Floating on a pink surfboard
With a picnic lunch and parasol
Sitting there like a typical girl
You don't know me but I've been watching you all day. I thought that by ignoring you perhaps you'd go away. I thought it was just too much sun as I faced out across the bay. Hearing all these voices telling me how to spend my day. Then I turned around and I saw you standing there. Talking all this time. Talking like you care. It's been ten years and you haven't gone away. So I'm finally speaking up. It's time to have my say.
First of all, my name isn't Mimi. It's Ruth.
And I come from a family of ten children. A tomboy. The youngest. I learned to fight before I learned to walk. To fight for my place in a space without grace. All cannons open by the age of two. By six I ruled the schoolyard. By fourteen I ruled the shopping malls.
Loud. Active. Restless. Arrogant. Aggressive.
I couldn't understand these flimsy things called 'teenage girls'. They scattered before me like ineffective dolls. So I bullied them even more in my consternation. Trying to make them break out. Trying to beat them into consciousness. And then one day, I was working on this little bit of a thing. Trying to whip her into three dimensions. She was shaking and looking confused. Way beyond her ken. I was just about to give her one last kick, when all of a sudden, she got real silent. I mean, REAL silent.
And from somewhere faraway, someone called my name.
And a pink surfboard was handed to me.
And a voice said "her name will be Mimi".
And they gently urged me forward to the edge of the water.
And we moved out onto the sea, Mimi and me.
And the language between us was wordless and hung in the air.
And I spent a lot of time thinking about chains that bound the others but not me.
And then I started to feel so trapped by feeling oh-so-free.
And some days I hated the pink. I HATED the pink.
Pink for weakness and girls and little posies. Pink for subjugation, oppression, asexuality, moral shrivenness, ignorance, and painted toesies.
And yet it's pink that is my friend out here. Out on the sea that I'm learning to fear.
Pink that's showing me the way. Learning how to NOT have my say. To hear what YOU might have to say.
Stand up, Mimi. Stand up.
And so you're saying 'stand up' to a natural athlete. It's MUCH harder for me to sit here feeling oh-so-incomplete.
Something strange occurred
On the local beach that day
One girl paddled out to sea
The other slowly walked away