from Sara Ahmed’s “Living a Feminist Life”: “An empty bowl that feels like an accusation can be the beginning of a feminist life.”
Inside, I put pieces of my hair that appear like loose, bloody windstorms. But isn’t it still empty? I use plastic scissors, because I want my fingers to struggle, as I cut away every claim on my skin that has been denied. I place that man’s voice who asked me why my arms were so scarred. I told him: I tried to kill myself. He said to me: You didn’t do it right. But isn’t the bowl still empty? I place laughter–my own–when fingernails like shovels dug beneath armpits behind knees to tickle. I shouted NO! because it was too much. You kept on you kept on because I was laughing. My NOs got folded in somehow. But isn’t it still empty? I practice expository essays each morning to train my voice into a deeper chord. Use punctuation and footnotes and even an alphabetized works cited to show the archival of trauma. Placed into bowl, but you said it just repeated itself. Isn’t the bowl still empty? I electrocuted my fingers and wrists in order to dig out the wiring trying to disconnect us all. Took photographs of all my stretchmarks because society seems to think they are extinct somehow. Mailed you the history of starvation to explain my discomfort with Western fasting culture. Removed the airbrushed bruising on my brain from every drug I ever used to help me escape. Put into bowl. Watched it disappear. Isn’t the bowl still empty? What does it look like to finally be full?