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essays

Radiant, joyful power

At the United State of Women Conference in May 2018 in Los Angeles, our new Vice President Kamala Harris talked about being a joyful warrior. That idea thrilled me.

I love the idea of a joyful, celebratory power. An unobstructed graceful fullness that creates things, that does not break them. A radiant power without limits. A power that activates talents, voices and energy. A purely female power. I’ve been working on an essay about the heritage of my own power. Here’s a bit of it…

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Denim nostalgia

Is it too soon to think and write about things that seem less important? Things like beautiful clothes, about fancy earrings, about how red lipstick doesn’t pair well with a mask? Finally getting my hair cut in September re-ignited the vanity that’s lain dormant within me for months! Meanwhile, I recently finished an essay called “A Girlhood in Color” about growing up, described in five fabrics. Here are two segments of that essay . . .

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essays

What’s good?

We’ve been living with pandemic restrictions for a full six months now. In California, I’m guessing, we’ll be in lockdown for the rest of this year and into the next one. I feel like a fish adapting to breathe in brackish water – not swimming in the clear, clean water of normal life, but not tossed about in the cloudy, roiling surf of pandemic panic either.

Facemasks feel normal now, choosing what to watch and read every night has become a quiet pleasure, makeup no longer matters . . .

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essays

Can a woman survive without her carapace?

I’m nineteen years old. I’m wearing a floral dress, singing How Beautiful Are the Feet from Handel’s Messiah for my Mormon church congregation in Los Angeles on Easter Sunday. This aria is high, it’s slow, it requires precision and purity. There’s no place to hide. I am terrified through every breath, but once the piano starts and everyone is looking at me there’s nothing to do but keep going until I finish. So I sing. And then I walk off of the dais, sit down in a pew at the side of the chapel and burst into surprised, uncontrollable tears. 

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When things fall apart

As I write this morning, I’m listening to mournful Max Richter music and thinking about what it means to be alive now. The tectonic plate shifts in the first months of 2020 broke apart “normal life” all around the world. Here in America the virus forced us to confront the economic inequality and health disparities that lay beneath the way our country works. George Floyd’s murder was the tragic catalyst that opened millions upon millions of eyes to the racism that was embedded in America’s DNA before there was an America.

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essays

That mood indigo

It was 1984. I was 21, home from college on spring break, wasting time with my two brothers on the dilapidated brown sofa in the family room, watching MTV in the middle of a bright afternoon. The videos were just background noise until I heard the laid back perfection of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Cold Shot”. Those opening guitar licks took hold of me in an instant.

The overwrought 80’s video production barely registered. It was the sound. Something buried, nameless and dark in me latched onto those notes and would not let go. I didn’t know that my heart had been waiting for a translator that could speak its wordless language, waiting for a way to show me the silted sorrows that dwelt layers down in my soul.

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About Lisa

Lisa Poulson, a voice in favor of the complex beauty of female power, was once a tech industry badass, a grieving almost-widow and a faithful Mormon all at the same time. Now a writer in San Francisco, Lisa writes about grief, love and the complex beauty of female power.

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Lisa Poulson is the legal copyright holder of this blog. Contents may not be used, reprinted, or published without written consent.

About Lisa

Lisa Poulson is a voice in favor of the complex beauty of female power, the descendant of fiercely resilient Mormon pioneers and a woman who survived the death of her fiancé four months before their wedding. Lisa lives in San Francisco, where she spends her time absorbing and creating as much beauty as possible.

Join the conversation on Instagram!

Reminder

You are reading of your own will and choice. How you read, act on or don’t act on what you read here is up to you.

Reassurance

While lisapoulson.com does use cookies, which helps us understand how you engage with our site and where you’re from, we do NOT save your personal information - like e-mail, name or address. And, if you join our mailing list or comment on a post, we will not share (or sell) your contact information. We are not responsible for commenters or other third parties here.

Clarity

Lisa Poulson is the legal copyright holder of this blog. Contents may not be used, reprinted, or published without written consent.