with her | a letter

we grow. we bloom. we are coveted & plucked.

we grow. we bloom. we are coveted & plucked.

I will not give love to those who approach me with hatred.

I want to be honest with my fellow woman. I want to be strong with you and for you. I am afraid of what you’ll say; I’m scared of what you’ll think; I’m terrified of the lies I have told; I’m angry with the world; I can’t set an example for you when I am hiding.
Who is the enemy? Men are survivors of abuse, gender stereotypes, and expectation too. I haven’t forgotten you.
I have been hurt by a woman and I have been hurt by a man. I have hurt a woman and I have hurt a man. I have hated a woman and I have hated a man. I have loved a woman and I have loved a man. I have forgiven, laughed, and cried, with both.

…This is our truth… I am afraid of a man overpowering me…I will fight, thrash, and scream until you silence me… I will walk alone in the woods at night, but never alone on a dark street…The true monsters walk among us…

“Yes, you do.”

 One bright afternoon, I felt like walking. I walked with my friend down the beach. We stared at our feet because the sun hurt our eyes. We both wear glasses.

We avoid the depths for fear of the shark, but drink carelessly in a sea of rapists who don’t know they’re raping.

We sat at the bar. The beer was cool, the corn dogs I ordered were hot and yummy, and she ordered cheese that was fried into little messy chunks. Southerners like everything fried.

We are afraid of calories making us fat, not of beauty making us targets.

The restaurant was only a few blocks from my condo. “Let’s take the sidewalk,” I said. “Sure,” she shrugged, and we talked about who we were in love with.

We care if they’ll make handsome children, but not if they raise a new generation of predators.

A man and his dog were in front of us. A bulldog, if I remember correctly. The man had gray hair, glasses, and was thinking about his life, I think.

We worry for the cost, not for the victims survivors.

We kept close to him.

We believe that someone will save us, but when the time comes our screams aren’t heard.

She walked closest to the road.

We fear being hit by a car, not that we could be followed.

I watched a young guy on a bike approach. He almost hit the curb as he skidded toward us. He halted and asked, “Can I have some cash?”

We fear appearing poor, but not being hurt for seeming rich.

New baseball cap. Bike in perfect condition. Clothes not tattered or old. No bags heavily strapped to his back because he had no place to leave them.

We take for granted emotional generosity, but leave happy dirty kisses on the cheeks of blank checks.

I don’t know you.

We ask for something, but never ask if something is needed.

“I’m so sorry, but I don’t have any cash on me,” I said. I meant it. I felt sorry. I don’t know you.

We are taught to face our demons, but are not prepared when they are tangible and threatening us.

“Yes, you do,” he sneered and rode off.

We are blamed for saying “no” and we are judged for saying “yes.”


I didn’t hear him; I had watched his face.

We are forever changed, but expected to behave the same.

I saw anger.

We are angry, but we are strong.

I wished in that moment that he feared me as much as I prepared to fear him.

We are lost, but we are still breathing.




Author: belleathena

Novelist, artist, and speculated witch. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of OTHER. Magazine. Proudly born and raised in Massachusetts. Currently located in Orlando, Florida.

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