LET ME BE

A lusty cry heralded my entry
A slap on my tender bottom
and I was born – a girl child
some rejoiced, some did not

I have only known walls
be it a crib or a playpen
and later the walls of my
first home- my parents

Let me be free I cried out
in vain silently, as both
parents began to live
vicariously through me.

I was dressed to suit them
Given toys that they both
liked and longed to have
when they were children

All their pent up desires
and aspirations were now
imposed on little me, even
though I wished to be free

Silently I thrashed about wanting
to fly away unfettered like the
carefree sparrow on yonder tree
Chirruping gleefully in the sky

Then after all the ignominees of
transition from childhood, to
puberty and then adolescence
I finally reached majority

Now my walls were replaced
by other walls peopled by others
Married, I foolishly hoped to
fulfill all my pent up desires

My naivety was  soon dispelled
as I was expected to tow the
line as dictated by new others
and my other half- better half?

Let me be, I cried again silently
and after becoming a mother
I relived my dreams through
my children and this cycle continues…

When she stopped conforming to the conventional picture of feminity she finally began to enjoy being a woman. -Betty Friedman, The Feminine Mystique, 1963

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