Ask for it, ask for it, did she ask for it? She usually doesn’t ask for anything, really. She knows not how to ask for help. She can help herself, she thinks. She didn’t ask, that one time, for a very sober man to follow her home at night asking if she was single and insisting that she was “troppo bella!” to be alone; she also didn’t ask, when in Rome, those two young men to roll down their car window and scream comments about the movement of her breasts as she was running to approach the tram. She didn’t ask, as a teenager, for her gym instructor to molest her repetitively for three years and make her believe it was all very normal. She didn’t ask to be filmed while giving a guy a blowjob and then learned from him that he’d sent it to his cousin because ‘he wants to jerk off to it too’. She didn’t ask to grow a sense of disgust for her own sexuality, and certainly didn’t ask for her body to be hypersexualised since the summer she grew boobs and a (very nice) ass. She didn’t ask older men, in her small hometown, to feel an all encompassing sense of ownership toward her body. She didn’t ask her ex-boyfriend to tell her what she could or couldn’t wear; she didn’t ask him to manipulate her into believing she was guilty of all male attention received, and a slut for flirting, dancing, fooling around. She didn’t ask that guy at the Camden bar, when she went home with him, to be so insisting as he continued to fuck her and whisper in her hear that she was loving it, that she needed to relax, though she kept saying it hurt. She didn’t ask for any of it, and many more things.

She only asks for what is necessary. But used to get what she’s never asked for, she hasn’t really thought about how to ask for what she wants. What does she want?

Sometimes she cries herself to sleep. She rarely talks about what goes on in her head, when deep into the night she can’t sleep and she stares at the ceiling and thinks to herself that it’d be nice to take a break from herself sometimes. If only she could be liberated from her physical form for a few days, fly high in the sky or hide in a tree in the park. To then return to the world of words and movement, touch, pleasure, company. She likes the idea of disappearing for a while. She knows she would return to herself braver than before.

She does call her friends. She likes to listen. Occasionally, she opens up about her joys and sorrows. Mostly joys. Or the political, existential, philosophical reflections. But the sorrows, sometimes, too. She is lucky enough to have people in her life she can cry on the phone to. Still, her pillow remains her most loyal listener.

She is bleeding in the bathtub. Her body: a mystery. A curse and a miracle. Woman… She would bury her head on her best friend’s lap if she could and from there listen to the noise of the world. Hear her womb singing. She finds relief in the presence of other women. Their vibrating, always different energy. Even when she doesn’t like them, when she thinks their outfits are silly, when she’s jealous of the way they look effortlessly put together. Or when she feels threatened by their assertiveness.

In spite of all things that may annoy her, she feels safe in their presence. Their very different smells. Their way of hiding their insecurities, which she analyses with curiosity and admiration. Their style: some feminine, some less, some fashionable, some classic, some extravagant, some enjoying shamelessly the awareness of their beauty.

Some fat, some thin, some so attractively funny, and smart, and charming, some very direct, almost rude, some shy and reflective, some very mysterious. Some cover up their bodies. Others show shoulders, or knees, or hips, or skin on their backs. Bridges. Their bodies like bridges. Connectors. Space dilators. Nothing she would have ever accomplished without a number of women telling her (most importantly, showing her), at different stages of her life, that life is pain. That you don’t need a man to be complete. That still, in spite of it all, life must be loved and fought for.

Life is ironic. That, she knows. She also knows irony is key to survive. Surrendering to the multidimensional nature of things. The non-binary truths. Oh, the pleasure she feels when she is around women she loves. When she can be of service to them. When she can be in silence with them. When she can ask them for help, advice, reassurance.

She strives for the fullness of her womanhood. The fullness of her being. To find herself in a place of utter peace, run up the golden road that leads to freedom. Is she a bad feminist for being very in love with men? For liking them, sometimes? No matter the pain not-so coincidentally inflicted to her by so many of them, in her very life? For looking up to some of them? And craving their arms around her, their determination? For not having a cure to toxic masculinity, for being herself, plenty of times, the emotionally unavailable one?

She believes in the power of decision, and she’s decided to ask more. Of what she wants. Reclaim what belongs to her already. She’s decided to ask herself not to see herself as a victim, but rather — the protagonist of her own life. The decision-maker, the lover, the dreamer, the friend, the sister, the writer. The one who asks for what she wants. In bed and in life. The one who can be unashamed of her fragility. The one who can be unashamed of her strength. The one who is worthy of pleasure. Of embodying fully her sensuality. Her sexuality. Her fe-mi-ni-ni-ty.

She/her. Outspoken intersectional feminist, committed to thoughtful cultural analysis and social justice work. Lover of simple things. Writer and observer.

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