I think of Uganda today. I’ve been thinking of her for awhile, perhaps because in nine short days I’ll be getting on three airplanes and heading to Peru. I tend to get nostalgic about the places I’ve been when I’m heading somewhere new.
Five months have disappeared since the plane landed. The words have hesitated to come. I can feel them, the same way you can feel an itch at the back of your throat, borderline desperate to find something to relieve the scratch. I beg them to release from my fingertips, but they’re stubborn — these words — and perhaps it’s because I’m afraid to let go.
I wear a sparkly gold bracelet tight against my wrist. She holds up half the sky, it says.
The she has a name — Eve. The she has eighteen million names. Beatrice and Golda and Dorothy and Betty and baby Eve and eighteen million others. And then there are the she’s in Rwanda and Thailand and Peru and here, right here in Canada, right here in Ontario, right here in this very room where I am sitting.
So many she’s. So many holding up bits and pieces, slivers and slices, and half of our sky. They fly through my head like a patchwork of music — guitar strings and piano keys and voices. I see their faces, faces I’ve never seen, but their eyes and hands play as a slideshow inside of me. I plead with my memories, remembering something I once read: that our memories are only truly safe when we forget them. But you and I both know that forgetting the women who stand beside us thousands of miles away is not an option.
The girls who are holding up half of the sky alongside you and I are brave and mighty warriors. They are girls who deserve dreams, who deserve to think of any wild and imaginative idea they can, and they deserve to have that possibly come true.
I think of those brave girls today. I miss them, even the ones I haven’t met yet.
She holds up half the sky — and I hold up half too.
Women hold up half the sky.