WHILE LISTENING TO MY MOTHER
By: Jiboni Gloistein
While listening to my mother I learned to always turn off the lightOn your way out.That she’s always right,That I should always inviteOthers to come over.And over and over againI learned that “salamat” means thank you,And you always say thank you.
While listening to my motherI learned “Girls don’t sit like that.”“Girls don’t speak like that.”“Girls don’t act like that.”In fact, I learned like thatFor a while.I learned to always smile,But I was tired of being “like that.”I learned to despise fat,That I should rise above that.While listening to my motherI learned that I should alwaysBe burning off those extra carbs,Turning away from dairy,And dare I saySweets. I hear her sayEverydayAs I weigh my optionsThat “It’s okay,You’ll walk it off later today.”She laughs to the waiter as I orderLike I have a disorder.Like I should have a fear of eatingThat’s greater than her fear Of having a fat daughter.
While listening to my motherI learned that body hair is unacceptable—It’s not fair butYou can’t be respectable if it’s there.I learned that“It’s tank top season.”And “You’ll thank me later.”I’ve never had the heart to admitThat her ideas of what’s best for meMade me start to hate her.
While listening to my mother, I hear my own voice“Just keep trying.”And“You’ll find the right guy.”Became natural in my vocabulary,Made me fluent in the lieI started to believe.I try and try to be right,But I’m just deceiving them,No reprieve for me So I can provide it for them.I don’t see what this stems from,The fear of just telling them,Instead of selling this kind-of-me part-of-them.
While listening to my motherI learned that I couldn’t go to therapy.It would socially jeopardize me,It would be utterly embarrassing,For me.She didn’t want thatFor me.
My mother taught meAbout the importance of what you earn,The dangers of sunburn,The consequence of concern.
But when you speak to your children,Think about what they may learn.