Three things i learned from life


The prince smiles at the pauper
and he says, welcome home.
He removes her rags and seats her on a throne,
gives her jewels, buys her gowns
and drowns her in the kind of whispers
i shouldn't repeat.
These are the kinds of bedtime stories
my mother flushed down my throat:
poor girl meets rich boy
and they aren't meant to be, forevermore
pangako sa iyo, p.s. i love you, stay with me.
And Mary Sue feels like the queen of the world
but she's wrong.

17 years old and prince charming has finally found me.
He dresses me in scarves and tells me to
gives me a set of cue cards 
-- hermès, prada, gucci and kids --
of all the things and the only words I could ever say.
I thought love had more freedom than this.
I was wrong.

I run to my mother, but i can't ask her why
i have to live the next 40 years of my life
needing a man
to finish my story:
to have my children, my house
my name and myself
my biology.
And my mother won't lend me her tears
or her answers,
but she will bring out all my old fears.
Without a man i'm useless, sexless and alone.
My mother was wrong.

She told me: 1. I need to find a man.
               And 2.

In India, there is a girl
dressed in black and starlight, head to toe
with a mind so bright
it gleams.
she says, okay i want to see the world
see the light, i want to leave,
just for a little while.
so she steps out
and she screams.

There's acid on her face
and fury on her tongue
there's blood on her hands
and fire at her feet.
These idiots, these bigots
have erased her face,
scraped it off
like it was mud defacing
any other wall.
She doesn't scream.

The girl steps up to a non-existent court,
questions god, asks, what did i do wrong.
And men wear the face of god
and tell her:
You should not have been born.
And they tell her:
I will screw your mouth shut.
She doesn't scream.

In other news, it's 2015, and hundreds of babies 
          are sentenced to die because of their sex. Female.
In other news, by 2016, literally hundreds and thousands 
        of people, women, children, girls
      in UK, Cambodia, Pakistan, 
    would have seen acid poured on their bodies and lived 
  to die some other day.
In other news, 1995. Philippines. 

I was molded the day i was born
into the only form of womanhood they would accept me in.
I had the face of a venus flytrap
they cut into a blooming, thornless rose.
Prayers and promises etched onto my lips
repetition and obedience i could not understand
until it was too late.

And my self, a gift, but only the self they wanted me to be.
I had my life, but only the life they saw fit to give me.
They called me a princess but I felt anything but.

You, my society, they told me: 1. I need to find a man.
                                                        2. I should never speak out.
                                               And 3.


Our narratives are all different
but i wish they also weren't the same.
A cautionary tale, or a cinderella story:
Either you die as you are or
live long enough to fade.

I am tired of being the girl who listens
I am tired of seeing people who don't understand, write my premises
I am tired of waiting and wishing for the ending to come

I am telling myself: 1. I won't suffer any man who finds me 
                                        but never sees me.
                                    2. No burn, no cut, no shot to the face 
                                        would ever silence me.
                            And 3. This is my life, 
                                         and i'm writing my own story.

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