For tongue-tied women of a certain age
How polite we’ve been
All these years
Voices tripping lightly
Over rotten eggshells
And around huge cow pies
Plopped in our paths
By fawning faces
And genteel souls
Killing us softly with
Promises and thinly veiled
Threats cold and dagger-sharp
These words came springing to mind yesterday afternoon. Here we are in the 21st century, deep into the age of Trump, and I’ve been taught to be polite. To defer to those in authority over me, and keep my mouth shut.
Not that I’ve always been a good white girl. Still, on the scale of niceness I’ve probably been about 9 out of 10 on the side of the angels. Especially when dealing with men intent on keeping me in my place (wherever that is), or promising me heaven on earth.
Strangely, my father comes to mind, right up there with my worst boss ever and other men who tried over the years to shame or sweet-talk me into compliance with their wishes.
Today I’m wondering what I have yet to say to my father. Not to scorn or shame him, but to turn the tables and own the power of my voice. Along with the power of truth and good will. Not just for his sake, but for mine.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 16 February 2019