I wrote this prose poetry to highlight the typical plights of women and girls that I often hear and read about on the news. This poem is not a reflection of my experiences or anyone in my family.
We don’t speak about our bodies because it is indecent
I don’t know much about it so Uncle decided to teach me one day..
I’m not sure how I feel as his hands rummage round my body
I told Auntie and she called me foolish
It must have been my fault
Maybe, something I wore. Maybe, something I said..
How foolish I am.
I hold this secret in me even in my husband’s house.
This my husband is a wonderful man, they tell me.
When we are out, Oche treats me like a queen.
He holds my hand and showers me with compliments
Everyone looks at us in admiration
They tell me how lucky I am
But inside my house, they don’t know I tremble
He grabs me and throws me on the bed
You’re a stupid woman he says, as he slaps me
Don’t disrespect me in public he screams as I lay there in tears
I called the elders and they told me that marriage is a sacrifice
I have to stay for the children
I have to stay because of the eyes on me
I will carry this burden and be by his side.
But I remember the days, when I was on my own…
As a young girl, I thought I was so sexy..
But that is a bad word, I was told
I saw my body as amazing
Look at these fine long legs…
But they say, my skirt is too short..
I am very fit so I give you a peek
But they say a girl’s stomach is not meant to be seen..
They call me an attention-seeker and much worse
But I don’t do it for anyone’s eyes.
I just quite like the way I look
But they hiss and roll their eyes whenever I walk by
I decide to cover up everywhere
I love my body but it is not meant to be shown
That is when I started to hide myself.
To quiet my own thoughts..
But wait, no, I think it goes back further..
Further, when I started learning things..
I learned all about how to be a woman from everyone else
Grandma says to sit up straight and cross my legs like a lady
In class, I keep quiet because Emma says girls shouldn’t talk too much
But I study hard and get the best grades
I told Daddy I want another degree. That I want to rise to the top.
But they say, I should be calm. First, marry early and that’s the prestige…
But you already know how that story goes..
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