Within patriarchy, I am vulnerable. I live in an assigned female at birth body and I cis identify as a woman. My pronouns are she and her. I absolutely hate that these simple facts make me vulnerable. I have attempted over the years to pretend I was not prey. In my 20s, I liked to imagine that I was in fact a powerful wolf on the hunt myself (likely after reading Women who Run with the Wolves the first time and not really understanding any of it). I taught myself how to grab predators by the throat and rip out their jugulars. And for some reason after these fights, I always felt more bloodied and utterly devastated myself. This result was because in reality I was a bunny attacking wolves! A ferocious little beautiful bunny, yet I was still a bunny and I am lucky that I only ended up being raped and not killed by the US Marines that discovered me traveling alone in this mindset. I could have easily been left for dead on a highway in Baja and no one would have known for a long time. This was never a fair fight because I went into this interaction with these two highly trained men naively thinking we were on equal footing. I was not thinking like a little bunny because I completely refused to believe I was one. I saw wolves, two wolves, and no kidding, I thought in my naïve bunny head, I got this. Run away didn’t even occur to me until it was very much too late.
Now bunnies have excellent sensory function and fast legs for a reason. They are prey animals. Within patriarchy, women are prey. And, in my youth refusing to own the totality of my vulnerability cost me dearly. I thought if I simply refused to believe myself prey, I no longer would be. How I wish simply believing ourselves safe could be the solution to the hostility and murder of women worldwide. Now in my 40s I despise the fact that I am still culturally prey 20 years later. And that over the past 20 years, another generation of women younger than me are now forced to reckon with this same gross reality. Though much wiser than I once was, I awoke today prey in the current state of patriarchal affairs and it drives me nuts. What do I do with this knowledge?
I am certain other feminists would vomit in their mouths if asked to think of themselves as bunnies. The word bunny applied to a woman immediately conjures up the Playboy mansion and its years of condoned abuse. There are good reasons it is extremely uncomfortable to think of ourselves as prey. Why it is important to teach our daughters, sons and inter children this patriarchal story of prey and predator is because only in recognizing and admitting that this horrendous tale continues today is there any hope of changing the story and the outcomes.
So as much as I really don’t love it: Today, I am standing fully in loving awareness and proud of my bunny wisdom. I am a listening long-eared soft and tender critter who was given these articulate senses for a reason. Yes, I have teeth and I have fast legs that are always going to be wayyyyyy more likely to keep me alive spiritually, physically, mentally than my teeth. I give myself full permission to move away from ANYTHING that feels unsafe to me. This is my elder bunny wisdom. I don’t love being prey and yet I get to know and own the vulnerability that I am.
AND, I’m going to keep fighting for the possibility of moving beyond being prey in my lifetime for myself, for you and for your children. I would love the opportunity to get to playfully and safely be any assortment of selves.
Today my prayer is specifically this: May all women be free. May all women know peace in our bodies. May all women move in complete physical, mental and emotional safety in my lifetime.