I sit down at the coffee shop. There are only a few long, wide tables, and all the patrons gather around them like we're family, like we know each other.
I sit across from two older women, skin wrinkled by life and joy and sorrow and sunshine, women with fire in their words and eyes and fingers. They clink mugs, talk about their book club, their loved ones
and I want to scream at them,
"How do you do it? How have you survived this world all this time, a planet whose beauty and power is raped by the rich, by those fed with silver spoonfuls of lies, by those who are never satisfied, never empathetic, never never never.
How can you fucking stand it?
How are you not in the streets in sackcloth and screams, rending your hair and burning it on the front steps of our capitals?
And I know, today's world is not unique in its ruin. There have always been dictators and hand-crafted poverty and men who relish standing on the souls of others.
But god, when I read about yesteryear, I thought if it became today I would feel stronger, more awake, that each free breath I take wouldn't be so profoundly exhausting.
So how do you do it? How do you refrain from setting the strongholds of toxic masculinity on fire? How do you smile at any man? How do you stop yourself from encasing your heart in ice seven inches thick so you don't have to feel the weight of all this ugliness?
Tell me your secrets. I wish to learn."