A Long, Long Time Ago

A long, long time ago

Yesterday

You were here, Dad
 My father
You and my mother were the first two loves of my life
My first teachers
Dad, you taught me everything
 
But the biggest lesson you ever taught me was respect
Respect for others
Elders
And most importantly 
Respect for myself
 
Because you taught me that if I didn't respect myself
There was no way in hell that a man would respect me
And you taught me 
A man isn't a man
If he doesn't respect his woman
 
And, Dad, thank you for that
 
Thank you for teaching me a man
Is only as strong as the woman next to him
That's right
Next to him
Not behind him
And definitely not in the damn kitchen
"Where she belongs"
 
Respect:
To show regard or consideration for
To respect someone's rights
 
To respect that no means hell no
And that my sheepishly awkward smile is not consent
Nor an invitation for more
 
To respect that what I wear is not "asking for it"
And that this body is mine
Respect that
 
Thank you, Dad
For teaching me how to respect myself
Because no one else was going to do it

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