As a child, I received my bedtime stories from Disney,
and at night, I dreamed to be a part of a whole new world
where Jasmine was singing… me.
From the age of three being told that I could be anything,
then growing up to realize that everything had a limit
for people like me.
Naive in my innocence, while being ignorant to the realities
of society but aware of the fiction and fairy tales
I declared myself a princess
without knowing that was wrong.
You see, I always wanted to be a princess, but the only parts
of their stories I related to was the distress because
in my life, there was no pot of gold associated with the colors of the rainbow
so I’m going to need people to stop telling that lie.
Like Mulan, I couldn’t thrive in a world where I had to hide my heart.
Every day I played a part.
My reflection couldn’t show who I was on the inside
because the outside world would disown me.
“Be a man.” They sang these words to control me.
You were born in the hands of your father to make you strong they said,
but at that age I saw Barbie as the place my hands belonged.
I liked pink.
My family thinks, “Where did we go wrong?
“This boys a fairy. We must beat him ’til it’s gone.”
They raised their hands, and in that moment my brown skin
now looks like dirt, and they can’t stand the trash nor come to terms
so I learned to hide.
Like Hannah Montana, I hid my life, but now I’m fighting
to take the climb.
Call me Cinderella.
I moved down the hierarchy.
I am now poor, without a father, and too black to receive one
in a magical form.
Bibbity bobbity boop, all I want there is no fairy godparent to save me,
just fairly odd parents that won’t let me be.
Like Ariel, my parents wanted me to conform, but my outsides
were in a desperate need to transform so I could swim away
from the life I was assigned and walk into my true state of mind.
You see, disguises don’t save lives. They end them.
You are not protecting someone by telling them to change who they are.
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know is the worst advice you could ever give
to a child that is different.
Like Anna, my heart had frozen over like polar ice caps.
Like Elsa, I slid into a kingdom of isolation
and transformed myself from a princess to a queen
because at this point it had seemed
like I was the only person that could ever love me.
So since society sees me as dungeons and dragons,
I learned to breathe fire.
And now I use words as my weapons.
No longer do I need a Prince Charming to rescue me because as you can see,
I slayed the enemy.
(cheers and applause)
Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood
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