Hidden in Childhood #poetry #childhood

I am going to share a spoken poem with you. This is a first for me. Recording my voice to share my poetry in a public way. Why did I choose this particular poem to share? It was recently published in an anthology called Hidden in Childhood, which is a collection of more than 100 poems by different authors compiled and edited by Gabriela Marie Milton.

A few days ago, I discovered that Boz Bozeman had chosen my poem, “The Girl Who Should Have Been a Boy” to read aloud during a poetry event. Thank you, Boz. I’m not sure I can express how much this impacted me. If someone else can speak my words, I realized, so can I. If you’d like to hear my recording, you can listen to it here:

If you are curious how the poem came about, I will give you a brief history. To put it succinctly, I was supposed to be a boy. My birthfather made this clear before I was born, and my mother shared it with me often when I was a child as an example of his rejection. When I was became a child of my stepfather’s, my being a girl became his disappointment. He did not shy away from sharing it with our family, or people we met.

Thus, I adopted the rejection of not being a boy, and never quite feeling like I could be loved by my two fathers because I was born into the body of a girl. I became convinced this was a primary reason my birthfather gave us up, and why my stepfather gave us conditional love. My sister and I spent many hours trying to pretend we were the boys he wanted, pushing toy trucks in the dirt, watching him working at his workshop…but they were not happy hours.

I imagine this poem has a more universal truth to it. Many, if not most, of us have experienced rejection for not being the way someone else, or society, would like us to be.

26 thoughts on “Hidden in Childhood #poetry #childhood

  1. I enjoyed listening to you share your poem with us. It made it more meaningful. I have never understood the medieval attitude of some men when it comes to daughters. Fortunately, my dad was delighted that I was born a girl and although he went on to father three boys after me, I was always the closest to him. I know this is not always the case, as your words demonstrate.

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  2. That is so sad. Why can’t people accept others for who they are? And for you this is not a hard ask as you your external self is the internal, at least as far as being boy or girl goes. Son or daughter, you were a child, a miracle of life in a largely lifeless universe. You were, and are, who you are supposed to be – you – not anybody else. Anyway, thank you for sharing.
    I do like the poem and like your reading of it, A while ago you posted an interview that you did. Your voice was different than I expected, but in a good way. We all have a hard time with our voice (I hate mine!). I am glad you are using your voice to express your Voice πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you, Trent. I wish people were more accepting, as you do. The world would be a vastly different place if this were the case. Sometimes I think we’re getting there, other times it feels like we’re going backwards in a hurry. I’m so glad you shared your thoughts, though. I do wonder if most of us don’t like our own voices because they tend to sound quite different to us when we hear them coming from just the outside of our ears.

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      1. I think in many ways society has moved forward in being more accepting, but I also think a lot of individuals are even more vocal in their wanting to be back in that much less tolerant place.
        The voice we hear in our own head is very different than what we hear when we are recorded. My voice seems much thinner and higher than I expect. But I am learning that many of my favorite male rock/pop singers have even higher voices than mine, so I guess I should get over it πŸ˜‰

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      2. I do hope you are right that it’s a small, but loud percentage of our population holding onto the archaic ways. I mostly think so too, but at times I lose hope. Also, you have a nice voice. I hope you grow to like it. πŸ™‚

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  3. Aletha, a beautiful poem and made more special with your emotive reading. ‘She could have been unbroken.’ How sad to ve rejected for not being a boy and these final words sum up the pain you endured. Congratulations on being included in this formidable and important collection of poems – a fantastic feat! xx

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