The first time I wore a two piece bathing suit I was fourteen years old. I recall the nakedness my stomach felt as it met sun and warmth. My skin tingled. I was shy. Yet, the more I fed my body with the light of the sun’s reflection, the more I embraced its glow.
I imagine this is how the woman feels who, for the first time, removes the hijab, or the long skirt, or the bonnet, or the many array of coverings that have been required for a woman to cover herself with, passed down through multiple years of differing doctrines and laws telling her how she must dress and behave in order to be desirable to a man and appropriate to others’ standards.
I imagine them all with their hair blowing in the wind, skin soaking in the kiss of breeze, free and respected in the true nature of her natural glory. She is me, once disallowed to feel sky on my thighs, told how to dress and what would make me wife material. Chained by my appearance to someone else’s ideal of what was proper, I drowned inside my clothing layers.
I’ll spend eternity alone if it means being free to be me, tattoos and dimension colored hair, making my own way, whatever that looks like. I dream of a day when women are honored for the uniqueness of who we are, not who people think we should be. When that day comes, and it is, I will hold hands with a long line of women, throwing off their chains and running, laughing, into the sea.