First off, let me say that I love my parents, and I'm especially grateful to my mom for what she's done throughout the years. My parents raised us girls to be feminists in the very natural, "well, why not?" sort of way.
However, I think that giving me a print of this poem for my 13th birthday fucked my psyche in a way that I'm still processing and I really, really wish she'd just given me a Thighmaster.
After A While
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open,
With the grace of a woman,
Not the grief of a child
And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After awhile you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
In stead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers
And you learn that you really can endure...
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth,
and you learn and learn...
With every good bye you learn.
Veronica Shoffstall 1971