They Were

They made fun of me
for playing with dollies.
So, I hid them.
Got tough.
Played baseball like the boys.
In order to make girl friends,
I had to become like a boy.

I didn’t want to be them.
Girls were weak. Girls were mean.
Girls were victims.

Later, I wore dresses. Long ones.
With tennis shoes. And hooded sweatshirts.
That was wrong too. I looked
like a girl. But the wrong kind.

I didn’t want to be them.
I was taught that girls
who showed too much skin
were “promiscuous”. Or “asking
for ‘it’.” Or “desperate for attention”.

I wasn’t one of them.
I became one of them.
I had to be one of them
or be eaten alive.

I dressed for occasions.
“Modest yet fashionable.”
Too many times
it still felt like too less.

Oh, the things men did to me
while I wasn’t even wearing
a dress.

It never made a difference. My breasts
gave me away. I couldn’t fool any of them.

I was a girl.
I was a victim.
I was weak.

I grew up. Got tough again.
I became a “strong, confident
and independent woman”.

It was too much for them.
The girls and the boys.
Rising above their insults
is how I spent my time.
I learned the ropes that they
tightened around me.
I feared I would never break free.

It still didn’t matter. It still happened
to me. I was asked if I “allowed it”.
I started to believe I did.
Because I was a woman.
A victim.

Boys are mean.


© Jennifer Patino (September 23, 2015)

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