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.