If

TW: frequent references to domestic violence

If he hadn’t been my gaoler
Maybe I’d still be a wife
With that photogenic life
At least between 9 and 5
Because you know what kids are like
Near 6 o’clock…

If he hadn’t tried to own me
Maybe I’d still wear that ring
Finger swelling round the thing
The symbol of my giving in
To the fight I couldn’t win
Against the world

If I’d got to keep my body
Maybe I’d still walk those halls
With their off-white painted walls
And their scratch-resistant floors
And their lever-handled doors
I chose myself

If he’d been somebody different
If he’d know-n how to love
I might not have… “given up”
I’d still have a smooth-shaved cunt
Not leave the house without makeup
Cos I’m a… woman…

If he hadn’t been a monster
I wouldn’t have to be so grateful
For escaping something dreadful
With three reminders of my downfall
Not their fault they bring back painful
Memories.

If I’d stayed…
If I’d surrendered…
If I’d died.

All Rights Reserved to Cambrey Payne 2017

Strong Female Protagonist

Dear Mr Producer
Mr Script Writer
Mr Hollywood Golden Boy
Mr Good Guy of the Year

Mr I See Women As People
Mr This Is What A Feminist Looks Like
Mr Women Can Be Heroes Too
I want to thank you.

Thank you for showing us
That we can kick arse
Just like the boys
Because I needed that
And so did my siblings
Who had the dubious honour of being
Assigned
Female
At
Birth

But I want to ask you
Why did it take you so long?
Why did we have to keep asking?
Why are we always thin?
Why are we always white?
Why are we always carrying around those…
Well, you know what I mean.

Why are we always straight?
Why are we always victimised?
Because of those thin, white bodies with those…
Well, you know what I mean.

Because last time I checked
I didn’t need to be desirable
To chop off a monster’s head
Or investigate a murder.

Last time I checked
I didn’t need to be straight
Or wear my long, thick, perfect hair
Swinging down to my waist
To take out bad guys.

See, you missed a vital point
In your process of Enlightenment
You see, you made us into heroes
So you could save us from ourselves
And what you missed in your campaign
To Make Women Great
Is that we’re not all women
And we’re not all pretty
And we’re not all white
But we Sure As Hell are already Great

We’ve been heroes all along
And while I am grateful
Forever
That you helped make that visible
(After decades of us telling you)
It’s not enough to hand a pretty girl a sword
And say she’s equal.

We will be equal when we see fat girls
And hairy girls
And girls with anxiety or PTSD
When we see black girls
And Asian girls
And girls whose first language isn’t English
When we see that Assigned Female At Birth
Doesn’t always mean woman
And Assigned Male At Birth
Can mean feminine.
When we see that feminine
That undesirable
That weak and strong
Are all just as Great as each other

We will be equal when we see ourselves
Through our own eyes
When we tell our own stories
When we see our own lives

We will be equal when we see ourselves
Not “as good as a man”
But as good as ourselves.

When girl is no longer an insult

So thank you,
Mr Feminist,
For your time
But we can take it from here.

You are not my Hero
Any
More.

All Rights Reserved (text and image) to Cambrey Payne 2016. Please acknowledge sources when sharing and do not repost without original source.