The One I've Been Trying to Write

This is the poem I’ve been trying to write about how hard it is to be a woman but the words aren’t flowing out like they normally do and I wonder if it isn’t because I’ve been taught to be quiet 
about the things that matter.

This poem is for my parents, constantly shushing me when my voice becomes frantic at dinner, a wildcard daughter who has the audacity to care about politics, another murder by a racist police officer, 
or even why I choose to eat vegetarian.

And I wonder if it isn’t so much my liberal opinions that bother them 
but the fact that I choose to voice them.

This poem is for my boss, kissing me in my car after work, my lips bowing to his, because this is what he wants. And us girls are so used to giving, so used to pleasing, 
no matter the consequences.

Because isn’t that what we’re supposed to do, as future mothers? 
Give, give, give, don’t worry about ourselves.

Give our bodies, give our savings, give up our careers, 
give up our dreams,

while our husbands become CEO, drinking themselves into a nice beer belly body and we read gossip magazines that shame post-pregnancy bodies and cut out tips from fashion magazines urging us to push ourselves work our bodies, lose that extra tummy fat 
that we didn’t ask for.

This poem is for all the little girls at Disney with their princess crowns, dreaming about nothing more than growing up and finding their Prince 

This is for believing that every woman has a Prince Charming, the belief that 20 years later makes excuses. Maybe he is our Prince but he drinks too much, talks too harsh, 
hits too hard.

But it’s okay because this is what we’ve dreamed about all our lives. Someone to call our own, or rather, someone to call us their own. Someone to give us a new name, a new identity. 
Because that’s the power of a man.

Make him fall in love with you, give you his name, 
and you will be a new woman.

Make him your first time, he will have taken something precious, 
and you will be a new woman.

This poem is for the drunk man on the street who cornered me in an alley at midnight while I was leaving work. This is for feeling prepared because I always grip my keys between a 
clenched fist.

This is for streets being a warzone, 
female bodies on guard for sudden attacks.

This is for cans of pepper spray because a good defense is always 
better than eliminating the offenders in the first place.

Because what fun would it be if there were no offenders? Because that’s all this is, of course, 
just men having their fun.

The girls on the street, at the party, at the bar, 
we’re all just play-things.

Our bodies are commodities, things to be had, and men have been taught to fight for what they want 
while women have to ask nicely.

This is why there are more men in office, more men CEO’s, 
more men rapists.

Men don’t take no for an answer. 
Women expect no to be the answer.

This poem is for me. This poem is for you. For all the girls who have grown up to believe that the other girl is the competition, who will grow up unwillingly harboring hate 
in their bodies instead of love.

For all the women who are trying to unlearn the things they were never directly taught. For all the women who are told they are not really women but still experience the negative side-effects 
of identifying with the female gender.

This poem is even for all the men who were taught to be monsters, taught to be macho, taught to never cry, never think, 
never feel.

This is the poem I’ve been trying to write. This is the voice I’ve been trying to claim. Hear us. Listen.



Amazing. Thank you for writing this because I certainly couldn't have. Maybe that's why it so important that you did. 

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