I have been a feminist
since the age of three.
Before I could read the word
before, even, I had heard of it,
I knew that life was rigged –
that I was not in the position of privilege,
and my two siblings would walk a path
that was free from the hurdles on mine.
I learned at three.
It was fine that I had brothers,
and that the sister was me,
but I did not know that these were gendered terms.
Being me was fine,
for I did not know
I was not like them.
My sibling saw that I wasn’t like him.
At the age of shared baths,
he said, “is she broken?”
The answer we were told
I had not known,
and I wanted to disagree.
Mother taught us:
You are different
because he is going to be a daddy someday,
and someday, you
will be a mommy.
I don’t want to be a mommy someday!
I want to be a daddy too!
I am going to be a daddy someday!
Why not me?
I was adamant.
Me at three.
I had opinions,
I didn’t like being told my inescapable future.
It seemed cruelly unfair.
Daddies had opinions,
and mommies didn’t,
and I wanted to keep mine!
So it was a daddies life for me,
but they told me no.
They told me I was going to be a mommy,
and that was that.
My poor mom,
maybe she thought I loved dad more.
That’s not why, though.
It’s what I had seen
about who makes the decisions,
about whose happiness comes first,
about who supper waits for.
I hadn’t gone to kindergarten,
much less learned about equitable work
and gender roles,
I wanted to be a daddy,
and it wasn’t because I liked his clothes.
I craved something that he had,
although I couldn’t name it at three,
and still struggle to pin it down now.
Did I see men as powerful?
Did I want to have authority?
What did you see, little feminist me?
I wanted to hold my own voice,
to be the only seal that stamped my words –
as genuine, as real, as truthful, as worthy.
I wanted to be human.
And human only.