A bit dark today, but even the darkest journey can lead back to the light.
I would have had to be blind
not to learn what I did at my mother’s feet.
I learned that a woman is only worthwhile
if she has the approval of a man.
And he has the right of a Roman emperor,
thumbs up or thumbs down would tell
her heavenly success or failure hell,
that she exists to please him ever.
Give less than perfection? Never.
I would have had to be deaf, too,
not to hear what children sometimes do.
I heard the thud of flesh on flesh and cries of pain
and learned one child, no matter how she cries in vain,
will never save her mother from the beating someone thought
she must so richly deserve. The lesson taught?
Life is rough, so it’s best to be tough.
Not quite perfect? Lie and bluff.
I would have had to be as blind and deaf as Helen Keller
not to learn what I learned to stay alive:
that children, especially girls, should be seen and not heard,
that having no needs and never making mistakes
is the only way to thrive.
That girls, without some man, cannot survive.
But even Helen could relearn what she had never known:
That love can be told and lived and shown;
that touch could be gentle, loving, kind;
that she, too, could be valued for her mind;
that not everyone knew the same roles or parts;
that the only approval needed is what one finds
inside some part of one’s own heart.