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  • Laura Altieri


At four years old,

I was told that I wasn't

allowed to wear

nail polish that wasn't pink.

Red was too mature,

blue was too radical,

yellow was too weird.

"But why, mommy? I like red."

At nine years old,

I was ridiculed for wanting

to cut my irrationally long hair

a few inches shorter.

"A trim is fine, daddy will be mad otherwise."

At twelve years old,

I was reprimanded for speaking

with too deep a voice

for my family to tolerate.

"But I just got a palette expander and braces, what am I supposed to do?"

At fifteen years old,

I was belittled when I claimed

myself as a feminist.

"Don't say that, angel, it comes with a negative connotation."

I am and have always been

feminine and strong.

I wear red nail polish and do what I will with my hair.

I speak how I choose, and I proudly call myself a woman for other women.

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