When Growth Becomes Change: A Learning Experience


UC Berkeley
Room 614A
College
Finally here
The day you’ve spent the past
Twelve years of your life working towards...

You unzip your suitcase
Finally settled in
excited...
Yet, you feel odd,
Complacent
An unsettling feeling
You move towards your desk
Opening your journal...
Three words
“Growing..Changing..Learning”
And you remember...
You hate change
From the minute you moved out of your brother’s room
To the day you turned 18
And officially moved out
An “adult”
By society’s standard anyway

But
Change?
Always inevitable
An omnipresent cloud of doubt and dread
That loomed just ahead…
Beginning
Elementary school

The moment you went out to recess
Tether ball court
And the boys said you can’t play with us
“Cause you’re a girl,” they sneered
And it shows
Frankly
More particular than most
And from then on,
You blamed and shamed
All signs of
prospective new growth

5th grade
Teacher called your mom
Because “she coming of age and she needs bigger bras”
Embarrassed to no end
Can’t help but feel mislead
Puberty ain’t no gift, but a curse
For that day
A label tarnished your name
Grace became “BTG”
“Big tittied Grace” as the boys say
Considered a prize
If they fit just enough shit in your bra without you noticing
But you noticed
And noted that it wasn’t just the boys, but the girls too
The ones you thought you knew
Should know best
Yet, couldn’t understand and hurt you
In the process
Screw recess

Just a kid that didn’t understand...
Never understood why it mattered so much
Why people glorified and sexualized
Two lumps of fat on your chest
That continued to grow and grow and grow
Despite every attempt to make them stop
Diet plans, corsets, girdles, work out plans
Nothing was enough
And with them your thighs grew and expanded
Stretch marks
After failed attempts to disband them
Branded onto you

And you hated them, you hated your body
A spectacle for your “goods”
Not your looks because to them
You became Sarah Baartman
An outcast
A sexualized being but never “sexy”
A coming attraction
But never attractive

You couldn't realize
and claim
your thighs as your thighs
and your breasts as your breasts
And your chest heaves
to think that you believed
Yourself
an unattractive being

You didn't see yourself
Really see yourself...now
How your body curves
And accentuates your worth
Your free
At least to some degree
And coming to terms with it
Still
Still cautious of what you eat
Keep your head down
When passing men down the street

But what less discrete
That growth
Physical and mental
A catalyst for change
Whether bodily or environmental
You don’t hate change
You fear it
Feel it
In every sense of the word
As you reminisce about the past
Hopeful this feeling won’t last
Grateful
Of the growth that lead to change
Because you still have yet to learn from it

Grace Adeyemo

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