To Be a Woman

I first learned what it was like to be a woman 

When I was 10

And the men who were supposed to be my mentors

My teachers 

My figures 

My preacher

Told me that I was going to be a fine young lady when I grew up

Which was fine

Except they looked at my thighs with lust in their eyes

 

I learned what it was like to be a teen

At 14

And I bled through my jeans 

But I didn’t know what to do 

Because according to the school

Talking about menstruation was considered to be “taboo” 

 

I learned what it was like to mature 

In grade 8

And suddenly I learned to hate

The state 

Of my mind, my body, my weight

“My how you’ve….grown”

That Christmas, I never ate

 

At 16

On my keys, the color of green

Pepper spray

(As a gift!) Now that I’m driving alone 

Of course, as I was told

Don’t be out too late on your own

 

But I have also learned 

That I shouldn’t be wrong 

For speaking about the things that have made me strong

Because I know 

My strength, my beauty, my pride

Are what define me 

And help me know what it’s like

To be a woman

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My country

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