Blank, Blank, Blank: An Autobiography
“What if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” - Muriel Rukeyse
One of the most painfully truthful things I have ever written is a poem called – well, I don’t want to tell you what its called, because the title itself will tell you too much about me. Let’s just say, its called, “Blank, Blank, Blank: An Autobiography”.
Not everyone who leaves the world of ultra-Orthodoxy is or considers themselves a “survivor”, but for those of us whose journeys have been complex, traumatic or dramatic, it can be very hard to tell the truth when we talk about our lives. Even when we can talk about the pain, the scars, the triumphs, we often talk about them in a careful way, smoothing down the edges, highlighting the points that might be impressive to others, avoiding those (often small or unexpected) components that hurt us to remember. The awkward moments. The humiliations. The shames.
I hate my own lack of courage, and hope one day, I will feel more free. Until then, a small offering, I give you part of the poem I mention above. This third piece is about my graduate degree, one of three major components of the woman I am today. A small morsel of truth:
Excerpt from “________, _________, _________: An Autobiography”
In a maroon frame, my graduate degree rests on my closet floor.
All those beautiful boys and girls,
their pink lips carved so deliberately.
I just wanted to lick them all, to suck them all in.
The professors told us everything,
from their shining minarets,
that I tried to scale, day after day, with ragged nails and kissing limbs.
Lucky little girl, to scrape her knees on such a wall.
Lucky little girl, her black gown hiding every scab
before the choppy sea of moms and dads and roses and sunflowers and silver balloons
I crossed the stage
the name before me falling quiet,
the name behind me about to roar
If you were to write a poem, titled “__________, ___________,_____________: An Autobiography” would you be willing to fill in the three blanks with the three descriptors that are most true about your journey but most painful to claim? Share them below!Printable Version