Note from Jen Pastiloff, founder of The Manifest-Station. This is part of our Young Voices Series for Girl Power: You Are Enough. We are always looking for more writing from YOU! Make sure you follow us on instagram at @GirlPowerYouAreEnough and on Facebook here.
By Caroline Hoenemeyer
I love the beat my feet make when I walk, not the high-pitched click clack of some dainty spikes, but the weighted thud of these boots I’ve broken in, blistered, bruised. I love the way the fat padded around my stomach peeks and prods out of my leggings, maybe too tight. I love the way my black bra shows through my sheer laundered-with-sweat white shirt, with breasts heavy because that’s how gravity works and I don’t like to say no to nature. I love to speak with the deep vibrations in my voice—not like a question, whisper, or squeal, not afraid of intimidating men. I love to do the things the Look Like a Lady books tell me not to do.
I love the way I’m a woman and right now that means I love to appear in a way that’s grotesque to The Patriarchy. I am a Virgin and a Madonna and a whore and a blossom. I am a bloody tampon and strawberry lips and the shits after really good pasta. I am dimples on both sets of cheeks and streaks of stretch and a smile like sunshine. I am stubbly pubic hair peeking out of my tight denim shorts peppering my perfect balloon thighs. I am grotesque just as I am a pure white light of feminine energy. I am neither and all and I get to be whichever whenever I want and I won’t bend or break for anyone.
And yet oh, I want a husband. Not now, not soon, but not never. I want a husband and I want to make babies with him; I want a family.
But I also want to be alone. How can I be alone if I have a child clinging to my nipple, to my hems, to my words? I need my loneliness. And with a family, where is there time for solitude? And who am I without it? Not me, not the me that I have grown to love. So does that mean I have to play dress up for 18 years? I have to mask my own identity to make it more palatable for others, others who don’t wash their hands or say thank you?
I’ve spent my whole life seeking out homes in people, in buildings, in careers, and I’ve only just recently found home in my own ass and tits and teeth and I don’t want to give that up. I don’t want to cut myself up into little bite size bits for little bite size babies to find nourishment in. I don’t want to compromise. Maybe it’s because I grew up with divorced parents: Dad’s house, Dad’s rules, Mom’s house, Mom’s rules that I’ve grown up expecting to have Caroline’s life, Caroline’s rules. To add a husband and offspring to my life means we’ve all got to work together and I find myself uncomfortable in group projects.
But there is a pebble of love in the depth of my womb that tells me I will be a mother and I will love it and I can’t fight the excitement I feel at the thought of that. Even though I am alone, even though I like it that way. Maybe I’ll have to fight for my autonomy. Or maybe I’ll just have to raise my future babies with the knowledge that I am a human first, before I am their mother, just like they are humans first, before they are my children. And I’ll have to choose a husband that sees it the same way, but it’s scary! I trust myself. I trust my gut, my womb, my cunt but it’s been so long since I’ve had to put that supreme trust in someone else, someone else that I might maybe could someday marry.
I know at the core, in my womb, down where that pebble of love is, is me: boots clunkin’, pubes peekin’, tits bouncin’, fat laughin’ me. And no one can take that from me. Not a husband or babies or society or The Patriarchy. But they can coax it out of me, over time, through love, through necessity. Loving people means giving crumbs of my heart to them and I’m afraid that this white picket dream will devour me, leave me so that the only place I’m seen is shining through the eyes of my beloved family. I don’t want to disappear. I’ve done it before, it’s so simple and starts off so sweet, but I don’t want a love that engulfs me anymore and I’m afraid I don’t know how to love any other way than that.
I do know that there are so many delicious little corners of myself and my life that have yet to be revealed to me. So much will change and I have to have faith that the essence of my being will stick to my bones like the meat that’s already there. I have to trust that the family I imagine for myself isn’t coming at me with swords to strip me of my sense of self, but with love to reinforce it, even if I have to teach them first.
Caroline is a writer-actor-producer who also loves to paint and sing and tell jokes. She is based in LA but is afraid of commitment so she’s probably off somewhere else at the moment!!! Follow her on twitter for musings on IBS, feminism, and McDonald’s: @carolinehoene.