Updated: Dec 30, 2021
What is a woman if not the singular collection of the multifaceted and significant characteristics of her being that make her who she is? What is she if not the distinct way that her eyes and lips move? The way that she carries herself and the way that she addresses those that come in contact with her?
What of her worth diminishes when she is weighed down by the hands of a man who seeks to strip her of her God-given essence? What happens to her value when it is placed under the feet of a system of generational violation and weaponized vulnerability? Where does it go? What becomes of it?
If she lays underneath the body of a man that is enthralled by her ethnic features and, yet, disgusted by her heritage, what becomes of her? If she holds hands with a man that benefits from the same system that silenced her ancestors, what becomes of her? What happens to the lips of the woman that has been kissed by an enemy that lurks in the shadows silently? One that masquerades as an ally while taking shots at the battalion of tired soldiers that are fighting for their lives?
Taking careful steps, she wanders down every street. Carefully peering into intricately decorated shops and looking past faces that wear expressions that are mixed with curiosity and disgust, she wanders down streets that barely made it to the confines of her small world of similar sidewalks and familiar views. She had never thought of them before. They never existed to her until now.
Now, like a brand new world, they open up before her with a stubborn kind of welcome. As her fingers tug at doors, she catches sight of signs in black and white. Signs that seem to signal where one should go and where they should not. Their words, though subtle, are quite explicit. She is not wanted in these rooms and, if she is allowed to enter them, she will not be allowed to stay for very long.
So, obediently, she turns away. Standing against a brick wall, she waits. Looking up at the hot sun beaming down above her, she waits. Car horns blare past her. Voices blur against each other. Men with skin colors that mirror hers walk past her nodding, their eyes seemingly understanding what the spectators around them cannot. They know what she is, where she's been and where she could go.
They see her as if she has been living underwater. A pearl, before untouched, now cast out of the sea. Stripped and bare, laying on the sand against the heat of the hot sun with an unknown future waiting before it.