When you taught me …
Say please, to say thank you, to be grateful, to be polite.
When you taught me to always smile, to speak softly, to help,
to at the very least offer, to save a seat, to give up a seat.
When you taught me the importance of clearing my plate…even the bits I didn’t like.
You never told me why. You said, one day I would know and to at the very least try.
You never told me that you were preparing me for a world where I would often feel like an outsider. You never said that my manners would set me aside from othersYou never said that I would be given a beautiful glimpse of humanity through the glassy eyes of strangers.
When you said sorry every single time, whether right or wrong,
And when you never left me wondering,
When every teenage row was completed in minutes,
When you never let me sleep on angry words,
And you never slept on them yourself,
You never told me why. Never sat me down declaring that it was your way or the highway.
You never told me that my strong whisper would command more power than any raised voice or that my sorry would one day break my heart over and over again as I battled internally with the concept of being too kind, too forgiving. You never told me some people will never be sorry and will happily sleep on angry words. Neither did you tell me that what others perceived as a naive weakness was in fact my humanity and that there would be days when I would feel so very alone in my beliefs.
When you told me to stand my ground and that what ever my belief was, let it just simply be a belief in something. When you said two wrongs do not make a right,
don’t use that language with me young lady
who do you think you’re talking to in that tone?!
You never told me why. You just said treat others the same way you want to be treated. This was easy, I wanted everyone to treat me the same way that you did.
But you never said some people would demand my respect based on title alone without true ownership and that no matter what I did I would never receive there respect in return. You didn’t tell me so few had a basic understanding of the fundamentals of adjacent pairing. You never told me the lengths some people would travel just to save face (positive face; negative face, autonomy face, fellowship face, competence face.) So many faces that need saving in a society self absorbed in a vortex of mirrors.
You never told me why. You never told me that some people had only darkness inside of them and that these people would do all that they could to strip away my light.
You never told me why,
but each and everyday you showed me why.
Karen Hayward © 2016