Because when I was a small girl, my daddy,
the daddy I loved and loved and loved,
told me that little girls couldn't play in the mud,
and yet he insisted that my little brother,
little five year old Michael,
play with the bugs and stomp in the mud
while my mother and I made sandwiches
under the protective shade of the tree.
Because when I was just blooming into my teen years, my daddy,
the daddy I loved and loved,
said, after casual dinner conversation,
“Shut up and clean the table. I'm tired,”
when my mother tried to punish my brother for cursing at her.
Because when I got my first boyfriend,
a chubby boy with pimples and really long hair,
and I wanted to tell him about what happened that day in middle school,
“Cool story, babe. Now go make me a sandwich.”
As if I didn't hold any of his interest,
and I was only there to look pretty
and make sandwiches.
Because when I was sexually assaulted,
by my chubby, pimply, long haired boyfriend,
my father asked me what I was wearing,
instead of asking if I was hurt.
Sometimes pain isn't always a bruise
or a scrape on the knee.
Because when I told my father what I was wearing,
a t-shirt with a witty quote and short shorts and sneakers,
my daddy told me,
the daddy I was losing faith in,
he told me,
“You were asking for it, dressed like that!”
I didn't ask to be raped.
My clothes didn't ask to be ripped.
Because when I told my father I was accepted into a university,
he told me,
my dear, sweet, daddy,
said, “Good luck with that, honey.”
And brushed me off as if I were a fly
that was buzzing too loudly in his ear.
Because of the fact that I am a young woman,
the fact that I have different chromosomes,
is enough for my father to berate me,
yet praise my little, chubby Michael.
The fact that I am a young woman drives me,
like the fact that a car has gas
can drive it over a cliff,
and I am willing to go that far.
I am willing to drive off of the cliff
of gender roles
and fall into the rainbow pit of education
to achieve my dream of equality.
I am willing to go to great lengths
to show my daddy,
sweet, dear daddy,
that I am more than just
a clothing item that can be ripped,
a heart than can be broken,
a sandwich that can be made,
a mouth that can close at his bidding.
Sometimes pain isn't always
a bruise on the arm
a bump on the head
a scrape on the knee.
Pain is equality.
And my education
is what can equalize me
to everyone else.