don’t you dare tell me to “man up”.

Just remind me that:

I am all woman,
all double-x, all oestrogen,

I am a force to be reckoned with,
a movement within myself,

all woman,
all power,
all power,
all power.

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