Little Lady

When I was little,
Barely beginning to walk through the world
Grinning as I skipped and jumped and played
You called me "Little Lady" and grabbed my hand
A pretty word, I thought it meant the world
So I listened when the world told me what Ladies do
What they look like, speak like, act like
As I grew, I clung to the title like a drowning man grasps for air,
I pursed painted lips, covered my laughs with my hand,
Crossed my legs and held my tongue until addressed.
Inside, I thrummed, I hummed, I sang
Under the layers of my dress, the layers of my skin
My heart did as it pleased.
You'd be surprised how well the word Lady
Teaches little girls to lie better than the shouts
Of men, teaches us to hide.

Now I am large,
Old enough to recognize youth and lack thereof
Reveling in new found freedom and recoiling from familiar fences
You call me "Child", you snap my leash
You growl in confusion when I unbutton the collar
Of a fairytale dress, and step through the gate.
I may still paint my face and swish my skirts,
Control the way my lips betray my thoughts,
And plot and plan as I see fit,
But now I shout my melody out loud.
I am a lady in form and figure, measure and might,
Where you told me to whisper, I roar
Where you told me to flutter, I soared
Take your titles, mother dear,
I don't want them anymore.


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