I envy kids these days. It seems like there is a lot more room to move in terms of sexuality, or at least more acceptance than there was when I was younger. I’m not trying to sound like a crotchety old lady, but things are considerably different and for that, I am happy and thankful. In my day, we had to be a bit more careful about expressing ourselves. While Boy George (my first crush) might have been wearing eyeliner, it still wasn’t the norm for the rest of us to go around saying we liked both boys and girls.
Like everything though, I found a way to express myself, albeit under the radar. I was 13 and I wrote a ballad for a girl in my class. It was filled with descriptions of her golden curls and green eyes. The ballad was set in medieval times about a King’s daughter who wasn’t allowed to marry the person she loved, and how she decided to end her life rather than follow through with an arranged marriage. It was my first love poem, really. I had it set to music and sung (not by me) in front of our whole class. I also gave her an illustrated copy of the ballad. So maybe I wasn’t as under the radar as I thought.
Poetry granted me the opportunity to express myself and the freedom to express my love. If I ever manage to clean up my basement and find my Middle School poetry collection, I promise to post my first ballad here. In the meantime, here’s the first verse and the refrain (to the best of my recollection):
Julie was a King’s daughter, she was
Men fought for her left and right.
But her heart was given to a peasant boy
Who worked in fields day and night.
Julie, Julie, don’t ever quit smiling
Smile ’til the end of your days,
For you have a smile which so lightens the heart
Oh, smile ’til the end of your days.
¹ I couldn’t be too obvious, in case you were wondering why I cast myself as a boy in the poem.
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