I am supposed to be decente. Mami said I have to be a lady. I am supposed to speak when spoken to, agree, smile, love, lay and take it. I cannot be vulgar and loud. I should not stay out all night. “Las mujeres que andan de noche son bagamundas.” I am not supposed to be sexy, unless I am ‘buscando hombres’. I am supposed to cook, clean and care for the house. How dare I have dreams? How dare I have an opinion? “Y esa boca tan sucia?” I am supposed to be okay. Nope, there’s nothing to talk about. I will and can handle it on my own. I am supposed to ignore the eyes of my sisters, the ones burning with a story. Stop talking about it, de eso no se habla. I’m supposed to shut up. No one is supposed to know you went through it too. Ridiculous, how we share an unspoken story. “Las mujeres decente no hablan de eso, eso le pasa a todo el mundo y ya deja eso”. In silent woman tongue we are all victims, we might as well be one. We all fell to those hands. We couldn’t believe it happened to us. But we came from him so we must be his, punto. I am supposed to be submissive. I am supposed to be the yes, go to person. I am supposed to oblige to all the bullshit. Nod along. God forbid I have something to say. I am not supposed to rise. Just sit and be pretty. “Sientate, calladita te ves mas bonita”. I am to be over sexualized. How dare I orgasm? I am supposed to have a man take care of me. I am supposed to take his bullshit. I am supposed to be feminine and cute, frilly and pathetic. I am supposed to accept my role. I am not supposed to ask, why?
Why? Why? Why not?! I am so tired of sitting pretty. Why teach me to clean myself, how to shave and keep myself looking right if I can’t enjoy it. I can’t enjoy my long beautiful black hair? Why? It’s mine. Twirling it causes people to stare, but I don’t care. I take damn good care of it so I do as I please with it. Cuidado con los hombres? Really? I have to watch myself because men do not know how to act? Because they have no self control? I am supposed to watch my behavior so I don’t stir the pigs. Hazme el favor! I am simply tired of it. Yo no naci para ser decente. Esa vida de mujer de mi casa no es para mi. I am human. I love me. Why raise me to be strong and independent if you are going to try and pump the brakes on me. I just don’t get it. I can be a bad ass bitch but to a limit. Cuidado si te quedas jamona. Seriously? I am supposed to fear being single. Mejor perra y no pendeja. I was not born to bow down. I am too powerful and greater than that. I love and live to love not serve.
Decente. Descent. Yuck the word makes me vomit in my mouth. I wish I could be proper. I wish I could. No, really. I wish I cared about ironing, setting the table, standing strong next to a man, etc. But no, I am more than that. I want to stand proud. I want to reach my full potential. I was not born for an oppressed life. I can’t imagine sitting pretty and quiet. I will take the name calling and the bullshit no problem. I got this. I developed a backbone along the way.
Why raise me so brave? Why teach me to be independent? Why educate me if I am bred to stay home? Yes, I am a little vulgar but damn I’m not about that sugar coating life. I have gained so much from my honesty and pure heart. I have the best friends on the planet. My team is tight! I can’t follow the rules. Mami you are strong and almighty. What is this fear for me? That I am a bit much. That I say what is on your mind then you laugh because you can’t believe I said it? It is okay Mami. I got me and I got you. No worries. I am my movement and in a league of my own. I stand strong. Together anything is possible. I was raised to be a leader and I will be a leader. De esto si se habla. I am tired of looking at women in the eyes and seeing the same damn story. I am tired of hearing it. I want women to rise Mami. Why do I have to do it? Because I am the perfect woman for the job, I am not afraid. I am burning alive from the inside to get the movement going; I know women are ready.
Copyright © 2015 Vanessa Pardo
Connect with Vanessa via her Blog Heroina XII
Vanessa Pardo is a Dominican Ecuadorian woman, from Washington Heights. She is a Brooklyn College graduate with a Master’s degree in Education. Vanessa began performing in venues throughout the New York City area in April 2013 at Women in Creative Rebellion. Since then she has performed in Sankofa Sisterhood, East Harlem Cafe, Capicu!, Canvas of Words, an art and poetry showcase and Nuyorican’s Poets Cafe. She is currently working on her first book as well as empowering women as a Self-Love Coach. She believes dreams do come true.