by Tara Jean Bernier
After Shihan the Poet
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…
I am sick and tire of slut shaming. Dude. What year is it- 1956? Why if a woman has sex is she a trollop – and if she doesn’t she’s a prude – and if she wants to be friends with someone she obviously is looking to give them head – and if she doesn’t she’s a bitch. And why – is it as a mama of two -all my sexuality is assumed to be latent, and hidden. Can’t we be complex and many layered-can’t we want and desire -quietly, privately, out loud, in public, in bed, on the kitchen table, without it being the end to all our reputations.
I’m sick and tired of politics — and I’m sick and tired of bureaucrats in cities a hundred miles from the Happy Valley telling me how my classroom should run- yes- consistency is important- but sir- you haven’t taught in a classroom in thirty years, could you kindly shut the fuck up. Those who can teach- those who can’t- make laws about teaching.
I’m sick and tired of people telling me boys will boys. That he and I- we will outgrow our ADHD – that I’m poisoning him on meds— You know what, no. Shut the hell up. Live with us for three days, you will understand that this disorder is very real, and while yes, it would be insanely nice to dress him in fig leaves, and let him run like a wild child, climbing trees and spearing pig heads- um, we don’t live in that novel. We live in this very real world- and I would like him to survive it — and not suffer and struggle and be anxious like his mama was for thirty years. Because, while God knows we are both fucking brilliant enough to make that work, it is not easy.
I am sick and tired of friends overdosing- three funerals of people od’ing from heroin have I attended- each one of those souls incarcerated multiple times and yet- there I was twenty pews back at each service, with a clutched up tissue in my hand, my mascara running down my face.
And I’m sick and tired of defending working mothers and saying we all make a choice. I’m sick and tired of my mommyness being judged, because I want to be an artist and a writer and a dreamer and a teacher, and I seek joy to pass down to my own boys.
I’m sick and tired of divorce being seen as a fucking tragedy. You know what’s a tragedy.? Resentment, bitterness, boys seeing their parents fight — to no solution — the silent treatment— that’s a tragedy — a cold bed— that’s a mess. But a divorce is a solution baby — and it is the next place to go — and while it ain’t everyone’s path — it’s mine darlin’ and I’m pretty damn excited — so you know what people — how about some freakin’ congratulations.
And I’m sick and tired of rumors — you know what honey — you don’t know anything — and your sad and lusterless life needs light — so you think talk about mine or someone else’s dark spots will light you up — but baby-
. . This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.