How to be a Woman

In honour of International Women’s Day, a re-post of a poem I wrote a while ago.  Here’s to every strong, independent, talented, compassionate woman I’ve ever had the fortune to know.  Especially my daughter, who continues to teach me how to be a woman.


So, be sad

I know you hurt.

So, be sad.

You could seethe and rage until the pain bleeds out through your eyes, like acid, eating away at your flesh until there’s nothing of you left.  Except, of course, the thing that hurts.

You could scream and fight and take a match to every last petrol-soaked thing that is good in your world.  You could take everyone down; forcing them to get a taste of the poison you are drowning in. Because if everyone’s ruined, then nobody is, right?

But when you’re stood in the wasteland of your life, amidst the derelict lovers and the ashes of the souls you sacrificed in the name of … what?  that hurt will be the only thing that survived.

Stop fighting, Love.

If it hurts, be sad.

Let sadness take you.  Invite it in like a welcome friend.  Let it seep in through every pore and make a home in your bones.  Let it fill you so full that most people won’t even notice, except the ones with sadness in them too.  They are the ones who will tell you that your melancholy eyes are the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen.

If you’re hurt, be sad.  Because one day, once that pain has burned itself out, the sadness will have slipped away without so much as a goodbye. And you’ll forget to remember it was there… at least for a while until you stumble across something it left behind.  But even then, it will be fleeting.  An echo of a feeling.

My love, don’t you know… nothing lasts forever.

So be sad.

It won’t destroy you.

Only you will destroy yourself,
if you seek to escape it.


Don’t Call Me Beautiful

I see how it really is.
It’s not simply the size of my waist,
or the curve of my breasts
that don’t measure up to your idea
of beautiful.
Your judgement goes far deeper than the skin you
taught me to hate.
You picked away at me,
pointing out all of the ways I was not enough,
until I believed you.
But my insecurity, you said, made me
even more unattractive.

It’s not befitting of a lady to be strong;
those provocative opinions and that wilful independence
would never bring me love.
At least that’s what you told me;
and there was nothing pretty about my vulgar mouth.

But you failed to silence me by
making ‘beautiful’ my most valuable
yet unattainable commodity;
a way you could dismiss me
when I wasn’t what you thought I should be.
Go ahead.
Ignore what I say.
Reduce me to the sum of the skin I’m in.
Let your jeers and taunts
drown out my voice.
Laugh at me. Dismiss me. Insult me. Put me in your box.
But know that I will never be shamed into submission.
Because I’ll never be as concerned as you are,
with how I look.

No, I’m not beautiful.
What ever made you imagine I aim to be?

I’m not beautiful,
I am so much more than that.

You’ll never know my worth.
It’s in the places you’re not looking.

 – K.W