My piece for International Women’s Day power voice writing comp 2018 on the theme ‘Progress’.
Why #pressforprogress? Why not #pressforregress? To go back before this time, when we had no reason to tag #metoo. When #timesup was simply a call to mark the start of a game, and not the end of hiding out and covering up years of abuse perpetrated on the young and the innocent. The one’s with stars in their eyes and fear of speaking up because the world was ruled by menacing makers who controlled the story and the power and the sparkle.
Can’t we go back before love was colour-blind and gender was loaded with perceptions and prescriptions, and tightly-fisted tenets of what we should wear, how we should act, who we should be?
Before we had to claw our way up the ladder, stepping on the heads of our sisters to have our turn at breaking through the ceiling, with glass so tough that only the most terrifying and fiercesome could break through. And for what? To find ourselves on the other side, suited and conformed, and facing an even longer ladder and tougher ceiling where the vikings pummeled each other with blades of hubris for a chance to go where only the chosen few were deigned to enter.
Before we marched on broken shards of glass with bleeding feet for the right to have our say. Long before we burned our bras; a time when our bossoms hung unencumbered, and fed our young, and shivered sacredly under the gaze of an adoring eye. Before gratification was sought through copper cables and darkened rooms where the sinister could hide behind anonymous screens and pseudonyms.
Before we bit the apple and cursed our sex to a sinful fall with guilt written in scarlet letters on our chest and our feet dangling below the noose’s grip. Before we were stained, and branded as virgin, crone and whore.
Surely there was a time when he and she stood side by side with no distinction?
Do we dare to look beyond the camouflage and costumes, behind the masks and mirrors, to see the truth and not this imprisoned perception we call reality?
Perhaps before the flesh set upon our bones and the breath of life filled our lungs and forced an almighty gasp. When our souls intertwined and lingered lovingly in the heavens without the need for names and labels. When what I saw in you, was a reflection of me… divine and whole and free.
Haven’t we had enough of progress? Isn’t progress how we ended up here?
To #pressforprogress we have to acknowledge the brokenness and the bitterness, the bruised and the battered, the beaten and the bleeding. We have to gaze upon our sisters, and our brothers, who at times we have all turned on in fear and hatred and loathing. We have to recognise the ugly and the gruesome within us all. To feel the shame of all those innocents who were thrown into the furnace of a fearful world with nothing to hold onto except a distant memory of a light so powerful that the darkness would drop away like a veil caught on a whisper of a breeze.
Yes. To #pushforprogress we have to see that we have created this reality. That there is no distinction between she and he. That we are one. What you have made, I have made. We have colluded in this game of thorns and chains. And if we want to win, we have to lose. We must retreat from the fight. We must lay down our weapons and plant daisies in the bloodied ground and water the wounds of the dying on the battlefield of life.
We must take off our humanity-stained glasses and regress, even for a moment, to see what we are capable of… to remember who we are. We are not lacking. We are forgetful. We are not ruined. We are asleep. Do we dare to look beyond the camouflage and costumes, behind the masks and mirrors, to see the truth and not this imprisoned perception we call reality? It’s not progress we desire, but recollection. It’s not justice, but joy. Time’s not up. It’s time to #wakeup.
Do you dare? #metoo