A deep-space posting would be just the ticket.
I could get used to striding purposefully without really doing anything
Through a labyrinth of lookalike corridors.
And whenever the stains on the
Endlessly-unfurling beige start to get to me
(And I imagine that even a starship carpet doesn’t look its best after collecting the detritus of a thousand synthesized snacks)
I could always descend to whatever world
We happened to be hovering over,
Crunch somebody else’s styrofoam landscape underfoot,
Beam back refreshed from my power-walk to face the music.
I may not be much of a team player, but the away part of
Away team sounds nice.
I can dress the part without too much effort.
Spandex …. expands.
When I beam down, no one there will remember me from before.
They’ll think I’m supposed to look this way.
I can be intrepid, defiant, enterprising,
Rescue races of children through grandstanding,
Delegate, not micromanage.
Make up the duty roster and review performance, not
Interminably instruct on the finer points of protocol
And polish everyone's boots myself.
Confine me to quarters.
Send me to sickbay.
Grant me shore-leave.
Put me in the brig!
Just don’t …. put me in charge of this mess.
Okay I'll admit it:
I'm only an armchair captain, for whom
The course is already plotted
To the playroom at twenty hundred hours,
When the lights dim and it becomes the den.
The rump-sprung sofa beckons and I install myself,
Flanked by my crew, who start the night watch with me there
Though morning always finds them in their beds.
How they get there is anyone's guess.
Onscreen, before the aliens appear, there's always,
For a moment, my reflection, framed
By my own command decisions:
The crew complement,
Though assigned by a Higher Echelon, yet
Freely chosen by me;
The equipage I eagerly assembled, now
Tumbled, torn, scribbled on, yet still recognizably
The destination for which I embarked.
To hurtle endlessly through uncharted space
Is the choice of those who do not wish to
“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”*
I’ve always been aware of gender conditioning and actively tried to combat any lingering prejudices or stereotypes in my own parenting, even down to encouraging dolls with my boys when they were little. It’s great to read people writing about gender issues they’re experiencing with their kids. For too long these subjects have been discouraged or silenced. I’d love to publish some more creative writing on this topic, especially if you are struggling with a child who actively tries to move away from gender normative preferences. A society where everyone can be themselves – thanks Gloria for those aspirational words.
* Gloria Steinem