By: Liberate Zealot
Content Warning: Mentions of rape, street harassment, and rape threats.
Don't mistake my projection of calmness for a lack of emotion.
I'm a woman, brought up not to rage.
Since I was 12 any anger lead to jokes about PMS,
Screaming or crying made me a "crazy bitch."
Even calm but fervent disagreement brought reminders to respect my elders,
to not misbehave.
"Boys won't like you if you disagree."
"Please, don't make a scene."
And so I'm calm.
My voice is gentle, and I try to not let it be "too" loud.
My words are thoughtful and deliberate.
And no matter how I feel, I can smile beautifully.
I wish I remembered how to rage.
How to scream and sob in bursts of emotion that shake the walls.
When the resonance of my feet and voice vibrated through the house.
Because now I look calm when I'm stalked down the street,
And the only sign of panic is the tightness around my eyes.
And a slight waver of the voice is the only sign of revulsion,
When I was 17 and a stranger's hand slid up my skirt.
And I appear completely calm when responding to a man,
Who said he'd like to mount my skin to the wall of his rape shack.
And my black out terror didn't show,
When an ex-partner decided not to listen to my repeated "No".
Fear, Anger, Disgust
Are all white knuckled beneath my calm.
And how I wish I, and other women, had not been taught to be this way.
Because we should rage.
We should rage loudly and publicly,
About the assaults and oppressions we endure all too commonly.
But still, while I rage,
It is all internally.
And while I speak passionately, I do so calmly.
But do not mistake my calmness,
For a lack of rage.
For when I appear my calmest,
There is almost nothing within me but rage.