Who controls my life

my dad always told me
to change my clothes
and wear something more "decent"
when someone would come over

"why", I'd always ask and get scolded
"they're men", he'd respond
"so are you", I'd say, hoping this logic would suffice
he never had a response for it
he'd just raise his voice and tell me to
do as I'm told;
that I'm not old enough to argue.

dad, i ask you, with all sincerity
if I'm not old enough to argue
or old enough to know what's right
tell me,
why am i old enough to be sexualised
by my own family?
to be sexualised for wearing things
that i want to wear?
to be sexualised for showing the tiniest bit of skin?

maybe, instead of doubting my judgment,
you should doubt yours
for inviting such people over;
people you can't let your daughter be around
people who might sexualise a 17 year old
people who you yourself are scared of
people who might wanna hurt your little girl.

tell me, dad
why should my life be controlled
by the ill intentions of others?
tell me, dad
why should my life be controlled
by the gaze of others on my skin?
tell me, dad
why should my life be controlled
by the inability of men like them having any form of self control?
tell me, dad
why should my life be controlled
by you or anyone else?

is it because I'm a woman
weak and fragile,
always needing help
from a broody fellow like you?
or is it because of you,
because you're afraid to face society,
to let your daughter out in the world?

i know you're scared, dad
but so am i, maybe even more so than you.
i know you try to protect me
i know you want what's best for me.
but maybe, just maybe, your judgment of right and wrong
isn't as absolute as you'd thought
maybe, just maybe, i have to see my way through this world and face these fears.

someday, you're gonna have to let me go,
someday, I'm gonna have to learn to fight for myself.
and for that someday, maybe you should train me and not shelter me.
maybe you should teach me and not hide me,
maybe you should love me for who i am and not for who you want me to be.
maybe you should embrace me for my choices instead of being mad about them being different from yours.

maybe, dad, you should let me be who i am and have my back instead of hiding me behind yours.

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