Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fragility, Vulnerability, and Other Things I’m Still Trying To Put Into Practice



I’ve always tried to put it into words. I couldn’t.

I’m unsure if it’s because I felt that I was too strong to say it or because I couldn’t identify it. How can you identify something you’ve never been given? Lovers would ask me what was missing and it would sit on the tip of my tongue, but it would never come.

The other day, someone who I’ve been exchanging pleasantries with, asked me what was missing from the love I’ve lost.

I sputtered something stupid, “Being held from behind.”

He laughed, “What?”

“Um…I’ve never been held from behind.”


“That’s random. Why do you think that is?”

“I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m too tall, or too thick, or not vulnerable, or perhaps men just don’t think I need to be held in that way. They don’t see me as fragile.”

Fragile. This is the word. It was out now.

Okay, I’m lying. A little bit.

One man tried to hold me from behind. Once. We were standing in front of the Liberty Bell and I suddenly saw his hands in front of me. I realized he was about to hold me in this way and I kind of freaked. I moved to the side, smiled at him, and placed a kiss on his cheek. I could tell that he was a tad bit confused, but I knew the moment would be a memory soon for him. However, it was never one for me. Why did I freak out?

Because I’d never been handled with care.
It was awkward to me, because I’d never been with anyone who considered me something/someone to be careful with.

I did not see myself as fragile.
I wasn’t treated as such.

There is something about a touch, a grasp, or a whisper that can remind you of your femininity. I’ve watched the dance happen between friends and their lovers, particularly those that are pink, petite, small, or wincing. Men swoop their arms down, cater to their every whim.

I want to be handled delicately.

I couldn’t say it to the men who claimed to love me, but I knew there was something missing.

At 5’11, 190 pounds, and at the top of your game you reek of strength and solidity. My voice is deeper than most women and I perform poems on stages, in front of huge crowds. The more lovers learn about the things I’ve done and my feats, the less I’m handled like I could be broken.

But even bulletproof glass cracks, weathers, and fades.
I am this; but I am delicate too.

My spine is sometimes melted, when all is wrong in my world, and sometimes I yearn for strong arms to replace it.

When all is quiet and the tapping of my keyboard is the only sound, I yearn for someone to ask: How was your day?

I sit at dinner tables and wait for men to hold my hand and caress it slowly, tell me compliments that everyone wants to hear. They are sure I’ve been told this several times, so they stay silent.

& so I handle myself delicately.

I buy myself flowers.
I take long, warm baths.
I have a sign above my mirror that says “You are beautiful, Erica.”
I kiss my arms, before I fall asleep.
I tell the moon goodnight.
I write poems about the beauty that happens in my day.

Although I am mighty I’ve learned that I’m fragile too. I learned that I no longer want to live and love, as if I’m not. I will demand it of anyone who comes calling and all those who want my attention.

I want to be vulnerable too.

I have never felt freer than the moments where my heart is lying open and scattered on a table. He sits across from me and pretends that all the contents of our happenings aren’t there, but there’s no denying it. He will either pick them up or leave them there, but I’d rather that than not knowing at all. I’d rather that than being a bottle praying to fizz over, for someone who realizes you are worth shaking alive.

I am learning these things.
In pieces.
In darkness.
In the inaudible.
In women’s eyes.
In God.
In my echoing womb.
In the passing years.

I want someone to whisper…

no screw that….

I’ll whisper it to you:


You are fragile too. Mountains crack, oceans divide, and the earth erodes. Everything tied and bound, eventually breaks. Love yourself this way. Know that you are capable of falling, but rising too. Know that you are dusk, but sun is around the corner. Prepare yourself for triumph, but allow yourself to shatter too.


4 comments:

Teka J said...

as usual, this spoke to me. i'm also a statuesque 6'0" woman with the life and aspirations that could intimidate some at first when combined. i even watched a video today that tried to convince a 5'11" woman that she needs to be less intense when flirting and more so chill and humorous to keep a guys attention. i felt indifferent. but i also related to parts in regards to not wanting to approach because it could be mistaken as "rolling up" on him LOL either way, my vulnerability and willingness to be fragile in someone else arms has been an ongoing challenge. but i'm progressing. :)

oh and here's the link to the video: https://shine.yahoo.com/video/pick-tips-tall-girls-183000254.html

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Riv for this post. I am not a big girl, I've always been small and because of my height and size I always felt I had to prove myself to people. People often thought I was weak or fragile because of my size and because I knew this I let my Napoleon complex get the best of me to prove them wrong. Somehow by doing this for so many years I just grew accustomed to always having to prove myself to people and I think eventually people began to see me that way. But because I put this image out there (that I don't hurt and I'm super tough) I was unable to go to anyone and really show that fragile side of myself.

It wasn't until recently when I entered a new relationship and wondered for the longest why it felt different from the other ones. And then one day it hit me...I was allowing myself to be vulnerable with him. I didn't have to be the tough one that never sheds a tear and have no feelings.

But this piece really brought it home for me. Sometimes you want to cry to someone and let them help you pick up the pieces instead of always being the one that others cry to.

Thankiesssss girlllll!!!

riva. said...

@Teka That video makes me feel quite indifferent too. I mean...I'm all about being yourself upon approach. & if you don't like it? Bye. Lol. I'm glad you'e progressing in your fragility. Aren't we all? Always? <3

riva. said...

@Anonymous Doesn't it feel amazing, when you've discovered the ability to be vulnerable? I've been there. Still there. I'm immersed in the light of it. Glad it's happening for you too.