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my short skirt and embarassing assumptions

red shoes

The other day a woman at my daughter’s school was telling me about the book I am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World by Eve Ensler. She told me she wanted to loan it me and thought I would enjoy it. She told me one particular part of it reminded her of me. She said it was called “Short Skirt”. I sort of laughed and she walked away.

After she walked away, I spent the next several hours batting that around in my head. What did she mean by that? Was she judging me? Was she making a point? My ego made up many stories about her comment, none of which gave her the benefit of the doubt. I thought of smart ass, clever things I could say back to make a point or how I might ask her what she meant. Never once in all of this did I think to consider that she was being the slightest bit benevolent or, at the very least, benign.

When I got home, I went right to google and looked it up. This poem, by Eve Ensler from The Vagina Monologues is what I found. It stunned me. It made me cry. I felt honored and seen and understood in a way I haven’t in a long time. Here it is.

My Short Skirt
By Eve Ensler

My short skirt is not an invitation
a provocation
an indication
that I want it
or give it
or that I hook.

My short skirt
is not begging for it
it does not want you
to rip it off me
or pull it down.

My short skirt
is not a legal reason
for raping me
although it has been before
it will not hold up
in the new court.

My short skirt, believe it or not
has nothing to do with you.

My short skirt
is about discovering
the power of my lower calves
about cool autumn air traveling
up my inner thighs
about allowing everything I see
or pass or feel to live inside.

My short skirt is not proof
that I am stupid
or undecided
or a malleable little girl.

My short skirt is my defiance
I will not let you make me afraid
My short skirt is not showing off
this is who I am
before you made me cover it
or tone it down.
Get used to it.

My short skirt is happiness
I can feel myself on the ground.
I am here. I am hot.

My short skirt is a liberation
flag in the women’s army
I declare these streets, any streets
my vagina’s country.

My short skirt
is turquoise water
with swimming colored fish
a summer festival
in the starry dark
a bird calling
a train arriving in a foreign town
my short skirt is a wild spin
a full breath
a tango dip
my short skirt is

But mainly my short skirt
and everything under it
is Mine.

So you see, I made a huge assumption and felt rather silly. I forgive myself (we all have that part of us that isn’t always shiny don’t we?). I am posting this here because it was a powerful reminder to me of The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. These simple spiritual tools have taken me far on my journey and continue to inform my choices in the world. I often fall short of the ideal they represent but I often don’t. They lead me back to my Spirit–back to LOVE quicker than just about anything. Here they are:

1. Be Impeccable with your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Clearly, my best does change from moment to moment but I intend to keep trying. Part of me writing this post is to see my OWN projections so I don’t keep repeating them.

And by the way, I plan to share this blog post with the lovely woman mentioned to undo a bit of the psychic damage I did by casting my projections her way. It will give us both something to laugh about. 🙂

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