It’s funny how easy it is to fall asleep. I’m not talking about drifting off to dreamland at the end of the day or finding yourself falling into the sweet unconsciousness in the middle of the afternoon, what I’m referring to is how effortless it is to let go of all the things that we felt so passionate about in our late-teens and early twenties, and instead, embrace the perceived complexities of adulthood and responsibility. We fall asleep when we get older (at least for most of us) and let go of what we believe is childish things.
We forget how to be rebellious.
But sometimes, we wake up, and that spark of rebelliousness starts to glow bright once again. That light can get lit by the smallest of things: the smell of pot at an outdoor concert, the feel of an old flannel shirt against your skin, a song playing in the background that reminds you of when all you wanted to see was the world burn and be reborn.
And that sleep ends.
Yesterday I found a blank, unmarked CD, put it on and I woke up. It was as simple as that. The first song was Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill and I remembered everything, not in the typical shades of nostalgia pink, but in real life red. From the first shriek of Kathleen Hannah’s tough and beautiful voice, the lyrics tumbled out, each word punching me from all sides, tossing me like an abusive mother awakening a child:That girl thinks she’s the queen of the neighborhood/She’s got the hottest trike in town/That girl she holds her head up so high/I think I want to be her best friend, yeah.
I wore cut-off jeans with tights, I laced up combat boots that rubbed the sides of my calves raw, I put on comic character shirts (made by me). I wrote chapbooks of poetry with third-wave feminist leanings. I worked in a used bookstore. I went to concerts. I had crushes on every girl punk band. I wrote their lyrics on my arms. Danced at the front of the stage. I was free. I was unabashedly unapologetic. I was happy.
Then I forgot…somehow I forgot that once upon a time I was a riot grrrl who wasn’t afraid of the system, of politics, of pushing the boundaries of polite society.
I am waking up, all of us girls/women are. We are remembering what it was like to be combative and angry and creative and powerful.
The fourth-wave of feminism is churning and it’s rolling back into shore…it’s waking us up one at a time and it sounds just like a song.