Heather Pearson lives in Edinburgh and tells stories about womanhood, relationships and place. Heather is currently writing her first novel and blogs about creative living, politics and identity at Wordathlon. Heather was shortlisted for the 2016 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award and has various short-form works published, most recently with Scottish Product Magazine and the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre in Somerset.
A dangerous woman turns an unseeing man’s mattress into upward pointing sharp nails. The nails wake him in the night as he sweats and pants and begins to know the skin of his privilege.
A dangerous woman knows the crop circles in the contours of harvested flesh beneath her skin. People wonder at the crop circles and look to the sky for aliens.
They needn’t look so far.
As a child, the dangerous woman sees the hysteria of her culture passes for righteousness because it is a parasite spreading fear through calm propriety. Change, her culture says, grows like an irrational tumour in a uterus lined with the dangers of modern times. Women not yet dangerous take out their kitchen knives to perform the surgery of men who hang like snarling terriers from the way things were and are and should still be.
Women at checkouts, men with tape measures, family and teachers and people at bus stops all chant the stories of her bubblegum coloured cage. In turn, everyone calls other cultures hysterical, failing to see their own silent scream painted on a fitted sheet stretching over the edges of a small nation. Sectarian sub-worlds, church bake sales, STD vaccines for girls and not boys, STV boxing for men decorated with leggy, female jewels to signal decadence over violence. Electric gates made from Panama bank accounts and ladders poking up from private schools kept hush for the animals more equal than other animals.
A dangerous woman hangs out her washing on Sundays in the Hebrides, teaches the language of consent, walks back without applause to the conversation she could leave well alone and says, ‘this will not do’. A dangerous woman disowns the perception that her morals lie shattered at her ankles when she goes to bed in sheets kissed by the freshness of air that’s hers to breathe and use as she pleases.
A dangerous woman laughs loudly, pushes and pulls change through uncomfortable tunnels of reiteration and is a goddess portal through which your mind must climb to reach the higher ground you thought stood green beneath your feet.
A dangerous woman studies the shame that came in the buy-one-get-one-free of mandatory experiences when misogyny muted her and finds it belongs to someone else. A dangerous woman stops the trickling traditions of patriarchy passing from the mouth of one generation to another by standing in the way of it at the doorway to her home. A dangerous woman’s bones absorb then repel the X-Rays of limitation sent to illuminate her on screen as just a skeleton, sending them back to echo in the shallow souls of their perpetrators.
A dangerous woman nurtures her body as a library for the encyclopaedia of her experiences, wit and word. A dangerous woman keeps herself in the world, present and out of the soil for as many decades as she can. A woman, once dangerous, is everlasting. Her words and actions live after her death, dancing in alchemy with time, guiding other women to the floor as they begin with the music of knowing themselves.
A dangerous woman sees the monoxide haze of it all, throws a match and does not stay to watch the long transition to ash. A dangerous woman’s time is precious; she sees a blank canvas in gardens where hate is a thorned and flowering vine. Turning blinkers to chattering spiked with cultivated outrages of cowardice and binary contemplations, the universe connects with a dangerous woman by her sternum. Inside a dangerous woman the business of incantations weave, bliss short-circuiting intermittently from her pelvis, her lips, her breasts and her eyes.
A dangerous woman sees other women. The first are the ones she will thank. The second are the ones she will help.
A dangerous woman’s life beckons onlookers to an uncomfortable seat. With latching and detaching interest, she watches to see who among them will raise their hand to ask for better conditions than she stands in. She counts the small number secure enough to bear uncomplaining witness and nods at them each in turn – they are her lifeboats, she is their precious cargo.