2021-2022, Poem, Writing

Girlhood

Girlhood
Sarah Feng, '22

I thought that growing up would be beautiful,
That it would be a blossoming of my life, the start
Of everything that I am, that I will be.
But girlhood is violent and bloody, it’s the harsh
Wind blowing in your face, reminding you that the world
Wants you dead.

“You have stolen my dreams”, I didn’t know my future was already dead
When it was given to me, packaged as a beautiful
Shining promise, “you can be anything, you have the whole world”
But I know better now, I know that the minute you start
To do anything, to speak, to act, the world you were given turns harsh.
It kills you for simply trying to be.

“You were born a woman and you’ll never be
That free.” My destiny is to be hunted, always dead
Last, dead tired, found dead on the side of the road, the harsh
Fate of so many women whose crime was being too beautiful,
Or not beautiful enough, or just daring to start
A life of their own choosing, to create a place in the world.

Cause it’s a crime now, to want a new world
Instead of this one, that won’t ever set them free, won’t ever let them be
Anything more than a start
With no finish. Girlhood is when she grows up and finds out that she’s dead
No matter what she does, a bitch, a pushover, weak, too loud, never beautiful
In her eyes, because her eyes aren’t her own, they’re the harsh

Judgment of the world, of men, of her sisters who strike her down with harsh
Words because they don’t know that she’s not the enemy, that the enemy’s the world,
The one they were born into, the one that tells them they have to be beautiful,
When all they had to be
Was alive.

Girlhood is anger, depression, resignation to the start
Of adulthood, to the fact that the minute they become women, no, before then, the hunt for their dignity starts.
Who will save me from being consumed by the world, the harsh
Unending bludgeoning of my soul to my death?
How many girls have to be sacrificed to satisfy the world,
What do we have to pay to make sure our daughters can be
Their own heroes in a life that’s truly beautiful?

Girlhood is growing up. It’s letting go of that beautiful dream where graduation is a beginning, a start,
And arming yourself for what will be the fight of your life; a bitter, harsh
Reality, but not in vain- for a world that would have let us all live.