Saturday, December 21, 2019

Leyla Josephine / I Think She Was a She

Leyla Josephine
Photo by Jassy Earl



Leyla Josephine, a performing artist, shared her poem at Merchant City festival on Brunswick Stage. Her unapologetic account of a teenage abortion she had is making waves across the country. She came out and said something phenomenally brave about why she made the very personal decision to have an abortion. Watch the video and check out the lyrics bellow.

I think she was a she.
I know she was a she and I think that she would have looked just like me.
full cheeks, hazel eyes and thick brown hair that I could have plated into dreams at night.
I would have stuck glow up stars on her ceiling and told her they were fireflies to protect her from the dark.
I would have told her stories about her grandfather
we could have fed the swans at the park.
She would have been like you too, long limbs
with a sarcastic smile and the newest pair of kicks.
She would have been tough, tougher than I ever was
and I would have taught her all that my mother taught me
and I would have taken her to all the museums and there she could see the bone dinosaurs
and look to them and wonder about all the things that came before she was born.
She could have been born.
I would have made sure that we had a space on the wall to measure her height as she grew.
I would have made sure I was a good mother to look up to.
But I would have supported her right to choose.
To choose a life for herself, a path for herself.
I would have died for that right, just like she died for mine.
I’m sorry but you came at the wrong time.
I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed.
I am so sick of keeping these words contained.
I am not ashamed.
I was a teenage girl with a boy she loved between her thighs that felt very far away.
Duvet days and dole don’t do family planning well.
I am one in three. I am one in three. I am one in three.
I had to carve down that little cherry tree
that had rooted itself in my blood and blossomed in my brain.
A responsibility I didn’t have the energy or age to maintain.
The branches casting shadows over the rest of the garden.
The bark causing my thoughts, my heart to harden.
I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed.
It’s a hollowness, that feels full, a numbness that feels heavy.
stop trying to fit how this feels on an NHS bereavement brochure already.
I am allowed to feel it all, I am allowed to feel.
I am woman now, I am made of steel,
and she wasn’t a girl and she wasn’t a boy.
That’s just the bullshit you receive to keep you out of parliament and stuck on maternity leave.
Don’t you mutter murder on me.
70,000 per year. 70,000 per year. 70,000 per year.
Thats’s 192 per day.
from coat hangers, painkillers, the back alley way way.
Don’t you mutter murder on me.
Worldwide performing abortion like homework,
looking for the answer in the groves in our palms, the bulges on our bellies, the whispers in our ears,
only to be confronted with question marks.
Women have been hidden away in the history books.
After all it’s history.
His story.
Well this is herstory, ourstory, god damn it,
this is my story
and it wont be written in pencil and erased with guilt.
It will be written in pen and spoken with courage.
You will hear it on the radio on your way to work, you will study it in English,
you will read it on the coffee shops bulletin boards next to the flyer about yoga for babies.
Because I am not ashamed, I am not ashamed, I am not ashamed.
I am woman now.
I will not be tamed.
I have determination that this termination will still have a form of creation.
It will not be wasted.
this is my body. this is my body. this is my body.
I don’t care about your ignorant views
when I become a mother, it will be when i choose.

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