What They Say & What I Show Them In Retrospect: A Poetry Series
Due to stereotypes and toxic societal standards, women are constantly dealing with close-minded thinking doubt their ability, skill, and achievements. It is the women that break those standards who inspire other women to do the same; in solidarity women are able to persevere, beyond the limiting expectations that are imposed on women.
Growing up in a household that most of the time deterred me from pursuing opportunities outside societal gender norms often meant that I had to follow these obligations and pass up chances to do what I wanted and what mattered to me. Constantly being told to “do this” and “do that” hindered any personal progress. I did not come to this realization until everything that I wanted to do or thought of was either immediately denied or accredited to another person in the room. It was in those very moments that I wanted to stand my own ground even more. It was in those moments that I took strides to build the courage to move forward and demand a change. The change that came when I used my voice allowed me to create, discover, and live a life free of societal boundaries. In this poetry series I explore the aspects of restrictions imposed on me for being a women wanting change, as well as how I broke past those restrictions that exist in today’s society with the excuse of being traditional and cultural values. I write for those who like me, live with a voice unheard for far too long and need to push towards having a carefree and resilient attitude, leading to change and creativity.
They tell me that I can’t.
I can’t do what I may please.
What may please me does
not meet the standards set.
The standards set suppress
to merely be and to hinder
progress to made on my own.
I am told by family that I aim
too high and reach for the unattainable.
Being told of expectations that are too high
comes paired with not doing enough
with what I am given.
Stuck between a constant tug of war,
a cascade of suppression of ideas overlays.
It’s either this and that then or
not at all.
Not at all describes the amount
of opportunity I was given.
The opportunity I was given
was next to nothing yet
something I had to appreciate.
I had to appreciate the restrictive
boundaries that left me no chance.
Standing in the way was my
that hindered my ability to partake
in anything that was in resemblance
of my own passion.
Being told instead to focus on what’s the
“right” thing to do and how to get there put
my personal goals and ideas
on the back burner
and led to the failure to try something
that challenged and inspired me.
I colored inside the lines.
It’s doing what’s told and being
forced to be mediocre.
Being forced to be mediocre is
something that is instilled and
With being practiced throughout
it values aged ideals rather than
progress and realization.
Progress and realization aid in
moving forward yet the twisted
perception of it is to the contrary
Being told to value ridiculous standards
that were “tradition” when in actuality
They were just ways to steer clear
of understanding a world other than
the world that I lived in
forced me to live in a bubble.
It led to me being less open and
understanding and rather mundane
and closed off.
Opposed to ideas, conformity led me to shut
out anything or any project that did not correlate
with the confined space.
It is in times of this very doubt,
insistence to preserve, and
harmful values that we have a choice.
We have a choice to adopt the mindset
or to challenge it.
The challenge lies within questioning.
Questioning the norm and acting upon
intention rather than conformity defy’s
standards and sets a precedent of being
the necessary challenger in the status quo.
I stood my ground and made clear indication
that I stood for what I stood for and
was on the pursuit to achieve what I was told
was too unachievable, and held no merit.
I stood to defy the standards placed in my way.