Once we are born
We are ascribed labels
It’s a boy, or it’s a girl.
It’s a girl.
So you buy the pink sheets and shoes
And tell her to cross her legs and act like a lady
Anything else is taboo.
She carries this quiet into her adolescence
While growing into a woman’s body
To which people leer at and critique
Wishing to mold and shape
As their needs seek
Our bodies are supposed to feel like sanctuaries
In which we can frolic, explore and play
But feeling safe and free in my body
Is a reality so far away
I am trying to unlearn all the stories
That make me pick myself apart
See my curves as reminiscent of beautiful mountains
Rather than wishing them flawless and unmarked
I’m trying to find my voice
In a world that prefers me silent
Trying to carve a home for my body
In which I can feel strong and not just pliant.
I’m trying to shatter these glass ceilings
Even if I make just a crack
For my mother, and her mother.
For my sister, and future daughters.
For the women fighting battles I would never think to experience
With mother tongues different to mine
And eyes filled with traumatic scenery
But the pain in our hearts entwined.
Once we are born, we are ascribed labels.
It’s a girl.
So I hold her very close and whisper
There are some things people may say
That are untrue
You are so strong and beautiful
Your voice is not to be excused.
Let your presence take up space
Let your struggles not go unspoken
For you have a community of women around you
Urging you to reach for life with arms wide open.