I don't flutter my eyelashes.

Matter of fact I barely have any eyelashes left from all the mascara I've been using just to keep up with your standards but that's beside the point

I don't laugh like a lady,
by that I mean I do not swallow my joy
until it lumps in my throat so I always laugh like I mean it. 

I don't act like I don't understand your dirty jokes. 

Like I don't really know what الله يكرمك means
Like y'all don't say it 24 times a day 
Like y'all even smart enough to go over my head. 

I don't whisper on the phone
I do not plan my outfit a day in advance
I do not need help crossing the road and I do not panic in times of crisis.

I don't know what other character impediments I have failed to acquire on my journey to womanhood but hey
What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet

But don't call me a tomboy
Don't call me bro
Do not fist bump me
I am clearly not one of the guys
Do not disregard my feelings because I'm tougher than these other girls. 
Do not compare me to the girls you patronise
and phrase it like I still have something to be ashamed of
I am not tougher than these other girls

I am just more proud
I have been raised by a man who does not make too many mistakes
so I have never been taught to complain
I was not taught to ask for what I deserve because it was never at question
I do not throw tantrums
Or pretend to hurt more than I actually do
Pain is not a sound 
You can't make a mouth do what eyes were created for 
So I will never associate my voice with your shortcomings 

I will not weaken to help you grow
I will not ask you to treat me like the weight of the heavens rests on the back of my tears
And every time you make me cry the earth and seven skies fall out of equilibrium
Like I can hold the galaxies in the brown of my skin and hide the deep of night between the gaps of my ribcage

I will not teach you what your mother should have.

I have been raised like the Ancient Greek
named the four elements after the tips of my fingers

I have been raised to make the earth orbit the gravity of my language
To be the winds that pierce holes into clouds, just to make way for light
To be the fire that does not burn under the mercy of God
To be water that breaks itself in half just to save the men she can not leave behind 

You are surrounded by so many girls
And I have been raised to be a woman


I’ll share a piece of cake with you, call your name differently than I call others’, shake my shoulders indicating the little party in my heart when I look at you whenever we share a glance in a crowded room. 

I’ll make you coffee before I leave for a long day that I have nightmares of, I’ll doodle your curls in class, hum your phone’s ringtone while running errands. 

Such things, certain things that we can survive without but do anyway, like drinking tea in the blue mug only, coffee in the whites. 

I’ll call after I hang up shouting at you to leave me alone, I’ll come back home to you even when I know I’m coming home to a fight, I won’t be upset when you forget that I do all of this for you. 

I’ll leave and come back, I’ll leave for a day and then call in the middle of it to ask you if anyone had made you smile to be jealous for two seconds and make you giggle about it, I’ll leave for a month and ache for weeks, I’ll call you and admit to you my helplessness, I do such things, I don’t leave, I do such things instead.

I’ll love my words more, my solitude, my dawns, my songs, all more than you, sometimes. 

I’ll still come back, I’ll still call back, I’ll still share the last cigarette in the packet with you, I’ll still look at you mid chapter while we’re both reading and smile at you. I will I will I will.