In greek mythology, men transform in order to get sex, and women transform to avoid male violence. The change is permanent; they escape into oceans, stars, stones. Now, 2018, we know there are so many women under this spell. Transformation might sound pretty but it isn't fucking art. It's not a metamorphosis, not a metaphor - we are objectified.
Men invent lives for us that make it okay to turn us into things, lives and selves that look nothing like our own, like we should be happy to give ourselves to their words, their worlds. They are happy to believe we were asking for it. Daphne was asking for it, she was beautiful.
Men punish women who speak. They know that witnessing, feeling, experiencing are the first steps to telling. Tell, and you'll end up looking like something else - slut, lier, whore. Experiencing changes you and telling can ruin you. Could I trace how this works, that change? Probably.
There's a thread through everything - truth in knots: all you have to do is follow the strands of scar tissue and half spoken sentences, broken tea cups, parks you can't visit any more, unfinished degrees, choices stolen, to see how women change when touched, grabbed, ripped by male violence. Daphne became a tree, but in the real world women cannot turn into things when they are threatened or frightened, though they do transform - warriors, holders and speakers of dark truths. Daphne became a laurel tree and that's another way of saying victory.
Every day we wake up and challenge what they make of us. Sometimes knowing that every challenge will have the same result: nothing. A dead end. You can't force people to care about you - that's a lesson even men learn. Echo was changed as a punishment for seeing, feeling, telling. she kept the same body but her voice got stuck on repeat. Echo's warning was clear, women moved by a desire to be seen will be repeating themselves forever.
See me see me see me see me.
So instead, I spend the time falling in love with myself the way I would someone across the street who is wearing something beautiful: a coat, a scarf, someone who walks with confidence. I looked at myself like an an addict recovering from an addiction to self doubt. A fearless inventory of all my past self destructions. Scars on my arms and and legs and heart. I mapped myself by the places trauma finished and I began.
I said, look at yourself like this, use these eyes - Compassion's, Love's. It is impossible to say "I will never be hurt again" It is impossible to promise myself or fate that I will never feel lost, never feel sorrow, and why would I want to? Past trauma is not inoculation against future suffering. I know how much I can hurt and my imagination knows no limits to pain, loss of power or control, of vision or self or love...
But I will never believe again that pain is forever, that the state of suffering is static, a forever landscape. Loving myself evokes something like truth - I will change, I will grown and shrink, I will be stone and tress and birds, I will have dirt on my hands and in my hair. I will be echos. I know that none of me is permanent, and that all beautiful things are temporary.