Formative years were more destruct
than construct; contradictions riddled
the foundation of our familial structure:
one man tyrannized five females while
in the news, women marched for equality;
called the likes of him a male chauvinist.
Aunt drove a forklift truck, looked like a man,
chalked one up for women’s liberation, didn’t
talk about her sexuality; shadow of illegality
hovering around her – no one dared to ask.
At nine, I questioned the fairness of being
born a girl in a man’s world, felt impassioned
by feminist cries, yet feared my mom would
leave the nest, abandon baking, domestics;
leave us to fend for ourselves – the warm waft
of fresh-baked goods greeting us each day, gone.
Watched my sisters flaunt their womanly ways
for virile young men who flocked to see bikini
clad bodies, ripe and tanned by the sun – who
was reducing whom to sex objects? And when
my mother’s family came to visit, why were the
men’s hands so invasive, their tongues equally
misplaced, and was this what women in the streets
were crying out against? I wanted to be free, explore
my future prospects – open road ahead – but Mother
said boys will be boys, and men don’t like smart
women, and better to drop out of school at sixteen,
get a secretarial job, and be ready when your prince
arrives – so I rebelled, cut my hair, flaunted my
intelligence, spoke up about inconsistencies,
such as why is a God a He, and why Aunt didn’t
ever date – did feminist mean celibate? and why
when women were so oppressed and men had
all the power, did my father wish he could be one?
Formative years more destruct than construct;
a deviate imprint tainting normalcy’s prospects.