We Are Sorry, Aunt Lydia
There is more than one kind of freedom says Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now it is freedom from. Don’t underrate it.
There are Aunt Lydia’s everywhere.
Sitting at the bus stop, waiting for the train.
There are Aunt Lydia’s at your job, in the line at the deli
even waiting for you to come home, taking your bag, kissing your cheek.
They are everywhere.
They are watching what you eat
and reminding you about the thickness of your hips.
They want you to remember what men need
and want and more so
that serving men is your purpose.
They watch you while you shower
making sure there is no hair where it does not belong
(even though that is just where it grows)
not under your arms
or on your calves
not sprouting from your big toe
nor between your legs.
They are at work
talking over you to your boss.
They refer to you as girl
and they say female
as if a female dog
or a female duck
was the same thing
as a woman
which is the same thing
as being reduced to
let’s be honest
is what Aunt Lydia does
at first to make you feel special
until you realize that you are nothing more
than the parts inside you.
What was that joke?
What is a girl?
A life support system for a cunt.
You laughed in high school because you didn’t know what else to do.
Aunt Lydia is standing at the White House podium,
lying to you about your life.
She is laying those lies out one by one
eating them like so many grapes.
Aunt Lydia is the face of the nation
claiming to be very good at feeling for other people.
We want to pretend that Aunt Lydia has no flesh
that she is just a machine
but we are lying to ourselves.
She is real.
She means what she says.
She does this because she loves you.
She does this because she hates you.
She does this because she fears so very much
what would happen if the rules all fell away.
She does this because she is a tool of the patriarchy,
defined and sharpened to a point.
She is the dagger that will strip away your rights and tell you it’s for your own good.
Aunt Lydia has nothing but her girls.
And we have disappointed her.
Line up girls,
hang your heavy heads,
tell her you’re sorry.
Say it again.
Say it louder.
We are sorry, Aunt Lydia.