Their words told me
I was not good enough.
My social awkwardness,
the kind that meant I chose to write poetry at recess,
was because I was small for my age.
Writing was going to be a nice hobby,
not something I was good enough at
to pursue as my life's work.
My more passive nature was going to hold me back
unless I learned to be artificially aggressive.
I wasn't going to be beautiful,
so I had better learn to prove my smarts.
I was not sufficiently thin
to be sexy.
made me undesirable.
My lack of children
meant I was not whole.
When I told others they must change,
I was declared whiny and difficult.
When I stood my ground,
I was a bitch.
What I hear now is
I am good enough.
I am thoughtful and creative.
I am gentler and kind.
I am intelligent.
I know and enjoy good food.
I am growing into a healthy activism.
I stand by and believe in my difficult life choices.
I do not accept others' abuse of me.
I know how to set clear boundaries.
I did not know years ago
that I could edit and rewrite
what I was told,
that I could make and remake
myself as I got old.