Hot & Cold

by Rebecca A. Watson on April 20, 2015

in Creative Writing, feminisim, life, women

It’s the first hot day — the kind that has no business showing up in April. And it’s fallen on a Saturday, so you have no choice, no excuse, to not enjoy it.

girl sunset

The sun competes with the river in a staring contest, and you have a front row seat, your favorite rock assures you of that. And besides, the dog needs a walk, so you can’t avoid it forever.

You open up the drawers that haven’t seen action for several months. Holidays passed without the wood sliding in and out, yet they open without so much as a groan.

You throw open your closet, sliding your jeans and long-sleeved shirts back to make way for your summer skirts. Glee overcomes you as you catch a glimpse of a bright pink and purple tank top — you’ve almost forgot about it.

Is it warm enough for a tank? you wonder. Please, it’s 27 degrees [81F], you answer to yourself.

sun

You grab it and a cute skirt, throw on some jewelry and remember sunscreen as you walk toward the door.

You stop now. Something doesn’t feel right. Are you forgetting something? You feel almost naked.

You realize then it’s because you’ve been wearing leggings underneath your skirts all winter and spring. You’re feeling exposed.

You’re feeling fear. And after that, anger.

You check in with yourself. Are you coming up on that time of the month? Would that explain the irrational feelings? No, that isn’t it.

And the fear isn’t irrational either, you remind yourself. The guy who followed you home threatening to set your hair on fire had made sure of that.

In another life, someone made good on that promise.

In another life, someone made good on that promise.

But anger? You still yourself. You don’t want to be an angry feminist, but you can’t help but think how unfair and, well, fucked up it is that you are worried about what you’re wearing.

Not because someone would call you a slut. And not because you think it’s inviting sexual assault either. Your mind flashes back to hands ripping at the neck of your sweater, fingers fumbling at the zipper of your jeans. No, it doesn’t matter what you wear.

You’re angry because even though you live in a safe place, you aren’t able to enjoy a beautiful summer day in the middle of spring without steeling yourself against fear.

You’re mad because you had, for a moment, forgotten how vulnerable you are. And instead of children’s laughs, your puppy’s first swim or the smell of lilacs, this warm day reminds you that you can’t do a damn thing about it.

Except keep going.

Keep being you, with your short shorts, casting your spells and hatching ideas instead of babies.

Fight the fear without being foolish. Use that intuition you’re so famous for.

Speak up, even if it does sound angry. It’s OK to be angry. And happy. And upset. Any time of the month.

All things diligently trained out of you as a child. All things that exhaust you at times and invigorate you at others.

You grab your keys but leave your iPod. You choose white sneakers instead of flip flops.

You leash up your dog and step into the sunlight. It washes away some of your cynicism. You know it’s smiling on everyone. You know this is a journey we’re all on.

Your favorite rock sits waiting, as promised. You feel it’s warmth on your toes after you remove your sneakers. You smile and plunge your feet into the icy water.

This is part of my 2015 goal to write more and differently. If you want to read more posts like this, click here.

Photo Credit: Alexander Shustov, Jake Gibbons, Joshua Earle

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