Booty Shorts Are Not The Reason.

Freedom. {freedom freedom freedom}

In order to be free. We need to know. 

We need to know what it is. Exactly. That enslaves us. Or appears to. 

What is the story, energy, history, presence, routine, habit, addiction. Where in our bodies do we feel heavy and unable to release? What stories do our cells continue to spin out, blast into our bellies and rise up to our hearts, holding captive our throats? Holding us. Still. Stopped. Trapped. 

All that has been done. Can be undone. Despite popular belief. I have to know this is true.

The belief that we are chained to something and need to serve whatever that is that does not in return serve us back, is a belief that is just that: a belief. It is not truth. Our bodies can be reunited with our truest state: free. 

We can begin to believe something different. Once we do. We are on the open road.

***

My dilemma. 

“These girls need to know that they can’t dress like that. You know the statistics,” he said to me.

What statistics? That 1 in 5 of every single woman will be raped and 1 in 3 are assulated and that’s only what has been reported to the law? Those ones? I know them. So well. I am one of the 5 and one of the 3. 

I am so sick. and tired. {so sick. and so tired}. Of the notion that we, as females, need to change our physical appearances and clothing choices and body movements to avoid abuse and attacks. That we are doing something wrong and we need to change in order not to die or be injured or to walk away with bruises. Or body trauma. Or emotional and spiritual loss. So that we aren’t found behind dumpsters. So that we don’t need to ge to the ER getting scans and swabs. 

The notion that young girls are not allowed, should not, should avoid at all costs, the savoring and the expression of their newly blooming bodies and skin - is fucking preposterous to me. The notion that we have to teach them to “cover up” for the simple reason “we need to be safe” is literally twisting my brain and heart. 

I have been around many young and older teen girls. And in my humble witnessing, I find that they choose to dress the way the do, however that may look, because they are excited about their new bodies, that they actually are beginning to like them, not hate them, or are trying to like them, and are needing to feel like they own them. They are practicing liking they way they feel. The way they look. So they explore. Experience. All the things: makeup, clothes, hair, expression.  In my experience with young girls {and being one at one time and raising three of them right now} there is a raw and innocent sense of self love beginning to form within them that is post child love and entering a sweet and sensual maiden-like love. The half shirts may be stylish, a trend, but there is more to it. What I see happening are these small and subtle moments of self-knowing what lies beneath the surface of that skin- something has changed and is continsously changing within them. Things are stirring. Ovaries are popping. Blood is flowing. Sensations are changing. Power is birthing. When they bare their newly longer, more shapely legs, they are claiming a new walk on earth, walking towards being a woman, using their limbs to carry them however they choose to walk as themselves.

I hear a lot of stories about the “revealing” way a girl dresses being about their “low self esteem” or about being “slutty” or about pleasing men or about submitting to the Hollywood sexualization machine. I call bullshit on about 99.9% of that story. I am not saying 100%. I am saying 99.9%. I am saying that WE are making up those stories about our girls. Not them.

The notion that we “show our skin” as a symptom of a patriarchal invented “illness” {such as self loathing or promiscuity} or because we are putting out the message that we “want to get fucked” is stupendously damaging to the psyche of the The Girl. It is covering up the truth of who she is, who she wants to be, and how she longs to express herself and still be safe in this world. Trust me. I know.  You might also know what I mean if you are reading this and you also were a girl once or you are raising girls. All the bullshit is begining to rise and we can smell it.

When I was 15 my friends and I would dress in totally crazy clothes, taken from the attic from my friend’s mother’s more wild collection of 1970s fashion and costuming. We would mix and match and create wonderful ensembles and we would wear them out, and walk up and down on the street feeling beautiful and crazy and wild. We had so much fun. Like wouldn’t it be awesome if we could dress this way and just be? And we did it because we felt amazing. Sexy. Proud. Brave. Beautiful. Bold. Artistic. And then the Porshe drove up next to us. And he rolled his window down. And he said things. Because of course. Of course. We were 15 year old prostitutes walking down a small town residential street. Asking for trouble. Selling our bodies. Because we wore gold mini skirts and crazy oversized sunglasses and held hands while wildly laughing and enjoying the full moon in the sky. Together. As girls. As a matter of fact. My friend just sent me this photo the other day. About what we used to do on Saturday nights to be entertained. Here it is. This is truth:

thank you to my best friend for the permission to post this. i am in the red. she is looking fab in the purple.

thank you to my best friend for the permission to post this. i am in the red. she is looking fab in the purple.

***

We show our skin. If we do. If we choose.  Because we are understanding something. We are skin. And bones. And blood. And minuscule and enormous miracles forever and ever loaded into our cells. We show are skin. Because we are finding a love for our body. Past childhood. Past abuse. Past trauma. Into womanhood. And we long to feel safe, we want to be sure we are safe.  Why wouldn’t we be safe? We are sure it’s going to be okay, like being a child, like trusting,  like being free. It can still be that way.

We show ourselves because we have not yet been told that we shouldn’t yet. Or maybe we do so in rebellion of being told that we shouldn’t. Either way, we do so thinking we can be safe. Or even if we know we aren't, we do so anyway despite the fear, to prove we don’t need to be scared. But then we are told we are not safe. Nope. No way. And we are shown we are not safe. And somehow, even though it’s “not our fault” we need to dress differently. To cover up. To shut up. To stop walking like that. To ease up. To hide. To not invite in trouble. To not be “too much” or reveal the multiple layers of what being a women means. The feminine and feminist. The breasts that begin to burst out and up. The mind that slowly unfolds into it’s own brilliance. The biceps that are learning to carry all the things we begin to carry, as women. Trust me, it is a heavy load.

These are the bodies. And they are us. And I am so sick and tired of so many stories being told about them. And how confusing and complicated it becomes when it is decided to dictate how we should all dress. And when people start saying “send her to her room and make her change her clothes. She can’t go out like that!”

I am not sure of anything. But I am sure of something. Our booty shorts have nothing to do what has been done to us. 

Our booty shorts mean nothing but whatever it means to us. Whatever our reasons are. And it never is the reason that our bodies seem to continuously be ruled over. And pushed over. And taken from us. We have been told that when we wear them we will get raped. And if we don’t wear them we will be ugly. If we do wear them we must not be feminists or smart. And if we don't wear them we must not like men. And if we do wear them we must hate ourselves. And if we don’t wear them we must hate our bodies. 

And if we wear what we want, we shouldn’t if it makes others uncomforatbale. Because we don’t want to make others uncomfortable. Or make them look twice. Or make them question their own integrity when it comes to young girls and their skin. 

We have been told so much. And so my response to my dear male friend who claims we need to teach our daughters to dress in a way so they won’t become part of The Statistics: Dear One, Please fuck off.

You can dress anyway you want to. Without being hurt. Instead of you telling me how to tell the daughters how to dress, how about this: you stand on top of your very comfy soapbox and you start telling men to stop raping girls. Now. Despite their urges. Despite the stories you have been fed. You deal with the boys. You tell them that our girls and women have every right to wear what they want and walk how they want and dance how they want, and it’s THEIR job to get their shit together. I got my girls covered. They know they drill. You better get the boys in line. Now.

But. Here is my real dilemma. 

I don’t actually want my daughter wearing half shirts and booty shorts and such. I am terrified of the time when she decides she might. I am still thinking that newly formed women need to cover up in order not to: looklikeaslutorattractbadshitfromhorriblemenbecauseit’sutterlyinappropriateandtheyshouldwearlauraashleyandwoolsocks. gah. 

I know. 

I am stuck. 

I am caught. 

Between the paradigms. 

And conversations. And language. And not knowing how to say it or do what we need to say or do. 

I am caught between fear and freedom. Still.

Clear as a glacier: I want her safe. 

Clear as a glacier: I want her free.

Clear as a glaicer: I want change.

Clear as a glacier: I want to do right by us all.

But do I arm her with those fake tiger claws and a depth of knowledge of how to poke a person’s eye out with a thumb? And teach her about the eyes in the back of her head that always must remain open and let her know that most men will look at her inner thighs and feel ways we don’t understand, as women, but to be very warned that our inner thighs will be seen as not our own, but as someones to spread apart and take what is between them?  And. Then. Let her wear what she wants.  And trust the fuck out of her. Because who am I to tell her what to wear? I never did when she was a younger little girl. She was free to choose. Socks and no shoes and bathingsuits under snowsuits and fairy wings and roller skates to the store and mismatches and toplessness- lots of skin showing. Especially when it was hot. Once she asked me "why does daddy take his shirt off at the park and i do and you don't?" And I always thought “how amazingly creative and brilliant she is”. And now. I am going to say to her, in this impressionable and glorious time of her life: “no way in hell, get back to your room”. Or even “Honey, that is too much skin. That’s not appropriate.” {as I pull up my off-the-shoulder shirt and cover up my beloved shoulder on my own body. and run to my instagram account and delete all the skin + poetry.}.  And I am going to say to her: "It's just they way it is, it is not considered appropriate for your belly button to show right now" And then I feel shameful. Because it's a belly button. And under it the entire world exists. And then she feels shameful too. And scared. And I stumble back and forth. And try. And we both dance the dance of figuring this shit out. I am trying to do the best I can do. She is too.

Do dress codes and boundaries around her dressing style perpetuate the message: 

We must change. Our ways. To feel safe. We must dress in another way. From the beginning. To be saved. From our sexuality? Or from a world that doesn't understand it and therefore rips us bare of it's sanctity.

I have no interest in that. None.

First off. I do not need to be saved. My sexuality is all that I am. All that I came from.

It isn’t our ways, our dress, or holy fuckability, or our desires + longing and feelings that must change.

But what it is. That must change. What this all comes from. This whole thing. Instills such a deep, imbedded fear. Still. In me. I am a terrified young girl again. Approached by that porshe. Assuming I am there for him, that my body isn’t my own. That it’s my fault because I have always had the innate desire to walk this earth feeling free, in my own skin, and safe. That it’s my fault that I was born that way. Born to feel that way. To be that way. 

I am chained to this fear. Because it is real. But what are the chains? I am half chained to believing it is our responsibility to do whatever we need to protect ourselves and our daughters from sexual abuse and violence and predators. And I am half chained to saying absolutely fuck no. We should be able to walk outside naked, topless {it’s the law in some places} and be safe, sound, protected, honored. REVERED. RESPECTED. LEFT THE HELL ALONE.

I want to feel free. Safe. Powerful. Ass cheeks hanging out or not. 

This is the shadow part of myself and this world I am trying to look at, straight on, and figure out why I struggle, why I grapple, why I grasp, why I remain chained to living in between, chained to not knowing exactly how to handle this.  And what it will take to feel the freedom. And safety. In these bodies. Because this is what this is about for me. The liberation of my body. And so my daughter’s will experience it as well. 

There are no answers. There are only questions in this moment.  I am living them.  And the ones I am most interested in, are not what I will say to my daughters, not the rules and regulations I will give them about how they should look and behave and dress.  But what we plan on saying to help and heal the sons, to help us all feel like we belong here, together, safe, in this skin.