Share This Poem With Your Mother

by Doyin Oyeniyi

When I first heard the poem "Dear Mama" by Daysha Edewi, it reminded me of something I don't acknowledge as often as I think I should: my mother is also somebody's daughter, and she's also gone through many of the things I'm currently going through. Edewi's poem, read in a video titled "Things I Wish I Could Tell My Mom," addresses some of the conflicting and harmful things mothers say to their daughters and is a reminder of how those same comments can be passed down if we're not careful.

It’s not like women don't receive unwanted comments about our bodies and our sexuality from other people. Too many men feel entitled to comment on how women look when they're out in public. Schools are constantly shaming girls for their bodies with ridiculous dress codes. But when the slut-shaming and the body-policing comes from somebody who also loves you and wants what’s best for you, knowing how to handle your relationship with them and maintain your self-esteem becomes a bigger challenge.

How many times have we pretended not to hear our mothers’ comments about our weight or the length of our dresses? Over the years I’ve learned to ignore and deflect comments that hurt. I’ve shrugged things off, jokingly pulled up shorts to make them even shorter, laughed with friends about how moms say the darnedest things, and quietly accepted the comments as just another part of what it means to be a woman in this day and age. But hearing Edewi’s has helped me realize something that doesn't cross my mind as often as it should: it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, it shouldn't be this way. As Edewi says in her poem:

Women need to learn to live in harmony. Divide and conquer. That's how they keep us down, that's how they hold us back. They make you feel shameful for the skin that you're in and see to it that we pass it on to the next of kin.

But that can stop now. And it can stop by speaking to our mothers. Listen Edewi’s poem for the inspiration to do so.

Image: BuzzfeedYellow/Youtube