**Editor’s note: warning: well-deserved cursing ahead!
Recently, I was in a slum of Nairobi, teaching young girls self-defense and breathing techniques for the purposes of empowerment and solidarity.
The girls were lined around the edges of the classroom. I stood in the middle, right where I always wanted to be.
I opened the circle for questions no child should ever have to ask, but one in particular rattled my core.
I did not have an answer.
Across from me, a six year old raised her tiny hand, gaze downward, shoulders slouched, and whispered something.
I couldn’t hear, so I walked over, got on my knees. I could barely understand until I finally did:
“Why are girls raped?”
I took the deepest exhale of my life, stood up slowly, walked back to the center of the room, silence palpable, like an ancient warrior cry brewing.
I repeated her question out loud. I looked into her eyes, that finally met mine. We locked in.
“I do not know. It is not okay.”
“I promise you that I will die fighting alongside you for change. Look around, these are the faces that will create a new world so that one day we can all live somewhere girls are not raped.”
I made a promise and I know it is unlikely I will see the reality in my lifetime, but I will die fighting.
I know I can’t fight forces of dominance with similar energy. So I’ve decided to put my weapons down.
Opened my clenched fists to let go of old ways. My arms surrendered behind my back. I am choosing to lead heart forward.
My force is love.
No matter how cliché love sounds, beware of the force, for it is not mine, it is ours.
A force more powerful than any human being.
I am unafraid to put my cheek against the god of the underworld, feeling the chilling breath down my neck.
I will go there, but you will never seduce me to stay.
You can’t hide behind the curtain any longer to program puppets of patriarchy.
What we thought was “Almighty Oz” is only dancing lights keeping us distracted from our own deep knowing.
Cinderella told us lies. I have played the Damsel in Distress, and it is fucking boring.
Yes, I said “fuck” and I mean it.
I am tired.
I choose to step off the yellow brick road they told me I “should” follow.
I have my own body compass that is more real and trustworthy.
The Wayfinder path is unknown, uncomfortable, terrifying, and threatens to leave me in dark woods to die alone.
I will go there.
Because freedom is calling and it doesn’t sound like the old order of voices.
“You must be pretty, nice, good, perfect, wrinkle-free, unscarred to be loved, to survive, to be safe, and belong.”
I am angry. I have stayed too long but will weave my rage into something creative, more kind, and indomitable.
Hear me gods of the underworld, look into my eyes, and consider yourself warned.
As movement continues, the fire will catch wild and burn, burn burn…
Burn down old structures that allow for this atrocity.
To the little Kenyan girl who asked the question “Why are girls raped?” to all the little girls who live inside us, it is time to birth a new story.
The old one is ridiculous, absurd, and grotesque.
There you were innocent. Picking wild flowers of blood orange, dark purple, and blue. Hues so intense the soles of your bare feet burst with majesty.
A personification of passion and mystery.
A crystal ball, so pure any gaze that met yours would be blinded with fierce compassion.
You were irresistible. You were joy. You were perfect.
The raw beauty of chaos.
Skipping to your own beat, nothing to be ashamed of.
The underworld saw you. Wanted to have you. To take you as their own. To keep you. To control you. To suck the dangerous laugh from your lips.
The world was less beautiful without your magic.
They told you, you have to stay here, confined to obedience and order.
No longer a feral wanderer climbing trees. Your roots, stripped from between your legs and thrown aside as disposable.
But the thing about roots is they run deep.
Sometimes a discarded offshoot can be replanted by prophets who believe.
If we have faith. If we water. If we wait and listen, the roots can grow wild again.
Signs of hope. A tiny blossom we thought was dead, but buds of resilience multiply.
It is not over.
Because here is something witches know about spells.
You can burn us, but smoke shape shifts, through bars sworn to be solid.
Truth knocks on our bones and whispers.
“You hold the keys to your own liberation.
You are not crazy. You are not stupid or lacking logic.
You are just tired.
Love is okay to believe in. Love never left. Wonder is your super power.”
Remember when Persephone’s mother cried, so did all the ancient mothers.
Each tear, a drop morphed into an ocean, raging through structures built to silence our siren call.
But we know. We believe. We are certain.
Never again will we abandon our own wisdom.
We are home.
You do not own the keys to our evolution. We do not have to follow your rules to win the game.
We are opting out of the game completely.
We straddle liminal spaces where imaginations dream a helix of feral weeds.
Worlds where girls are not raped.
You may say we’re crazy.
Call us whatever you want, but you will never harness our reckless madness.
We belong with nature, because nothing is separate. We possess the power to create, but also destroy.
Consider this a warning.