Manners

Manners.

The underpinning foundations

of my character.

Each brick laid,

cemented by behaviour

and a continual rhetoric

of pleases and thank you’s;

letters and notes

dictated by elders,

concerned and ruled

by the opinions of others.

Irony, the cladding

of superficial politeness.

Made to worry

about what others thought;

anxiety taught

from such a young age.

Language is never innocent.

Words braided

into the hair of young girls.

‘Be good!’

Little Red Riding Hood

eaten by the Big, Bad Wolf.

It’s wrong

to love yourself

too much.

Be confident,

but not too confident

lest others think

you know more

and judge you.

Toe the proverbial line

always.

Your reflection,

an illusion;

a hall of mirrors

obscuring yours

and everyone else’s truth,

making you short-sighted.

You overlook yourself,

blinded,

yet continually reminded,

that being good enough

is something to aspire to.

Being, always

just out of reach,

that idyllic beach

photo-shopped only,

in the pages

of glossy misinformation.

I was you…

The end goal,

their sole goal.

A shallow life

bereft of real soul.

They ask,

what it is like

to be old.

To be a postscript

to their prologue;

their ink soaked dreams.

These girls count

their age in fractions.

Eager to experience everything.

To wear it fast and loose.

 

‘Whatever…’

 

Blind to their

own beauty.

Individuality main-streamed

A Selfie redeemed

social popularity.

I was you

I tell them.

I was every uncertainty,

every weight,

the hormonal fate

of alien limbs.

Contorting my will

to hide my ignorance,

through a detached indifference.

Perfection is flawed.

I assure them.

I was you,

before I became me.

She stood in her own way…

She was an innocent child

Full of hope, full of dreams

Not yet tainted by others

Nor involved in their schemes

 

She loved being silly

Being carefree in life

Unaware that her learning

Was just other people’s strife

 

As a good girl she listened

Never wanting to be rude

Adopting the methods of others

Far too young to be shrewd

 

People pushing and pulling

Saying who she should be

Cast a shadow on her senses

Preventing her to stay free

 

She conformed to their wishes

Wanting to make others proud

So she kept herself small

Remaining part of the crowd

 

She stood in her own way

Blind to all of her needs

Feeding other people’s dreams

Never sowing her own seeds

 

Then the tide started turning

Others didn’t know best

With resolve she looked inwards

Seeing all she’d repressed

 

Peeling away many layers

She saw her inner truth

That she knew all the answers

And reconciled with her youth

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