Lessons My Father Taught Me/What I Taught Myself – A Poem

Me, around the age of 8 or 9

My father taught me to read a person’s body language,

so that I could recognize when a punch was coming.

I taught myself to read what a person’s body was saying,

so that I could offer them comfort even if they didn’t say a thing.

My father taught me that it was better to hide,

because there was less of a chance that I would be hit.

I taught myself to shine brightly and to remain visible,

because even though I was afraid, I was tired of hiding.

My father taught me to hate myself and everything I was,

that I should be ashamed of the secret that I held within myself.

I struggle with self love and self care, but I finally believe

that I am worthy of both, and I no longer hide who I am.

My father taught me to hate everything that didn’t look like me,

that anyone who didn’t fit the right mold was worthy of disdain.

I taught myself to love those that don’t fit in, that don’t conform.

I’ve realized that life doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has

to be lived.

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