I live to defy what you taught me.
"Girls are weak"
I received the message. I rejected it.
With my chubby arms, the arms of a child, I picked up the table, twice my size, and carried it across the
wherever it needed to go.
I basked in adult adoration of my strength. My sharp look scorching all who dared to offer assistance.
Kindness or a sense of superiority- motive be dammed.
I've grown up with the world as my witness.
I've learned to never ask for help.
"Girls are emotional"
Emotions are a weakness, for you think of girls as weak.
I must not be weak, for the world is watching.
And so, I've locked in the drawer of my mind every troubling thoughts, every emotion.
They are still there, unreachable. Rotting.
I grew up to be numb.
I grew up to be a hypocrite.
I would preach about the health benefits of crying. I would be horrified to listen to myself.
Forbidden to even share my passions by my own brain.
I'm a mess-
at the same breath.
One is the lashing out of self defense,
The other is a painful admittance.
One is happily uttered when they catch my face,
The other is shamed and condemned.
I've grown up strong in every toxic sense of the word.
In my pursuit to defy what you dictated for me, I live my life as you dictated for yourself.
If the facade will ever go, it will not shatter nor dissappear.
If I will dictate my own life for myself, it will take as long as the rebuilding of the world.
This is a poem about the affects of sexism and toxic masculinity on young afab people.