A Prayer for/to Everywoman

I will fight great battles for me.
And stain my hair with the blood of my oppressors.
I will not wait for a hero to protect my modesty. For I am not a modest woman. I am loud and I take up space. I do not know shame nor guilt nor secrecy. I will walk in my naked truth with grace.
And those who cannot bear my terrible, terrifying form may lower their gaze.
I am my own Kalidasa.
I will write epic love poems about my midnight skin, my softly drooping breasts, my tiger-striped belly, my wide, pockmarked bottom and spine of steel.
There was a body I was born with, this body though, I have earned.
I am not pretty. I AM beautiful.
I will be my own bard and sing of my great victories, my crushing losses, my valour and my cowardice, my pride, my fall, the babies I buried and ones I raised.
I may forget me temporarily, as Shakuntala did herself. The world might beguile me, deceive me into losing myself, giving my body and soul away to devious shape-shifting imps bearing false gifts.
But I will remember and remind me of my worth.
I will forgive me repeatedly and raise me right.
I am Demeter and I am Persephone,
I will grieve for me.
For as long as it takes. My grief cannot be hurried. And as long as I grieve it will be winter.
I will pine and yearn for me and rejoice in my union with me.
And my joy will transform a barren winter into a fruitful summer. My joy is worth waiting for and my grief worth bearing.
I am Medusa. I am Andromeda.
Together we will fight.
And battle monstrous sea serpents for my love. I am worth fighting for, I am worth waiting for, I am worth praying for.
I will launch a thousand ships for me.
I will journey for decades into uncharted waters to return to me.
I will say I love you to me a million different ways every single day. In feeding myself, in clothing myself, in cherishing myself, in resting myself.
I am Kaikeyi. I am Manthara. I am Tataka. I am Tara. I am Surpanakha. I am Mandodari. I am Sita and together we brought down the Demon.
No one will dare say that a woman is a woman’s worst enemy.
I will journey South to rescue me from the clutches of the demon.
I, daughter of the Bhoomidevi, will rise and incinerate Ravana and light my cigarette on his funeral pyre.
I didn’t leave home to find Nirvana.
I rose at 5 to fill up the buckets, make breakfast, drop my child to school, catch the 8.05 local.
I left home to find a job, to feed my son.
I did it alone. But I am not alone, for I have me.
I stand for me, I bear witness for me.
I am enough for me.

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