If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive. – Audre Lorde
I refuse to be the “chill girl.”
If you interrupt me I will not let it slide.
I will pull you up on it, to the awkwardness and embarrassment of everyone else in the conversation.
And say “can you tell me why what you have to say is more important than what I have to say?”
Even if my voice shakes, even if I don’t want to do it, I will.
Because I’d rather be called a bitch for standing firm in my boundaries
I’d rather create that palpable riff of social friction
Than be hailed ‘chill’ for always swallowing my tongue and putting others comfort and needs before mine.
If you tell me “I am not like other girls”
That I am “easygoing”
I will not take that as a compliment
Other girls are funny and brilliant and loud and terrifying and intuitive and fierce and emotional and powerful
Easygoing? No. I don’t go easy.
Not unless it’s a ‘yes’ that rumbles in my bones.
If you make a throwaway, lighthearted joke that grates at my values
Against everything I stand for
That exemplifies your unconscious privilege
That downcasts the marginalized
I will not laugh
Even if it’s one word, one joke you used without even thinking about it
I will call you in to re-evaluate
And I won’t care that you’re in a rush or you’re embarrassed or you just want to get on with whatever it was you were doing
Because I’d expect people to do the same to me
Because we all have a long way to go and there is not time for complacency any more.
“She’s cool. She’s chill. She’s a guys girl.”
God, how I used to crave that in my younger years. How being seen as low-maintenance was a badge of honour.
What that says to me now?
She’s swallowing her tongue. She’s dimming her light. She is threatened by other women.
“You know those girls who, like, plaster themselves in make-up?”
Yes. What about them?
What does the amount of powder someone puts on their face in the morning have to do with who they are as a person?
Sometimes I come from the surf every morning and stay bare-faced all week
Other times I can spend hours in front of the mirror, blending different shades of brown in the creases of my eyelids
Following my cupids bow with blood red lipstick
Until there isn’t a square millimetre of bare skin left of my face
Why? Because it’s fun. Because it makes me happy. Because I can.
“Guys prefer a more minimal look”
Real men prefer whatever the fuck a woman wants to do to express herself and feel good
“She’s high maintenance.”
Firstly, she’s not a high performance car that needs constant tending to.
Or a Bonsai tree
She’s a human.
Sorry if you need clarification on what that means
Sorry that she has an inner world just as rich and layered as yours
And ambitions that could swallow the sun
Sorry she won’t fold seamlessly into your life, tight-fitting and flexible like lycra.
If you wanted someone who adored you
Who followed you wherever you wanted to go
Who came at every whistle and call
I hate to be the one to break this to you,
But I think what you are looking for is a puppy, not a girlfriend.
Women, when you perpetuate the cool girl myth
The easy-breezy woman who has no wants and needs of her own
Who just goes with “whatever”
When you bite your tongue for fear of not being accepted
Fear of being labelled a bitch or a stuck-up or, my favourite, a “difficult woman”
You do a disservice to women everywhere.
Can we just abolish this “chill girl” fetish already?
She does not exist.
Feature image: Cait Miers Photography