“The past and the future rest heavily on our shoulders.”

Dear President Trump,

One of the very worst things about having fallen and being injured is how much more vulnerable I feel when I’m out by myself in the early mornings. As I told you yesterday, I’m on the mend, but I’m still moving slowly and my entire right side hurts enough that I doubt I could outrun or fend off anyone under the age of 80. It’s pretty bad. Even when I’m as healthy and strong as I can optimally be, when I’m out alone in the dark I startle at noises behind me and worry about every male stranger who is approaching or coming up behind me or driving by too slowly or whatever. Although I’ve not personally been attacked by any male strangers, there are enough stories and enough warnings and enough of a sense of menace that I never quite feel safe.

A few weeks ago there was an article accompanied by an incredible photograph in an online arts newsletter that started appearing in my inbox about 6 months ago (“Hyperallergic”). The article is by Kate Kretz and the photograph is a detail from an embroidery piece she made titled “Une Femme d’un Certain Âge (A Woman of a Certain Age).” It depicts an elaborate old-fashioned saber she stitched using the grey and white hairs of multiple women. When I first saw the image I was confused because the individual stitches look like hatch marks scratched into an actual metal object. In her accompanying text Kretz tells us that women have gained and lost power over and over again since the dawn of human kind. She tells us “we live in one of those pivotal moments” as we collectively grapple with the ubiquity of the “sexual entitlement” that men have historically wielded over women. She says “the past and the future rest heavily on our shoulders,” indicating that not only will progress or lack thereof affect our daughters and their daughters, but it will or will not honor all the countless girls and women who were assaulted, abused, and misused by countless males over the ages. She closes with “Because those in power have made it abundantly clear: the respect we deserve and the justice we seek will not be given to us freely… we must take it. Rise. Recruit. Resist. Register. Vote.” And keep rattling those sabers, loudly.

May we be safe in whatever bodies we occupy.
May we be happy to honor the sovereignty of each ones’ body and mind.
May we figure out how to relate to one another across the chasm of gender and sex.
May we make peace with the need to find and practice new ways of being together.

Tracy Simpson

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