I thought of the mice. Fancy vegan (food blogger?) mice that chewed on pecans and dried mangoes, their droppings sliding through every crack. The house was crooked, and the kitchen floor featured a view of the basement, but it was near the metro and that tapas place so remember, there’s always a silver lining. We set a few traps, and eventually, we moved out.
Then I thought of more mice, less health conscious, into chips and crackers and a variety of baby-friendly treats like pear-spinach-pea mash. As a responsible adult (I’m still in yesterday’s clothes) I called in a professional. Nice guy. Sealed the cracks, set the bait and the traps, and warned me not to get too worked up should I see an uptick in droppings at first. A resurgence. We close up their exits, and they get a little antsy, he said. I’m confident though, he said. We’ll get them, he said.
I thought of the verbally abusive boyfriend who once commented on the size of my pubic bone (too small! too manly!), of the girlfriends who abandoned me when I reported the boyfriend, and of the night I went home to eat Dunkin’ Donuts chocolate chip muffins with my dad instead of going to a party because he would be there.
Of the friend with leopard-print shoes whose religion teaches him that it’s a sin to love a man, that women should cover their heads and be submissive, that East Coast earthquakes are punishment from God for our transgressions
Of the fifth grade Doogie Howser, M.D. lookalike who suggested a group of us girls touch our elbows together behind our backs. A scientific experiment to compare boob size. We complied. Lucky me, winner, winner chicken dinner. I did not yet own a bra.
Of winning “Most Dramatic” senior year. How that seemed like a joke to everyone, including me. How being dramatic is a thing silly women do.
Of the nurses rolling their eyes after my son had been pulled from my belly during an emergency C-section. I couldn’t remember the name of his pediatrician. I didn’t want to breastfeed. I wanted to eat. I could only have ice chips.
Of the scar that runs across my lower abdomen, still painful and red 18 months post-op. The only solution, according to medical experts, is to have more babies.
Of the material crap I’ve bought to soothe the pain: booties, jeggings, quinoa salads. The things I’ve tried: yoga, veganism, whole foods, binge watching and social media scrolling, new filters, feminine curation, pictures of my baby, but never scars.
Of never speaking out. Of wanting to be liked. Of feeling small and worthless. Of the millions of women who voted for Trump, an openly racist, sexist candidate turned President-elect.
Of the mice and their one last stand, uglier and more poop-filled than the last. One more red cup party. One final gasp from those who find themselves lost among the colorful, boisterous, innovative, creative, no fucks given people of this diverse nation.
And then I stopped thinking and started doing.
If you’ve ever felt small and worthless because of your gender, sexuality, race, country of origin, disability, religion, and/or class, we see you. If you’ve ever felt that “just getting over it” is something people say when they don’t want to look within and deal with real issues, we see you. If you’ve ever wondered how we’ll get through this, I hear you and assure you, we can.
This is the first time in thirty-three years that I felt compelled to talk so openly about my wounds. You do the same. No more tiptoeing through the kitchen afraid of mouse shit. No more hiding. No more apologizing. Today I’m not afraid. Today I’m not sorry.
This may not be my America now, but it will be.