When I was four, the world taught me what it was too be a woman.
I needed long hair that flowed and curled and shined radiant in the light.
I needed dresses and skirts and floral shirts,
of yellow or pink or red or peach,
these are the things the world did teach.
When I was seven, the world taught me what it was to be a woman,
Cross my legs be quite and calm smile always and say yes mam,
Always be clean, no mud, no worms, no running no sunning
no speck no hair no tales to share, for I should always
look radiant and fair,
this is what the world, chose to share.
When I was ten, way back then, the world taught me what it was,
to be a woman,
Wear high heel shoes, and fish net tights,
stay up doing my hair till at least midnight,
Lipstick and mascara and a rosie blush
the world used to whisper, this is what to do…
cover your beauty with products so lush.
When I was twelve,
when I was sixteen,
when I was twenty
the world taught me what it thought, it was too be a woman,
I had to follow not lead, sleep but not dream
smile but not scream,
It taught me to hide behind a costume of sorts,
to never reveal my inner thoughts, to smile and laugh,
because that was my place, I had no ticket for the real race.
being a woman, means not being free,
this is what the world, taught me.
When I was four, my Dad said, it’s just bloody
hair that grows on a head.
curly or straight short or long,
it’s just bloody hair,
there is no right or wrong.
When I was seven, my Dad said,
as I built pies in the mud that covered
smile and be happy, shout and scream
do as you please,
just never be mean.
My Dad said, back when I was ten,
dress to please you, but never the men,
You don’t need lippy, mascara or blush,
you’ll get there, there’s no need to rush.
A real man loves what hides in the heart,
don’t be an actress playing a part.
When I was twelve, my Dad said,
jesus christ what ya done to ya head,
No soft curling rolls, or radiant hair,
jet black, he said,
they’ll surely all stare. He smiled, but you
do not care.
When I was sixteen, My Dad said,
be careful out there the world is mean
listen to me, i’m old i’m wise and all this I have seen.
Wear what you like, but wear it with pride,
this is your life, you’ve a ticket to ride.
When I was twenty, my Dad said,
I always knew, you’d get ahead,
not scared to be you, there are but a few,
the power was coming the women were new.
This he said, he always knew.
Karen Hayward (C) 2015