By Kyrsta Morehouse

The first time I got catcalled I felt a rush of pride mix with my anger, but I covered my smile with a face of disgust like the girls next to me. That night I wondered why it brought me joy to know a man found me fuckable even though I was far too young. To this day, a catcall or whistle is met with a whirlpool of gratitude and anger inside me. The first time a man followed me four blocks to my car in the dark of night not uttering a word, I held my keys tight between my fingers. Funny, I’ve never seen a man scan his surroundings with each step, his white knuckles gripping a makeshift shiv. 

Through the fear, something deep in my bones still chants the words from bible school that I was made from Adam’s rib and should be forever grateful. I don’t think he ever forgave us for stealing a part of him. The day Adam stops trying to get inside our bodies and take his rib back—laying claim to our mascara-stained corpses—is the day that we will stop holding our breath when we walk to our cars, scaring our palms gripping keys between our fingers, counting the steps before we are under a street lamp, wondering how loud we have to scream for the closest person to hear and, finally, breathing once we are safe in our car and the door is locked. He followed her, yet we let him go free and instead teach her to be a good girl. Good girls say please and thank you, good girls cross their legs, good girls smile, good girls cover their shins and elbows; we learned far too young that too much skin can mail you home to your mother in a body bag. 

But my body will no longer be collateral damage in your never-ending fight between you and your god. We have grown a thick skin, we have calloused our hearts to the sharp words and whistles that cut through the air, we learn to not cower but stand tall. Yet my prayer is for the future. Let our children not grow up afraid to walk alone, let them no longer require a weapon just to walk to their car, let them never know how it feels to have the life drain from your body when you realize you’re backed into a corner, may Adam no longer feel incomplete, may Eve no longer suffer at his hand. 

So today, may she reclaim her body and finally find peace. I am not yours. I am your neighbor crying across the hall. I am the six-year-old girl adult men will wink at saying “She will be a heartbreaker one day.” I am your mother walking to her car. I am your best friend whose name is spelled wrong on my coffee cup because the barista couldn’t look up from my cleavage. I am your daughter asking, “Daddy, am I beautiful?” And I am Eve wanting to finally be set free. I pray today we start to heal the wounds of our daughters with the lessons we teach our sons. 

Based in Los Angeles, California, Kyrsta Morehouse is an emerging bisexual poet in her mid-twenties. While her main career is as a celebrity makeup artist in film/TV, she is quickly making a name for herself in the world of poetry. 

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