The first time I saw a human face she was so near her cheek brushed against mine
She spoke and whispered so tenderly and her scent always remained close by
Her breasts touched my mouth so quickly whenever I hungered and cried
In her arms I slept so sweetly, I could feel she loved me with all her might
I grew up too soon and could not remain in the shelter and limits of her arms
And she loved my brother and sister, too, they received the love that used to be all mine
There were moments when my mother’s love seemed eternal but as a child I was the center of my universe
And so even if she loved me with all she had, I needed to reach beyond her where I thought I was first
And so begins a girl-woman’s quest to find the love she thought she has never known
And young men serenaded and danced with her, she wanted to give her heart and belong
She thought she found the perfect love but each man failed to give her the love she thought she deserved
Was she not worthy of true adoration? Would she ever find the one for whom she was birthed?
Where did we learn that to be loved means to be adored and to be another’s sun?
Who taught us to measure our very worth from the standards of boys and men?
When did we start believing that loving meant sacrifice and self-denial?
How could we surrender our dreams to others for passions that are not sustaining and mutual?
Some women are empowered to birth and nurture beyond bodies and their families
Some women are diminished and move like shadows behind dominator bodies
Some women learn as young daughters a love that comes from within
Some women are broken as children and will look to others for affirmation and meaning
We birth and breastfeed daughters but we must do more to make them whole
We must nurture and believe in them so that they can listen to their own voice and soul
Because daughters grow up to be women and must learn to be true to themselves and strong
For the world and for their own daughters so that the future can know justice, peace and love.
Art by Apol Laxamana