They think I’m normal now.
As if when I gave birth, I died.
But instead, parts of me were resurrected and reconnected.
Yes, I live in a colonial in the ‘burbs with a Beamer,
Always toting a mug filled to the brim with the elixir of a coffee snob.
They think my essence has been robbed.
They think I’ve fallen like a house of cards,
But I am mortared strong like a fortress of bricks.
I can’t out-exercise my phenotype or DNA,
All appearances of normalcy are a trick
Of a trade that I’m still learning
Awakened late at night with a poem burning
Can’t write, can’t type, can’t think
I’ve gotta warm a bottle in the kitchen sink.
They say motherhood has blunted my edge,
That my spark became a flame became a flicker became quiet embers
But I am rendered original like the timbers that made it all so.
I didn’t go – I grow.
Yes, I recall short days and long nights
Dressing wrong to get done right
Two babes by bikini cut – it’s just as tight.
But a poet mustn’t proselytize
Or assume the guise
Of boho beads, reefers of weed or the taboo need
For approval from the esoteric inner circle.
The only consent I seek
Is from God, my man and my kids;
If my soul says it isn’t right,
It hits the skids.
The rumor mill rollicks on with the chatter
The splatters a poorly mixed batter of matter -
That matters not.
I awake, drink dark and sweetened nectar
And dress in clothes that no longer feel like a costume.
I speak in the Queen’s parlance and leave an ether of wonder
When I exit the room.
This is the life of those who’ve made it through the grime
Who brushed off the statistics with a personal offensive line;
The ones with a foot in the mainstream
And a toe everywhere it means.
A wife, a mother who works
Bleary-eyed but seeing all;
A cook, a cleaner – speaking in soundbites,
at Creativity’s beck and call.
I don’t rock mics like I used to.
That’s just because I’ve got other things to do.
They think I’m normal now.
They think I’ve just grown up.
“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”*
I’ve always been aware of gender conditioning and actively tried to combat any lingering prejudices or stereotypes in my own parenting, even down to encouraging dolls with my boys when they were little. It’s great to read people writing about gender issues they’re experiencing with their kids. For too long these subjects have been discouraged or silenced. I’d love to publish some more creative writing on this topic, especially if you are struggling with a child who actively tries to move away from gender normative preferences. A society where everyone can be themselves – thanks Gloria for those aspirational words.
* Gloria Steinem