I dedicate this poem to my 2 daughters,
If you grow up the type of woman men want to look at,
You can let them look at you.
But do not mistake eyes for hands or windows of mirrors.
Let them see what a woman looks like;
They may never have seen one before
If you grow up the type of woman men want to touch,
You can let them touch you.
Sometimes it not you they are reaching for;
Sometimes it is a bottle, a door, a sandwhich, a Pulitzer, another woman;
But there hands found you first.
Do not mistake yourself for a guardian or a muse or a promise or a victim or a snack.
You are a woman;
Skin and bones, veins and nerves, hair and sweat.
You are not made of metaphors, not apologies, not excuses.
If you grow up the type of woman men want to hold,
You can let them hold you.
All day they practice keeping their bodies upright.
Even after all this evolving
It still feels unatural;
Still strains the muscles, holds firm the arms and spine.
Only some men want to know what if feels like
To curl themselves into a question mark
Admit they do not have the answers they thought they would.
But some men will want to hold you
Like THE ANSWER.
You are not THE ANSWER.
You are not the problem.
You’re not the poem, the punchline or the riddle or the joke.
If you grow up the type of woman men want to love
You can let them love you.
Being loved is not the same thing as loving.
When you fall in love,
It is discovering the ocean;
After years of puddle-jumping,
It is realizing you have hands,
It is reaching for the tightrope,
When the crowds have all gone home.
Do not spend time wondering
If you are the type of women men will hurt.
If he leaves you with a ‘car-alarm’ heart,
You learn to sing along.
It is hard to stop loving the ocean,
Even after it has left you gasping, salty.
So forgive yourself for the decisions you’ve made,
The ones you still call mistakes when you tuck them in at night.
And know this,
Know you are the type of women who is searching for a place to call yours.
Let the statues crumble. You have always been the place.
You are a woman who can build it yourself.
You were born to build.