After Sandra Lim
I tell myself that I am too afraid.
I wonder, skeptical. Am I?
To be fearless is unwise in this world.
But I am. I fear:
a. My own heart
c. Untimely death
d. Everything else
It has not controlled me in previous disasters. Fear is but the legend and compass for this appalling map.
If I am to become fearless, I must argue the disgraceful. Thus, I argue.
When I was a child, I was filled with more fear than I am now.
Phobias whose names were then beyond reach
And beyond reach still, for most.
How was I to know, though?
And its existence beyond lust?
How was I to know that sex
Is also a form of love?
Formerly known as Frightened Girl, I now present Angry Woman.
Angry Woman knows that, behind her in time,
They are teaching Frightened Girl all the wrong things.
I do not deny the existence of Frightened Girl within me,
And I vow not to leave her, because as soon as Angry Woman shook free,
She saw the same heavy chains clamped around the child’s wrists.
If you say the same words to me now, I may still bristle and seethe.
Writhing in the turbulence of youth, somewhere between Frightened Girl and Angry Woman,
I concluded from the unsubtle world that to be Woman was to vie for the attention of men.
This begat the era of Not Quite Girl—drab coats, grey walls, disdain for skirts and girls who wore them.
Angry Woman of peonies and knee-high boots, Angry Woman of lace bralettes, knows that,
Behind her in time, Not Quite Girl would curl her lip.
This does not bother me, as it would not be so had they taught Frightened Girl the right things.
Had Frightened Girl been convinced of completeness and not lack, perhaps she would have been Some Other Kind of Girl.
I am not afraid, I correct myself. Rather, I brim with rage.
Let my anger ignite transformation.
Let it set ablaze the structures that permit the creation of Frightened Girls and necessitate the creation of Angry Women.