This is not poetry;
it is an address to women that dim their shine that they might be bearable to the sight
For those women, who dilute themselves that they might taste “better”.
For those women who, like beautiful cubes, shave their rough edges and sandpaper themselves to fit into round holes.
Indeed, this is for those women that bend
And break and adjust to fit.
Are you not tired making your self-reduction
a balm to soothe society’s fragile ego?
Are you not tired of sacrificing your happiness
on the altar of people?
People that add more yokes to your pretty shoulders
to ensure you are enslaved to what they think you should be?
Whom they think you should be?
How they think you should be?
What they think you should be?
You are going to smear that lipstick on your beautiful lips,
even when you know it is not just you.
Graceful woman like you will walk around town like a toddler in that four-inch stiletto, even when it is not your style.
As pain wracks through every part of you,
while sitting under the sweltering heat of the drier,
the hairstylist smiles at you through the mirror as a sign of camaraderie.
She knows your pain.
It hurts, oh, it hurts, but you are strong, and so you endure.
“After all, I suffer worse pain every month,” you say to console yourself.
How has your life become one of constant bending?
“I can’t take this job,” you say as you turn down that offer.
You are scared to earn more than your lover
– of course, you have to tone down yourself
lest your lover thinks you are not submissive enough.
Not girlie enough.
Not feminine enough.
You should not be too strong lest you pay for your own funeral
– no husband, no kids.
“I have to get married,” you say as you draw the curtain to end that love affair that lifted you to the heights of ecstasy
that made you soar
that made your body speak
“I don’t do that thing anymore,” that lie echoes in your head as the memory of everything scripture has said is decadent
sinful plays in your head, haunts you,
lies in bed with you every night.
For how long would you tweak yourself?
How long would you deny your desires?
When will you give up pleasing people that don’t care about your pleasure?
Nne, gwa’m, When will you stop this nonsense business of tweaking yourself,
contorting yourself to fit into a mould created by people?
People that do not truly care about you?
People that derive pleasure from judging you?
People that would rather see you broken than shinny?
Tell, me. When?