It was one of those moments where everything I had been saying to myself--and to others, for years--finally dripped down from my brain to my heart. I believe I can even call it an epiphany.
It happened while I was walking to--well, we're not supposed to talk about it, but I need to in order to tell it over properly--the mikve. I had just checked myself from head to toe, as we are supposed to do, and I was thinking about that inspection as I walked briskly in the cold, dark evening, head down so as not to meet anyone's eyes. I look okay, I was thinking, but I would love to lose five more pounds. I stopped my thoughts in their tracks, ashamed. This was not what i wanted to be thinking of on the way to the mikve.
Then suddenly, I felt my feet, walking firmly on the ground. I felt the shock of the sidewalks' impact travel up into my legs, into my thighs, into my hips. I looked down at the space that I was occupying, and I thought, yes. I take up space, yes I do. And that's good. That's good, because I matter. I am a woman, I matter, and I take up space. I occupy this square on the sidewalk, and everyone has to walk around me. And that is how it is, and that is how it should be.
I felt my pulse pounding, I heard my breath whistling in and out, even saw it in the cold air. I felt alive, I felt powerful, I felt like I did not need to be 18 years old again. I did not live in the shadows. I was not a shadow.
And I want to write about that even as it slips away from me, about my one brief shining moment when my heart and my brain met.
For a moment, I felt beautiful.