A Writing Woman’s Space

Inspired Virginia Woolf’s “A room of her own.”

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Photographer: James Futrell of Strictly Digital Photography Creative Director: Saschia Johnson Model: Tessa Dipalina

What genius and integrity it is for female writers today to write with all the criticism they receive, not just from men but also from other women. Not just about writing but for the way they choose to live.

We as women are expected to follow suit in terms of patriarchy. What does this mean? Well, when you first think of this, you think of a male-run household and a stay at home mom who knits and raises children. And yes, this is still very much an idea we are fighting against. But today our fight has evolved. Women are now leading their households on top of what they were already doing. Even with our forward movement, women still underhandedly and blatantly bash other women for staying home to raise children instead of taking advantage of a world where women can work. Stay at home moms bash working women for not being there for their kids in a world where suicide in children is far higher than it’s ever been. I’m going with the cliché here and saying raising children is hard. It doesn’t matter what path you choose in life. How is it that patriarchy has a hand in this? According to Webster’s dictionary, patriarchy in a broad sense is control by men of a disproportionately large share of power. Men have been in power for so long now that women are gaining power, they are living in a way to prove that they are as capable as men, rather than living and working in their own natural state. I say natural state as in an acceptance of what they want to do, not to overpower but because this is precisely what they want to do. This working to prove comes with its own sense of superiority toward other women. Which in turn, makes stay-at-home moms feel as if they must prove to both men and working women, they are in fact pulling their way.

Ok, so that’s for moms who write. Now let’s brush over the idea of writing women who do not have children. There’s this strange and quiet awkwardness among women when you don’t have children. It’s like women feel as if they are less because they don’t have children. To be honest, I’ve never seen or heard of a woman bashing another woman for not having children, but there’s this sense of failure that looms when children aren’t created by a certain age.

That is just two of the biggest adversities’ women face within our community of women. There’s significantly more but let’s just stick with these. So, we see that among women we have vastly different ideas on what womanhood looks like. As writers, it’s our job to face adversity. It’s our job to approach the elephant in the room and then talk about it. So, let’s talk about it.

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Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

According to Virginia Woolf, the women writers of the past wrote even without a room of their own. Jane Austin without a room of her own wrote an entire novel in secret. She hid her passion to write from even her servants. Do I think we are still fighting for the space to write in peace? Absolutely. Why? Why would we be fighting this in a world where women are allowed the space to write and pursue their passions? Why would a female writer keep her passions hidden under her successful job or her ability to keep a clean house and have well-dressed children walking around? Because as a woman, with the ability to sit undisturbed at the kitchen table, we are still shamed for the lifestyles we choose regardless of the rights we are given.

I’ve felt it. I’ve heard over and over about how my writing isn’t a real job and that I have nothing going for me. Or how as a novelist, I’m not a real writer. I’ve been shamed for the way I cook or don’t cook. I’ve been shamed for the way I tend or don’t tend to my husband. Pish, I’ve been shamed for going away for two weeks to focus on my writing. This is why we hide it. This is why women hide their passions and write in the closet.

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Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

Today, it is still a relevant metaphor when Virginia Woolf suggests that women need a room of their own. We need the space and support from fellow women. Not only from men. Not only from our parents but from other women. I’d like to end with a quote from Virginia Woolf.

What genius, what integrity it must have required in face of all the criticism, in the midst of that purely patriarchal society, to hold fast to the thing as they saw it without shrinking.” -Virginia Woolf

Sources

Woolf, Virginia. “Austen-Brontë-Eliot” In The Critical Tradition, pp. 602–10

Photography Credit: James Futrell from Strictly Digital Photography

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A Whole Woman

She is a combination of everything she’s always wanted to be. She left limits for roadways and labels for truffles. She embodies a collection of all the mothers who raised her and all the fathers who tried their best. She’s a voice in the wilderness and a high tide. The storm is nestled in her spine and spring between her thighs. You have got to have spirit in order to speak all of her languages or else you’ll drown.

A Woman

Take away the dishes

The wife-ing

The mothering

And you’re left with

A writer

An artist

!A REVOLUTIONARY

Who dreams of sowing thought

respect

And empathy back into our existence

She grasps for words

And stories

She grasps for experiences

She fails

She falls she rises

Over and over again

She is a woman

She is an entire future stitched together with all the labels she’s out grown

-Saschia

Not Your Wife III

He wants her

her long black hair and brown eyes

Her propped up tits pushed together like cuddling lovers

He wants all of her

Not one ounce of her soul though

She can keep that locked up with the bats

Far away from his la dee dah soul

La dee dah cuz he lost it years ago I mean sometimes we get a glimpse but most times it’s not near

He just wants her body and her good deeds

And her good days

And her beliefs but only if they’re proper

He wants her sex

And he’d do a lot for it

Just like the rest

He jimmies his Jimmie to so many images

And if yall knew the things he did to those woman in his mind

You’d feel less alone cuz you probably do it too

And with his deflated balls emptied he’ll emerge from the bathroom

with his rules and suggestions

Of how she should wear her hair

And how she should make her choices

He places women below him while he shits

Then returns to tell her how to live a righteous life

He is as false as the words that plunk to the ground when he talks

-Sasch

This is Who

I watched her rise above

I watched her question who she really was

And demand who she would become

She didn’t sit still for a moment longer

She pushed through and persevered

And now her home is quiet

And still

She worked for this peace

She stepped out and stood tall

And worked til her inside matched her outside

Til her life matched her dreams

This is her lifelong journey of becoming

This is who she is destined to be

♡ Saschia

A Bag Full of Freedom

I wake up chug a cup of water in my reusable Starbuck’s cup

gotta make sure I have enough milk made for the baby

sniff my pits and decide they smell fresh enough to skip a shower

I put on white leggings and look at my butt in the mirror only to notice

my panties show right through

So I pick a long shirt from my floral lined basket of folded shirts

I folded them when I was in the mood

I make myself sausage eggs and two pieces of french toast

this time for myself

not for the milk maker

I yell and scream about women’s rights then walk away

to fill another bottle of water

I pump for 20 minutes

put ointment on to prevent getting thrush

or from getting some infection I’d get from open wounds

and then gather Plath, Bukowski, Poe, Rimbaud, and [S.K.] Nicholas

into my bag

I grab my computer pretend to be happy

grab some pens and my keys and head out the door

I could take the Subie but I choose to take the Matrix

which is older and smellier

so my husband who has the baby has a car seat

and I drive and I think about where I want to eat

and if I even want to eat again

 

-Saschia

 

Little purple person

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not my business

is she black 
no she’s


⊕ white


 

is she loved by any other

than

the one that’s love is pure

?

it holds her down

*it- a woman, not a companion

Because companions required the stuff she didn’t

have to give

she buried them

along with pure love

in a grave

 

*it held her down

while he pounded

while he finished

 

only to call the next|                                                    |morning and ask

 

How’d you like it?

 

She, a business woman

couldn’t say

“me too”

because maybe he
changed maybe she’s

wrong

 

She changed though

no longer

purely loved no longer

a virgin

 

Held down by
strength

Held down by- not

a companion

 

-Saschia Johnson

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