From Foetus to Woman

(Audio recording included)

We were foetuses when they mapped out our lives
some of us would glide through birth canals
break open wombs
announce our arrival in bold wails
we were born protesting
then to be shushed at entry
and later made to believe our voices mattered little
some of us in luckless transit
trips cut short in detour to non-existence
ubiquitous culture guards
denying our admittance
and barring our descent with sex-selected foeticides
we were infants when they dressed us in expectations
some of us showered in a labyrinth of pastels
coaxed to carry subdued flags
or coated in pinks, glittery sequins and lace
that would later grace our wedding trails
some of us never made it to toddler-hood
swaddled in acrylic blankets
our tender bones and marrow crushed in dumpsters
through sanctioned infanticides
we were girls when they told us
to cross our legs and lock our thighs
till our ” beloved” found the key
or a thief broke in to steal the prize
we were still girls when they warned us
to laugh in small doses
to walk on tip toes
shrink and fit
into crevices where spiders could not hide
we were still girls when
some of us brushed the hairs of dolls
where some of us braided responsibility in neat cornrows
upon our younger sister’s crown
while we fed, and bathed the boys
lathering away our childhood into
the roles we were forced to assume
because we are ” nurturers”;
we are ” carriers”;
we are vessels for humanity;
we are ” caretakers”
we are told
some of us were probed and poked
without our consent
by those who told us to cross our legs and lock our thighs
and when we asked why
they hushed us once again
covered our mouths with stinging nettle
and sewed the gaps with thorns
to later penetrate it with force
We are not born
rather we have become women
riddled with the fallacies of ‘ought’ and ‘should’
continuously knitted into a fabric of archaic norms
that some of us remain shackled
to the fate of female foetuses
agreed in our absence
drawn without our sanction
stencilled before we were conceived
and yet we are forced to carry its weight
some of us chisel away
the heavy granite covering who we were born to be
wishing we were alabaster
but we are caked in years of conditioning
many cracks and fissures
demanding strenuous effort
to carve out an exquisite piece of art
but now that we have grown into
now that we have taken the role
now that we have become women
we are the sole bearers of what that becoming can mean
we can rewrite our stories
transform the landscapes of our narratives
define and redefine
what it means
to be a Woman!

~ Billene Seyoum Woldeyes (May 7th, 2017)


Love & Light


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