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A Woman’s Experience

Alyse Sargent

they told her the sky’s the limit

but it was not long until her head hit the glass ceiling 


they sold her products with claims of

instant weight loss    blemish control     irresistible sex appeal

but she still wasn’t good enough


they told her to square her shoulders and walk with a purpose

as confident as a man when believes he is right

but the catcalls still followed her as she walked down the streets

the sharp words hitting her back with intense pain   

as she hurried away

jaw still set and head held high 


they gave her constant reminders of how lucky she was

as only a few decades ago she would have been confined to the kitchen

her job at a law firm now a blessing

but still on the nights when she left work late and alone

she walked to her car with her key gripped tightly in one hand  and arm outstretched

eyes scanning for any possible attackers

always at the ready to fight back


they warned her that sometimes boys will be boys

their actions excusable at such an innocent age

but it wasn’t only that one time at age 8

when he put hands on her 

it was also that frat party in college

screaming no in a drunken slur

and that time her boss asked her to stay late

after everyone left for the day

oh and  lets not forget that one boyfriend

she didn’t want to date anyone after him


they thought she would heed their advice forever

but she is beginning to learn

there is an alternative 

a universe where simply existing is not exhausting

where no means no

and where it is not the women who have to change

but the society that accepts their mistreatment

and maybe someday they will begin to learn too

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