By Emily Aguiar
Every woman I know is like a little pot of water, set on the stove top. Barely boiling, the little bubbles rising to the surface, clinging to the edge of the pot, and then popping away as quickly as they appear.
Each off-color remark, each catcall, each grope, each mansplainer, each instance of abso-fucking-lute ignorance from a man, each unwanted pet name, each bro-y networking event, each time we’re spoken over– is like a hand turning the dial up, bringing the water to a slow simmer.
This is mostly where it stops. Where the hand stops turning, where the fire stays steady. We are hot enough – just at the right temperature to cook vegetables or make a stew or rally behind campaigns for men who makes promises to us that they’ll never keep in office.
Our anger, our rage, our heat is just enough to be useful at this point. Just enough to feed a man, or lift his policies, or inspire the kind of change that is palatable and not too scary for the masses. We are just angry enough to be useful but still tame enough to be controlled.
So they – men, society, even other women – put a lid on it. The heat is there, keeping them warm and fed and supplied. But anything more, any new heat, any outside influence is a threat. The lid is there to protect and contain.
But do you know what happens to boiling water when you put a lid on it? When the steam has no where to go? When there is no chance for an exhalation? When the heat is trapped and keeps circling in on itself? When the sisters suddenly blink free the veil over their eyes and look at each other and say “this is so fucked up, we should be screaming, why aren’t we screaming”?
The water boils over. The heat cannot be contained. The water bubbles up over the rim and splashes down onto the flame and the fire fans up a little higher. The boiling water has the capability to burn – the food, the movement, the hand that reaches for the dial. If left unattended, unaddressed, un-remedied, the rage will ruin the entire fucking meal, the entire fucking campaign, the entire fucking man.
So don’t put a lid on my or my sisters’ rage. Let me scream, let me thrash, let me kick, let me throw it around, let me weep, let me encourage others to do the same. It is the only way I am letting the steam out. Turn down the dial. Stop your microagressions, stop promising to fight for me and then forgetting me when I am no longer useful, stop assuming that the opinion of a white male voter is more important than the women of color putting in the fucking work.
Let us let off the steam of exhaustion and take away the heat of injustice. Or we will boil over and burn your house down.