To Be A Lady

My corset brings me comfort

Molding and shaping me into

What I need to be

Into whom I need to be.

I embrace the freedom

In knowing all that I am is

Mapped and all I

Have to do is live it.


Photo by Rachel Crowe on Unsplash

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50 thoughts on “To Be A Lady

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  1. What a fab piece! It really does make you think of the standards that have been set for women over the many years with the corset part. How much times have changed! So many different ways to interpret this piece, a corset can be restricting, but at the same time supportive.

    On a side note, because I am in a sewing frame of mind, I just can’t help but think about beautiful flowing dresses with a semi-corset structure to them haha!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Supportive. Yes, I do believe that is half the way I viewed the corset in this piece!
      Love your reading of this piece too, especially through your eyes as a seamstress!

      Like

  2. My interpretation of this poem is about the pressure and standards that women have to face. Women would wear a tight corset for a small waist because that is deemed “ladylike”? The first two lines sound like a woman accepting her corset and the shape it gives her. Not sure if there’s any freedom with a corset haha but the poem got my brain thinking. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the symbolism of the corset, restrictive and somewhat conforming to beauty standards, but also supportive and powerful. But with powder comes an element of freedom and the freedom of the ability to choose to wear it to begin with. There are so many ways to interpret this one, which I love (the comments so far are REALLY interesting).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that you read this piece and also reflected over the comments! It is so interesting to see how this writing has been read so differently by people. I love your reading of this; thank you for sharing!

      Like

  4. I love the use of symbolism between freedom and corsets – freedom can mean something different for every woman, which is a message you beautifully captured in this poem! Thank you for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally feel you about corsets.. It molds you into what the corset wants you to be. Being out of it feels like freedom though! Great job with this! This piece really draws how women have been portrayed for centuries and we are just starting with getting more freedom with speaking out.

    Nancy ✨ mdrnminimalists.com

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely poem! I really like your last stanza, and the line “Mapped and all I, Have to do is live it.” really spoke to me. I’m working on worrying less and letting go, so this sentence stood out to me. Thanks for sharing your poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I always enjoy satire, especially in this context as it so perfectly encapsulates the issue past generations have faced, and many continue to face in different guises, without be heavy handed

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Wow. As someone who loves the fact that women know can choose who they want to be and are free to create the lives of their dreams, it was amazing to read a poem that showed the beauty that is sometimes there in not having to make big decisions all the time. There is a certain comfort that one can feel in not having to be the strong, independent woman that is expected of us nowadays. Sometimes it’s okay to fit into your mannequin shell and find freedom in that too.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. So many feelings for this poem, Jaya! Firstly, a reminder that corsets are restricting and therefore I took the view you were being ironic. But then I thought about the hijab, which I guess is the modern equivalent, and that many women say they feel freer underneath their hijbab. And then I thought that yes, a corset supports you as well, so you can literally stand tall. One of my favourites of all your poems I think 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 😮 Loving the hijab parallel, Lisa, I never saw that modern reflection writing this. Also love that your reading of this piece changed as you read it. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

      Like

  10. Freedom in so many different ways whether in conformity or rebelling, there are choices we make along the way. You expressed that in a way that is poignant and beautiful. I loved these few lines the most:

    “My corset brings me comfort

    Molding and shaping me into

    What I need to be

    Into whom I need to be.”

    Freedom means different to so many. You can ask a person off the street their version of freedom, while if you ask another, it will be different. Mapped and planned out does not bring hope to some, but for others, that was their freedom. Some freedoms we live in, that we are used to as there hasn’t been anything better to delineate otherwise. Some freedoms we live in, we take for granted. Some freedoms have a cost. Some freedoms we are thankful for and count our blessings each night. In all these ways, there is freedom and the more time progresses, the more freedoms we find. Freedom was not all it was women in the 1800’s and 1900’s, but I would imagine with some, they were content in their life. Perhaps other women wanted more (hello 1920 flappers), and others broke through expectations to get away from the cycle and societal views.

    This is brilliantly written placed into the perspective of someone who can be content with their freedom, especially if it is limited, or someone who desires more on the inside but can’t admit that yet. I loved reading this piece, Jaya. It is amazing, it is enjoyable, and it really provides your audience to reflect. ❤ ❤ Brilliance, my friend. Brilliance.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lucy, your read of this is as brilliant as the writing! Your final interpretation of this is especially thought provoking.

      I do believe that many women loved the lives they had. It was the women who loved choice more that fought to make choice inclusive for all. In a ‘free’ world, perhaps some women still want the freedom they once had or feel there is in living a mapped life.

      Thank you for sharing your kind and dimensional thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It can be very scary to step outside of societal expectations or even our own comfort zones. The corset is a metaphor, but what happens when the binding becomes too tight? Will we take off our corsets to discover a new role and a new kind of freedom or equality?

    Similarly, society has traditionally and preferentially favored men when it comes to work and compensation. Women still lag behind men in pay for the same job. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused more job losses for women than men. The “corset” holding the outdated practice that men should be paid more than women has become too restrictive for the progression of our society.

    This may be way off base from what you were thinking when you wrote your poem, but that is what reading it stirred up in me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I absolutely love the ‘now’ thoughts that this poem stirred in you! Those societal restrictions and outdated practices are a wonderful metaphorical corset. You have given me a new way to read this poem and for that I am grateful. Thank you!

      Like

  12. Smiling at how people had such strong reactions to freedom and corsets. When worn because you choose to and not because you must to feel good? I’ll go out on a limb and say: they can can be quite a statement of power in certain moments.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Freedom has always come at cost especially with women. Your writing makes me feel for the women of late who fought to get voting rights and how now women are fighting to be treated fairly and respectfully.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. A little disturbing because it’s a reminder there was a time when we didn’t have choices like we do now…we just stuffed ourselves and our lives into a corest and lived how society expected us to. And so much of women’s literature demonstrated how awful that was.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Maybe I’m reading this to literally. 🤨 I ask these questions do I need a corset ‘to be a lady’ and it certainly doesn’t map a woman’s life. Unless you are speaking of a time when that defined a lady, however that is unclear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for posing your questions! To me this poem means to be that there is a certain freedom in not having to make choices. Women in the time of corsets often had their lives ‘mapped’ for them in terms of marriage and what they could do with their lives. Some lived that life happily. Others wanted a different kind of freedom. Hopefully my writer’s thoughts make sense?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for the explanation. I did get the inflection of a bygone era. So my literal interpretation was correct, maybe the title threw me off, because I associated with woman of today. I can be lame in my thinking sometimes. 😅

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Freedom means different things to different people, so I love that you share your perspective. This type of freedom, I think, has its advantages and disadvantages, but I prefer the freedom to choose. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

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