Love is in the air, and Polyester carries on our LOVE WEEK feature with this poem by Eleanor Alice Hurley, on how ‘Purple Girls Inspired Me to Be a Woman’
Purple Girls inspired me to be a woman,
After tireless disappointment, uncertainty, a disassociated glance in the glass,
Running a race where I was always four miles behind,
Because boys in class could contribute their thoughts without previously engaging in a ceaseless inner monologue about whether their contribution was worthy,
About whether they were worthy.
A voice is only half distinguishable when it sounds beneath water,
and a girl’s voice is drowned by the voices of boys that stand in better stead than them from birth, and then grow up to put girls down further,
inadvertently chipping away at the self-worth of the females in their lives because they unconsciously fear the potential of a woman in later life.
Purple Girls raised me up,
After the relationships I shared with boys in my adolescent years tore me down,
And I felt my vulnerability slip from the grasp of my once steady hand,
Purple Girls rebuilt me,
When I foolishly allowed myself to trust once more, and once more after that, and then again, they built me back up, selflessly and expectantly and without the need for me to ask.
They encouraged me wholly when I decided to focus on myself,
When I decided to stop watering the seeds of doubt I’d allowed boys to plant and decided to grow from the soil that women had laid for me, with its perfectly purple pH balance and its commitment to my self development.
Because the only time my body became too alkaline or too acidic was when I allowed it to be disrupted by the northeast arrow that stems from a circle.
Purple Girls existed to me in all forms,
They were my mum and aunt,
They were black female rappers from Chicago that told me there was no essence of womanhood, and showed me a woman can always do it just as well, if not better.
They wrote to me trapped from their yellow wallpapered rooms, and the land of Herland where they lived in their perfect solitude.
They were three Pakistani sisters and cousins that showed me power and beauty every day in equal measure and in all its forms.
Purple girls dyed blonde streaks in the front of their hair and forced me to keep the flame of my potential alive, sometimes with words unspoken,
They showed me that the healthiest and most fulfilling relationship I would ever share was with myself.
Purple Girls learnt to crochet hats and capitalise off the narcissism of the very boys that tore me down.
They took me on their transitions into authenticity, they danced for me on stages, and in bedrooms and in kitchens and once again defied the notion that any universal essence of womanhood could ever exist.
Purple Girls shaved their heads without wavering, they took the false notion of beauty that had been sculpted by the imaginings of men and left it, hacked up with love, on a towel, on the floor of an Air Bnb in Amsterdam.
Then they took their pen to paper and illustrated a new image of female beauty, this time in the vision of purple excellence.
Purple Girls told me their own stories of growth,
Of how they left home and realised the magnitude of their own intelligence, and returned with the knowledge that there would be no settling down, for settling down seems to perpetuate the myth that girls do not deserve to thrive and grow.
But Purple Girls are not a myth,
they exist in every corner of the globe, in every profession, in every industry, in every society and under every governmental regime.
They exist as an unrecognised movement, an undercurrent in the waters, with the sole aim of growing each other up, because in a world of antagonistic competition they are realising that women are a stronger force when they grow together.
Purple Girls inspired me to be a woman.
Eleanor Alice Hurley