Dear Mrs Kimberly Kardashian West,
2006, January. It’s one of our most important holidays and I am in our mosque, somewhere I’ve always felt safe. I had put on a headscarf and been branded a woman; I didn’t know it that morning but I would come to find out later that day. I wore tight jeans, dark blue that felt like silk but later would feel like lead. They were old and matched my beige shirt. It was rather tight, but it didn’t feel like it was that morning, it was just a shirt.
My mother’s car was stuck in the snow and we were desperately trying to get out of the spot and get home. I ran to where the men usually hung out, my cousin would help us. He wasn’t there. The men asked me who I was looking for and when I told them they laughed and asked if maybe I meant them. Their comments went over my head, I wasn’t looking for them I was looking for my cousin! Why were they taunting me? More things happened, things I think I’ve blocked out. There are black spots in the memory, like ink spots on a picture.
Without a warning, or I don’t remember the transition between before and after, but I was yanked by my mother pushed into the car. She didn’t say anything. I sat in the backseat and her eyes stare into mine through the back mirror. She continued to say nothing until I started crying. I hadn’t done anything wrong, my mom wasn’t mad at me, but there was an understanding made in that instance. I’m a woman.
I’m a woman.
The phrase still tastes like bile in my mouth.
We got out of the car, me and my mother, and pushed the car out of the snow. Just me and her, two women. But something changed after that night, I started dressing in baggy clothes, I gained a lot of weight, I stopped shaving my legs and batting my eyes and doing all the things that felt natural for me to do. I stopped doing what I liked to do. I was scared of being seen, of being taunted again. I didn’t know it at the time, although I felt it, I had been in the lions den and my mother’s yank saved me from their teeth.
Their teeth. Them. Let’s cut back to you for a second, Mrs Kimberly Kardashian West.
2007, February. Kim Kardashian’s sex tape gets leaked.
2007, October. Kim Kardashian stars in reality show with family.
2010, November. Kim Kardashian releases autobiography Kardashian Konfidential with sisters.
2010, December. Kim Kardashian is branded worst singer in the world.
2011, October. Kim Kardashian splits with NBA player after ONLY 72 days!
2012, April. Kim Kardashian starts dating rapper Kanye west.
2013, June. Kim Kardashian’s divorce is finalised.
2013, June. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West welcome daughter North West to the world.
2013, October. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are engaged after major spectacle.
2014, November. Kim Kardashian West breaks the internet.
2015, December. Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West welcome son Saint West to the world.
2016, October. Kim?
I’m a woman. The phrase still tastes like bile in my mouth, but not as much as before. Thankfully, because it could have been much worse, I grew up to learn that how we dress, how we express our bodies, are our own. Women of my culture wear gold bracelets to their elbows. Our feet sing with gold when we pass you. We are not made to feel lesser for what we have. We worked hard to dress ourselves and our families. We are allowed to feel pretty. We have the power to break the internet. You taught me that last one.
It pains me, deeply, when I see someone from your family say that it has been a wakeup call. I just want to scream, NO DON’T CHANGE YOU’RE PERFECT. I’M A WOMAN AND IT DOESN’T TASTE LIKE BILE IN MY MOUTH WHEN I SAY IT. I’M A WOMAN. YOU’RE A WOMAN. WE ARE WOMEN. THE BLAME IS ALWAYS ON THE ABUSER, NEVER THE VICTIM!
There are so many things I want to tell you. Despite not knowing you, I want to tell you many things. Because we have that one shared experience, being women. We are all targets of abuse, whether it be physical or verbal. Women are always inferior to men, historically. Until Kim Kardashian. Remember who you are. Remember yourself like my kids and their kids and theirs will remember you. The face of a new generation, of liberty, of female empowerment, of confidence in our own bodies.
It’s midnight, I’ve been home for a while but I’m wearing dark blue jeans. They used to feel like silk then lead and now they’re back to silk. It took a long time for the reversal to happen, but it did. It took time for my wounds to heal. It took time for me to remember all that happened that night 10 years ago. But I recovered. You will recover.
You might feel bile in your mouth. You might feel like you’re in the lions den now, surrounded by sharp teeth and hungry eyes. But God closed the jaws on the lions and Daniel was found blameless before Him. The lions won’t bite you, they’ll circle and growl, but they won’t harm you. You’re blameless. You’re a woman.
I’m a woman. And thanks to you I can say that with a little less bile in my mouth.