Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

Those Before Me

I watch and listen to them closely

I pay attention, to their mannerisms and the kinds of words they use

I watch for their reactions and responses

Waiting with bated breath for the rebuttal that shuts the other party up

And when it doesn’t come, I begin to wonder

About the women that came before me, those ahead of me

Are they okay with it?

With the way things are?

With the sort of things that I keep hearing?

I do not have an answer for that, I can’t figure it out

Then I ask, how did they get here?

How did they get to this place where they seem satisfied in circumstances I can not comprehend?

Are they complicit or did they once fight like me?

How did they get to this place of acceptance?

Was it always like this or did they lose their fight at some point?

And what happened that damaged them so bad?

Are they damaged or is this what they really want?

Could it really be?

I’m confused

Is it me? Am I the problem?

Am I young and naive and hot-headed?

Should I be okay with the current state of things

And be thankful that I“at least have a voice”

Or grateful that I’m “allowed” to share my opinions?

Is this really the way things are?

Am I just being difficult?

Is this the reality and can I not just see beyond my “privilege”?

Am I just unwilling to accept and conform?

Am I just stuck in my childish unaccepting ways?

“petulant” “spoilt” “hot-headed”

Are they right about me?

Am I really supposed to spend my entire life walking on eggshells

Catering to someone’s ego that I had no hand in bruising?

Am I supposed to surrender my will, my right to respect, to life, to opportunities, to access…?

Am I supposed to give it all up because of my gender or sex?

Am I willing to do that for the rest of my life?

Is this a responsibility I should have to shoulder for the rest of my life?

I’m beginning to worry

For the ones that have or will come after me

For the ones that might come from me or though me

What will be their fate?

Will they be made to suffer in silence like the ones before me?

Will they be fiery and fierce like me?

Will they also be deemed “petulant” “spoilt” “hot-headed”?

Will they have to fight this hard or this much too?

Will they also have to pander to the egos of overgrown infants?

Or is there a chance things change and their voices become important?

Is there the possibility that everyone will take responsibility for his or her actions?

Is there a world or a reality where they won’t be told “that’s just how they are” or “that’s how things work”?

I wonder about those before me- about their pain, the things they continue to endure, their current disposition… how it got this bad.

I’m worried about losing my fire- being so drained that I give up and begin to conform… will I also relent and stop fighting one day… will I accept?

I’m bothered about the ones to come, the ones I might bring into this world

I fear that they will have the same questions… and that they also will get no answers.

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