I STRUGGLE WITH BEING A GIRL

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I STRUGGLE WITH BEING A GIRL
Poem by Ellie Grendon

I Struggle with Being a Girl
because when I was eleven I found blood in my pants
and was scared that the kids at school would find out. I heard
them talking about that other girl it happened to
and I saw them looking at her small breasts,
so I wore large jumpers to cover mine up.
I struggle with being a girl because when I was fifteen,
my mother told me it was a good thing that I had curves.
She said that’s what boys like, as if my body
was made to be looked at by anyone but myself.
I struggle with being a girl because when I was seventeen,
my boyfriend at the time told me that I didn’t have to shave
for him. He said that he didn’t care what I looked like
and yet had told me, just two weeks before,
that I should start dressing like a girl.
I struggle with being a girl because even now, at nineteen,
I’m scared of wearing low cut tops in fear of catching
the attention of the wrong person, like the Turkish man
who took one look at my chest and said very big, very nice.
I struggle with being a girl because I have cried alone
on the toilet, pregnancy test in hand, googling
the terms of abortion and wondering
if I will ever manage, like my mother said,
to get myself onto the right track.

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