I’ve never been a woman who enjoys primping; I’m not into hair or makeup or shopping. My daily modus operandi is simplicity and practicality: hair up out of my face, little to no makeup and a thrown together outfit. Ninety percent of my clothes are secondhand, primarily the discards of friends and relatives. I don’t believe in spending money on clothing, makeup or hair products.
All that being said, I do, for special occasions, “dress up.” This entails hair down, maybe a little time with the curling iron, some makeup and a dress or skirt. Special occasions include parties, performances, weddings… And every time I “dress up,” I am told, “You look pretty.” For a second, my ego swells, before quickly diffusing. Pretty. I look pretty. Something I only hear on these kinds of occasions. Meaning most of the time, I don’t look so pretty. But what do I gain by being seen as pretty? Do I lose something when I’m not perceived as such?
I think it is okay to tell a person he/she looks nice, when an effort has been made to create a positive appearance. A clean, sharp look signifies self-respect, professionalism and organization. So by all means, tell people they look nice when they do. It’s the word “pretty” that feels insidious to me. Undoubtedly every woman has a complicated relationship to this word and makes a decision every day about how she wants to deal with it. Often, all the makeup, hair products and stylish clothes in the world still don’t make a woman feel pretty enough. But pretty enough for whom? For what purpose?
By Amanda Miller
"There’s this love that exists between women and it’s like no other love and it’s real and it’s raw and it’s deep,
-“Between Women” by Amanda Miller
But it’s not necessarily sexual.
There’s this fusion of hearts, this symbiotic cohabitation reverberation.
Lilting conversations spiraling two spirits together.
Two tigresses pausing in the midst of two separate journeys to absorb the rhythms of the other’s breath, eyes, body, lips releasing secrets, dreams, past, future.
Lives intertwining, dancing in a ring of the purest love with sunlight shining through,
And through dark corners painted in washes of sharing, caring, sensitivity, elasticity, reviving worlds of potential, promoting wholeness, producing joy."
"Often I wake with a bird hatching in my chest
-“Hatching” by Amanda Miller
Wings spreading, flapping against my ribs
Beak tearing tissue
Head forcing its way up my throat
Squawking desperate prayers
Feathers on my tongue
But He forces the feathers back down
Uses His sun beaten hands
To clamp shut my jaw
Talons tear my guts
I must take the power from Him
Remember I am in charge of me
I am wretched with desire
But I still want to be free
Can’t live with this Man standing over me
A convergence of all things at once
Orgasm on all fronts
Pushing words through clenched teeth:
Light a candle, I say
And He obeys
A tiny feather slips through my lips
The fire ignites
Feather to flame
He releases his grip
The injured bird flies
"I will listen.
-Rebellion Through Love: A Feminist Manifesto by Amanda Miller
I will act bravely.
I will be fearless with my self-expression.
I will define success for myself.
I will resist defining myself, as I am a fluid being with many sides and colors.
I will rest when I am tired.
I will take care of others.
I will feel what I feel as deep as it comes, and I will not destroy myself for feeling deeply.
I will not settle for a partner who doesn’t allow me to be wholly myself.
I will be driven by love."
The following passage is about my descent into anorexia at age fourteen, excerpted from my memoir, One Breath, Then Another. One of my primary goals with this book is to inspire and empower young women to realize that their voices matter, nothing is insurmountable and one’s own mind is often the biggest obstacle to one’s happiness. The memoir is about getting out of our own ways and supporting each other so we can all make the most of the time we have.
By contributing writer, Amanda Miller
Base By: Jahrenesis