I discovered Warsan Shire’s work in late 2012. I was bored at work and just browsing around and happened to stumble across her poem “For women who are difficult to love” which talks about consciously changing yourself and adjusting who you are in order to order to be more appealing or accepted by someone you fancy. I think we’ve all done this at a point in out lives only to later on realize how awesome we are just as we are (and you shouldn’t have to change for anyone, EVER).
I used to be quite the party girl in high school and I was attracting people who only saw me as party girl. I will never understand why girls who partied a lot are seen as easy, stupid and lacking wife material qualities. This really hurt my feelings because I felt people thought there was no substance to me. They would just call me up when they needed a party starter.
I knew there was so much more to me than drinking and clubbing but it was very hard to try to prove especially when people already have this perception of partying girls and you’re standing in the club, with a drink in your hand wearing a tiny freakem dress trying to prove them wrong. So I decreased my partying ways and began to do other things and in that process I became a lot closer with an amazing guy but he had met me during my clubbing days so he treated me like the girl in the club. It was so frustrating to try show him the other side of me. And whenever I would be myself he would say things like “You’re very opinionated about things that don’t concern you” or “Stop trying to act smart” or the best one “Stop trying to change the world. Just live your life and have fun” and when I started to fall for him, he was starting to fall for the girl in the club. I was lonely and he was looking for a trophy girlfriend so there we were.
I eventually gave in to his perception of me because it’s what he liked about me and I didn’t want to lose him (I know, how stupid?). So I dumbed myself down (to dumb yourself down is to act less intelligent than you really are).
For a while things were good until my intellectual self just couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted engage in political discuss with my love, have serious talks about the future, talk about how I want help in the HIV/AIDS struggle, I wanted to talk about books and talk about how women needed to start being treated fairly in the workplace, I wanted to go to museums and art exhibitions and try new things. But instead we spoke about things like cars, clothes, vacations, who was with who, where we are partying next week etc. It was frustrating because 1. I wasn’t being myself 2. I hate talking about material things 3. I hate talking about people 4. I had so much more to offer.
So when I read Warsan Shire’s poem it just sat with me. The poem goes like this:
For Women who are difficult to love
You are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do, love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love
– Warsan Shire
And I knew I had to leave. Not just for my own sanity but because he was in love with someone who didn’t exist. It just wasn’t fair on him. I realized that I was just a trophy girl to him. It’s a waste of a beautiful life having to act like someone else or dumbing yourself. He couldn’t handle me at my intellectual level but that doesn’t mean someone else won’t. It is VERY possible to be the life of the party and to also be the Director of a company, there just has to be a balance. So I promised myself that I would never be with someone who tries to box me in nor will I feed into someone’s perception of me. And I am a trophy girl (very talkative and opinionated trophy) but I’m the right kind of trophy to anyone who appreciates me. I will just be me now, later and always.
And another thing, if a guy can’t appreciate me at my Oprah Winfrey level then he doesn’t deserve to see my bad girl Riri side.