If the world gave us acceptance instead of expectations.

I wonder

would we have all of this tragedy

if society

did not enforce its unforgiving constructs of gender upon us

My parents did not force it upon me


I felt it in society

Don’t do this, don’t do that,

sit like a girl, cross your legs,

Oh, but not too much

Open them enough

so that the boys will like you

But not too much

Or they’ll call you a slut and shame you

Only boys can be rough

or love women

or be strong

And girls must wear skirts

and play nice

Don’t think twice

just do

and be

and talk

how they want you too

It was appealing to this ideal that ruined me

I was lost in notions of fitting in

when I was born to stand out

But the pressures put on girls don’t end when we become women


They become so much harder

more insidious and insistent

until we become shadows of our own souls

A mere memory of the women we could be

a pale wisp of potential

a feeble ghost struggling to stand in a glaring spotlight

Rise now, dear ones

Cling to the strength that stirs inside you

You are not their expectations or ideals

You were not born to comply

To become a representation of some shallow, plastic ‘beauty’

You are wild and gentle

fierce and fascinating

strong and soft

The live-givers of the world

Sisters and star-seedlings bringing light

to a dark sky

Rise now, dear ones

Like the sun greeting the dawn

Like the moon greeting the stars

Because despite what the world may say

your potential

awaits you.

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