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  • MARY BARGHOUT

On Being The Artist


“We reclaim that same energy, that beautifying clarity that women possess

that has had us burned at the stakes, stoned to death, sexualized to sell

automobiles. We manifest creation through the language arts.”

Suheir Hammad


It hurts differently when

The people closest to you are the first to plant

The fence posts of your enclosure


You write (or draw, or paint or record)

You do not get married in your 20s

Like any good daughter should

They view you as a shame

And tell you about it too


You become a threat


To a fragile continuance

A worldview, a mindset

Outdated though it may be


Part of you will always want support (you bury that part)


Praise over critique

Support over suspicion

You will look to your chosen family

Only to find more struggle there too


None of the artists you know

Make their livings on their art alone


You will live that too


Your successes will feel few and far between

The struggles and weights of familial

Judgment and exclusion

Will feel like the only constant


You will wonder if it’s even worth it


Worth all the strenuous efforts

For such minimal rewards

Such rare victory in your chosen craft(s)


Maybe you should just get married,


Get the pre-approved degree

Get comfortable with the walls and tracks

That others have deemed acceptable

For a good Egyptian daughter


To finally get some sort of recognition

Approval

Resource sharing


But maybe not


Maybe such early life exposure

To your own spine

Will embolden you later


Will flesh out your own resolve


Maybe the heart of the beast you are becoming

Can be made strong

Through this


Maybe in learning the shapes of your strength

You will one day be able to return

To the small sounds of your softness


Maybe your softness is

The most courageous

Thing in the universe



MARY BARGHOUT is a mixed heritage Egyptian American reader and sometimes writer who is currently on a Star Wars universe kick. Her work has appeared in Mizna, Azeema Magazine, Saint Paul Almanac, and online at mixedmag.co and at therumpus.net.





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