girl

girl
say a prayer for this girl
no time to cry, dressed in pearls
rest your bones in this case
you deserve to convalesce

a little broken, misunderstood
never could say what you should
you have forgiven, you’re at peace
no more sins to burden your back

regrets, you have a few
but there’s nothing you can do
wave bye-bye, give a kiss
grab a ride on a spaceship

the walls are broken down
and I am a woman now
girl, you were my chrysalis
I had to die to live again

Am I a Feminist or not?

Created during WW2 as a morale-booster, it has been adopted by woman as a positive message of our abilities.

Created during WW2 as a morale-booster, it has been adopted by woman as a positive reminder that we can accomplish anything.

Am I a Feminist or not? It’s not that I’m very keen on labels, but it’s something I’ve wondered about myself. I don’t believe anyone is absolutely one “thing” or another. We’re all filled with contradictions and have many layers.

I can tell you this. I am very glad I was born in the ’70s. Many brave women came before me and helped pave the way for my freedoms. I am not considered property, traded from father to husband. I can vote. I can take birth control pills. I have control over my body. I can travel alone. I can go to college. I can get a job. I don’t have to be a secretary or a housewife who stays at home mopping floors, burping babies and making every meal for a husband who just expects it. I can divorce my husband if he mistreats me. In other words, I am considered a human being.

(An aside: For those women who choose to be secretaries or stay-at-home moms, I salute you. Both are tough jobs and very important. I’m just saying we have choices now. Hell, I’m a teacher and that’s a very female-dominated field that was once an only option for females. I teach because it’s my calling. I chose it.)

I like men. I love men. I’m not offended when someone compliments me on my appearance (unless it’s, “Nice rack!” or something similar). Although I am clearly capable of opening my own door or putting on my own coat, I love chivalry and frankly, I think it’s just good manners. I will admit, I’ve not been treated that way for quite some time, so I have to get used to chivalry all over again, and am taken aback when a man does open a door for me (and I like it). I don’t know, I guess some parents just didn’t teach their sons to do those sorts of things for women, or some men may be afraid to open doors in case you are a Feminist. But, yeah, I like being treated like a princess. Put on a pedestal. But not locked away in some tower. I want to be adored, but I also want to be seen as an equal. I want to be admired and respected by my man. I can keep up quite nicely with any conversation, thank you, and enjoy verbal sparring and witty remarks and lots of laughter. I don’t expect someone to agree with everything I say or think, but he should respect my views. I don’t enjoy being ignored or dismissed. That’s not cool. I’m a romantic and I want to be with a romantic man. Part of romance to me is a man being chivalrous and protective.

When I say I want someone to be protective, well, it’s hard to explain, but you either get it or you don’t. I don’t make it a hobby to walk into the wilderness filled with bears and expect my date to be wielding a machete and a shotgun to protect me. Perhaps it’s more a state of mind. I want to know someone has my back. That he will defend me. I want to hold his hand or for him to offer his arm. I realize there are some men that might act like that because they believe the woman is lesser or isn’t capable, but there are plenty of men that want to protect the woman they love and still respect and adore her.

Listen, there is no argument that men and women are different. That’s a good thing in my opinion. I can’t be a firefighter. Not because I’m female, but because I’m diminutive and not really fond of getting burned. But, I’ll tell you, my friend Linda could kick down any door in one try and haul 3 grown men out of any building. I’ve seen some men walking around who are not much bigger than me, so I would suspect they aren’t firefighters either. So, it’s not about the sex of the person, but about the ability. Women should receive equal pay for equal work, no question.

Though possibly not always true, women have to work harder to get to a top position in a company. Many high-powered women are viewed as bitches. I think you have to be tough to be in any high-powered position; you are making many critical decisions, it’s stressful, fast-paced and you have to “manage” those below you, which can mean reprimanding or firing. Are these women really bitches? Well, unfortunately that’s a term some people use for a woman who is difficult or overbearing or tough. Men are supposed to be that way; not everyone is used to a woman being like that.

We’ve come a long way, baby, but of course sexism still exists. I stayed up most of the night last November biting my nails hoping a candidate who didn’t support politicians who say things like “legitimate rape” would win the election. Scary stuff.

I am strong, I am able, I am smart. But I like (non-sexist) romantic, chivalrous men. I do advocate for equal rights for woman. Does that make me a Feminist or not?  Whatever label sticks, I guess. But I am a girl* who knows what she wants.

* I like being called “girl.” It makes me feel younger and it’s cute. And, besides, if a man calls you a girl or sweetheart or darlin’ to be condescending, who cares. That’s his problem. This sweetheart knows she’s no shrinking violet.

Cookie jar poetry

My mother wrote poetry. Lots of poetry. I guess the muse struck at odd times because she would often write on gum wrappers, napkins, envelopes, bills, old movie tickets, recipe cards, notes home from school and on the back of photographs. I was too little to actually remember her doing this, and I suspect I may be the only one that knows this happened. How do I know she wrote poetry? Because she hid her poems all around the house. From the time I was about 5 and could read semi-fluently and comprehend tenuously I started find them.

The first discovery was in our cookie jar. My father was at work (as usual) and there was our Cookie Monster cookie jar, staring at me from atop the refrigerator with that goofy, drunken smile on his face. Since my mother had been gone there were no longer homemade cookies (they came in bunches after she first was gone, brought in by my aunties and neighbors and ladies from church; but just as quickly as the bounty started, the visits suddenly stopped). Now, my father would buy generic brand cookies that were supposed to be like the real thing, but were always a little off. Chocolate wafers with cream filling, vanilla-flavored rounds and crunchy chocolate chip delights were the best we got now, but they were better than nothing.

I did my little climbing maneuver of pushing the kitchen chair next to the counter. Then I stepped on the chair and carefully put one foot and then the other onto the slippery counter (my mother? or maybe grandmother had taught me early to NEVER wear socks when climbing because they would surely make you slide off and break your neck). Finally, standing on my tiptoes, I carefully removed Cookie Monster’s head and slipped my tiny hand into the jar. I felt around blindly, touching crumbs, one cookie and a piece of paper.

Of course, my main concern was the cookie. I snatched it out and set it on top of the refrigerator. I picked up Cookie’s head and was ready to fit it on it’s base, but something made me pause. I can’t really explain what it was. I had figured the paper I had felt was part of the wrapper of the bag of cookies, but something in my tummy told me to grab it. I sat down the head and stood on my tiptoes again. I searched around the crumb-filled jar and caught the slight paper between my thumb and forefinger. I breathed out, set the paper next to the cookie, placed Cookie’s head on, grabbed my two stolen goods and carefully climbed down from the counter to the chair.

I munched on the vanilla-flavored cookie as I pushed the chair back to the table with my belly. The paper, which I now saw was a torn off corner of a sewing pattern, seemed useless. I was annoyed that I went to all that trouble. But, then again, I thought, why would that be in a cookie jar? I stuffed the rest of the cookie in my mouth, sat down and turned over the torn paper. On it was beautiful, perfect, light-as-a-feather handwriting. My mother’s handwriting. She had written:

He was trying to steal my heart

But he went by way of my head

His words brutally injected with a drill

He broke my heart, made my mind fuzzy

And I never saw clearly again.

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