I Knew My Name- Christine Ray

I knew my name
when grown men
called me ‘honey’
fondled my braids
and pulled my
10-year old body
stiff with resistance
onto their hard laps

I knew my name
when the male high school teacher
called me “sweetie”
and told me not to worry about
the 70 on my exam
because girls don’t need
an A in chemistry
to be a good wife and mother

I knew my name
when the teenage boys
called me ‘ice queen’
‘cock tease’
when I didn’t want their
sloppy tongues down my throat
their rough hands
on my budding breasts

I knew my name
when men followed me
down the street
called me ‘bitch’
‘fucking dyke’
when I wouldn’t smile
or say thank you
to their declarations
of lewd things
they would do to me
once we were alone

I knew my name
when my children
called me ‘mommy’
389 times a day
until I wanted to scream
all other identities
lost in a fugue state
of lack of sleep,
endless laundry
and dirty diapers

I knew my name
when male eyes
slid off like teflon
as they absently
called me ‘maam’
when I turned 50
let my hair go gray
chiming in that I reminded them
of their mothers
as if it were a compliment

I knew my name
when I trusted my eyes
to see my own truth clearly
and my voice
to speak it
and rejected those names
I did not choose for myself
‘Ms. Badass’ will do just nicely


Inspired by Kindra M. Austin’s ‘I Knew My Worth‘, Aurora Phoenix’s ‘I Knew My Place’ and Kristiana Reed’s ‘I Knew My Mistakes.’

Published by

braveandrecklessblog

I refuse to be invisible. I honor my voice. I write because I have to.

19 thoughts on “I Knew My Name- Christine Ray

  1. Christine, I’ve said many times before I love your poetry, but this is… wow! I can’t think of a single one intelligent woman who wouldn’t be able to relate to this.
    Everyone should know your name — your full, powerful name!

    Like

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