“You should smile more”.
I don’t know why some men say that. It’s 2020 and we, as women, have a lot to be upset about.
We’re used to zipping our lips, sitting pretty and following the rules; a silent gender in a silent contract, until the rise of the #metoo generation.
We’re responding to the demands of raising children and simultaneously shattering glass ceilings like it’s easy work that we’re fairly compensated for- and they want us to smile some more.
Old grievances have no ending date or ending shame and we live with that. But, maybe we would smile more if we, as women, didn’t soley hold that systematic weight.
At the end of our lives we begin to sort out our justice because we’re aware of the limited time we have left to tell our truth- and women are arriving to their truths, with fewer smiles than ever.
We are watching.
We are rising up and speaking out.
Let me be the first to tell you, it’s hard to smile when you’re mad as hell at a system that is inherently flawed.
We’re understanding now, that the impact of our silence lays on the backs of our children, of our daughters- as it too, has been laid on us.
But, I won’t raise my daughter in a world where she is playing catch up for the things she could not say- for the things our mothers and grandmothers could not say.
I will raise her to speak now and nobody will ask her twice or dare direct the features on her face upwards, because she will already be grinning.
Because she is being raised by a generation of women who persist towards a world where dignity is stitched tightly into the fabric of its infrastructure.
Women who will continue to lead our mothers and grandmothers out of the darkness and our children into a future that is fair.
Where the truth is here, now and most importantly: it is spoken.
Before you command a woman to smile more, I ask you first to evaluate the world they are walking through and the fire they are carrying.
Then, with a smile stretched out between my ears- I challenge you to adjust your part in it.