This is how I understand 

I was walking down the street 

Minding my own business

When I noticed the car

Passing by was moving 

Way too slowly

Men in the front seat

Ogled my body 

Honking their horn

And making me wonder

Why 

I was wearing jeans 

And a t shirt

I wasn’t even showing off anything 

This is how I 

Start shaming myself

For no good reason 

This is how I

Become more wary 

Towards the intentions of men 

This is how I 

Realize the world 

Is very broken 

Naked Yet Clothed

And while my adorned shalwar kameez 

Drapes around my body 

It’s not an invitation to admire me 

While my long Niqab  

Covers me completely 

It’s not an invitation to judge me 

While my hijab covers my hair 

From plain sight 

It’s not an invitation to assume about me 

While I wear shirts and jeans 

It’s not an invitation to catcall me 

While I wear dresses and heels

It’s not an invitation to grope me 

While I wear a saree

It’s not an invitation to ogle me

My body is not: 

A viewing pleasure

A touching pleasure

Your pleasure

An object 

Existence 

My body is not a transient being 

It does not solely exist 

When you place your hands upon me 

For then it is only because you choose 

To let me exist 

For your pleasure 

For your touch 

Instead of the fact 

That I 

Exist.

A naive young woman 

Is what I thought I was not 

It’s all false 

I am young 

I am innocent 

I still have much to learn 

From the world 

Cruelty at its finest 

Is believing in equality

Based off of feminism 

But forgetting 

That only my white girlfriends 

Get the benefit 

From the uproar 

I am amidst 

Black and brown 

Women of color 

As we are quelled by 

The force of a pristine 

White pump 

We cry for justice 

And representation 

Yet all we get is hair flips 

And dry mascara 

Pulled on purposely 

Our sisters 

Our white swans 

Have our blood on their beaks 

There is no reprieve 

Of suffering 

For the ducklings 

That don’t share 

The fair skin 

Of their family 

Intersectionality

I believe,

No, I am sure 

There is an 

Intersection 

On the roads of Equality 

Where you could meet 

A woman 

Who doesn’t wear makeup 

And she fights for social justice 

You could meet 

A woman of color 

Who fights to end police brutality 

You could meet

A transgender female 

Who rocks those pants

You could meet

A bisexual girl

Who is super sweet to know 

I’m just saying 

That this crossroads 

Is where equality exists 

Not just the straight 

Narrow road 

That forgets about the gender spectrum 

That forgets the narrative of race 

In this godforsaken 

White washed world 

Set Me Free

This is my moment 

To shine 

To use my voice as a message 

To empower those who need it 

To embrace the future 

Even if I can’t see it 

So stop.

Don’t come a step closer 

Don’t step in my space 

Don’t take my limelight 

I did the work 

I experienced the pain 

Of hours and days 

Wasting away 

Hoping for better ways 

To live 

So stop. 

Don’t brush past me 

Dont excuse me

Look me in the eyes.

Tell me that I’m worth it 

Tell me you’re proud 

Don’t brush past 

The accomplishments I’ve gotten 

Don’t keep your head down 

So stop.

Sit down and listen 

With your mouth closed 

And ears open 

Let my voice carry you 

Through my experience 

So stop.

Don’t interrupt or argue

Don’t assume you know me

Because you haven’t even 

Heard all of my story 

So stop.

Take a step back 

This is not your moment to infringe 

This is not your moment to take 

So stop. 

Be still.

Let me live 

Let me learn 

Let me grow on my own 

I promise 

I will return in your arms 

Stronger than ever before 

So stop.

Let go of the noose

Around my neck 

Let go of your concerns 

I’m not frail 

Nor am I fragile 

So stop.

Let me Live.

Passive 

Whoever believed 

That you could 

Quell a woman 

By silence 

Did not consider 

The force of her thoughts 

When she’s quiet.

Independent 

Walking on the far side of a sidewalk 

Head phones on 

Got no man to protect me 

From the cars passing by 

I ain’t looking over my shoulder 

It causes too much trouble

My hips sway

And my musics playing 

I have no worries 

And I can take myself places 

By foot, bike or bus 

Don’t need permission to go anywhere 

And I don’t know how to use power drills 

Just stuck taping things to walls 

All by myself 

And my phone keeps me company 

Don’t Need a body to keep me warm 

Don’t need some protector 

Stepping on my toes 

My hands are full 

Of the groceries to feed one 

And I’m single 

And I’m not bothered 

Who said you need company

To feel fulfilled 

Who said you need another body

To feel pleasure 

I can do it all on my own 

Don’t need some other strange brain 

Dictating the moves 

I have all the right keys

In the palm of my own hand 

Who says I’m scared 

Of being lonely? 

I can walk in the dark 

Without cowering 

I think I’ll be fine

I got better things to worry about 

Untitled

I’ve always been told 

To watch what I eat 

To go out and excercise

To improve upon my body 

To wear appropriate clothes 

Modest and unrevealing 

Leaving others to wonder 

But what frustrates me the most 

Is when someone compares me to the 

Entire female gender 

I didn’t know my physical exterior 

Was a part of a competition 

That couldn’t be won

What frustrates me the most 

Is when i am told that my efforts 

Are in vain

I am told:

I have to save my virtue 

For a Man  

I have to save the best aspects of 

My body, my aspirations, and my dignity 

To be put in a union

That is not equal

My culture teaches me that 

Women should be in servitude 

No matter their education 

No matter their accolades

And every choice that a 

Woman makes for herself 

Is just considered an opinion

I have been taught not to sexualize myself

Through my body or my mannerisms 

To be chaste and pure 

But that earns me much disgrace from 

The people of my own gender 

They call me a prude 

And they wonder why I don’t 

Move past this supposed 

Gilded cage that I’m inside.

I tell you I was not forced into

Any cage

And everything I have made

Whether it be my fashion choices

My weight or my body shape

Is up to my choice 

It is not up to your opinion 

It is not for a man’s pleasure 

It is not to belittle other women 

Or to make them feel inferior

No, I am my own person 

With my own hopes and dreams 

I can be my own boss

I can make my own decisions

And I can love myself 

And I can love others 

Let’s please stop then.

My fellow women please stop shaming me

My humanity is at stake and so is yours

Men please stand beside me 

I ask for nothing more