Friday, July 6, 2012

I Walk Tall

I walk tall
like a man, they say
like a woman, I say

the world is tough
and women are taught
bend over, give up
I walk tall

the world is hard
and harder when you fight
it will beat you down
I walk tall

I walk strong
take long strides
it's a means
to all I will accomplish
not an end
not my end
I walk tall

This isn't the most polished poem, but I like it. The walking is both literal and metaphorical, both of which draw from my life and more general events.

Literally, I try to walk the same way in dressy sandals and a tight-skirted dress as I do when I'm in jeans and runners. That doesn't tend to work that well, and it shows the physical restricting a lot of women (willingly) place on themselves. Isn't it odd how that's normal?

Plus, in the same vein, by my clothes, my body/face and my manner (including possibly how I walk) I get taken for a boy every now and then. I don't really mind, but it's interesting that in a split second judgement, people see no makeup, no heels/flats, walking crazy fast (what? I don't like being slow) and they think: boy.

But walking tall is also a metaphor for (my) passage through the world. I sometimes have to remind myself that taking up space in the world isn't a bad thing - because of the many admonishments to be "nicer" that target me and other women over men. And because of the general air of shock when I fail to give myself up for the good of the whole. As if by nature, I'm a "nicer," more selfless person, because I'm female. Instead, I like to be kind. Kindness doesn't tend to require not looking after myself, and I'm damn well going to look after myself.

Maybe I shouldn't explain all this, and just let the poem speak for itself instead. But then I feel lazy about the whole blogging thing. What do you think? Do you like my poetry updates? Do you want more/less commentary & explanation? Let me know in the comments or email me if you'd rather keep it private. Or tweet me for all the world to see. Whatever tickles your fancy :)
P.S. Updates next week may or may not happen. I will be traveling with less than awesome internet. 

P.P.S. I will almost certainly find some way to tweet every so often. Follow me.


  1. The first 3 lines of this poem are amazing. I really love it. I like the combination of poetry and opinion.

    I do like the observations you make, even if I'm one of the women who likes to wear constricting clothing. Though I will never forget the respect I got from some male colleuges when I climbed a catwalk in 6in platform heels to get a shot with the "heavy" camera. When the film was finally released, the director apporached me to compliment my work. Turns out I was one of the best camera operators on the project, and he was even more impressed because I took the biggest risk (climbing on the ricky catwalk), and I did it in heels. He went on to give me recommendations, and never questioned whether I could do a project or not because I was a girl.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this poem and thank you so much for the feedback. The first three lines were definitely the impetus behind the rest of the poem.

    As for constricting clothes, I hope it didn't sound like I was denigrating those who wear that sort of thing. I just find it interesting that it's an accepted norm for women and not men. I think that speaks to opportunity and power imbalances over the course of history.

    Like your director, I too am impressed that you climbed a catwalk in heels... Impressed that you survived! :) More importantly, congrats on being such a good camera operator.