Lily Myers – "Shrinking Women" (CUPSI 2013)

45 thoughts on “Lily Myers – "Shrinking Women" (CUPSI 2013)

  1. Imagine the progress you could have made in overcoming your personal struggles had you not spent your time writing a poem to complain about them.

  2. I sat and cried as I listened. This is a description of most women's lives- at least in the US. It's not just the food, it's being asked to "shrink" as a human being.

  3. My favourite line is “I asked 5 questions in genetics today and they all started with the word sorry”. I didn’t realize I do this too until watching this poem. Gotta change that bad habit.

  4. Wow, this is really powerful. I feel like a lot of these examples are relatable to a lot of women and girls, particularly the line "I asked 5 questions in genetics class today and all of them started with the word 'sorry.'" I mean, WOW. That's deep and relatable. Good speech.

  5. “Shocking quote from the poem I thought was cool,” followed by a reaction I had typed out for you to read.

  6. This may be my favorite poem of all time. Lily Myers has truly struck a cord with her words. Congratulations.

  7. I showed this video to my mother about 4 years ago. She brushed me off. She stopped teaching me how to read so my brother didn’t feel emasculated and didn’t allow me to ride a bicycle until my brother mastered it. My heart still aches because of this and for that I cut our relationship off.

  8. WOW! This was incredible. I watched this as part of an Artistry class at Berklee. AMAZING. It was very moving.

  9. This weeks piece is Shrinking Women by Lily Myers. Here is the poem:

    Across from me at the kitchen table, my mother smiles over red wine that she drinks out of a measuring glass.
    She says she doesn’t deprive herself,
    but I’ve learned to find nuance in every movement of her fork.
    In every crinkle in her brow as she offers me the uneaten pieces on her plate.
    I’ve realized she only eats dinner when I suggest it.
    I wonder what she does when I’m not there to do so.

    Maybe this is why my house feels bigger each time I return; it’s proportional.
    As she shrinks the space around her seems increasingly vast.
    She wanes while my father waxes. His stomach has grown round with wine, late nights, oysters, poetry. A new girlfriend who was overweight as a teenager, but my dad reports that now she’s “crazy about fruit.”

    It was the same with his parents;
    as my grandmother became frail and angular her husband swelled to red round cheeks, round stomach
    and I wonder if my lineage is one of women shrinking
    making space for the entrance of men into their lives
    not knowing how to fill it back up once they leave.

    I have been taught accommodation.
    My brother never thinks before he speaks.
    I have been taught to filter.
    “How can anyone have a relationship to food?” He asks, laughing, as I eat the black bean soup I chose for its lack of carbs.
    I want to tell say: we come from difference, Jonas,
    you have been taught to grow out
    I have been taught to grow in
    you learned from our father how to emit, how to produce, to roll each thought off your tongue with confidence, you used to lose your voice every other week from shouting so much
    I learned to absorb
    I took lessons from our mother in creating space around myself
    I learned to read the knots in her forehead while the guys went out for oysters
    and I never meant to replicate her, but
    spend enough time sitting across from someone and you pick up their habits

    that’s why women in my family have been shrinking for decades.
    We all learned it from each other, the way each generation taught the next how to knit
    weaving silence in between the threads
    which I can still feel as I walk through this ever-growing house,
    skin itching,
    picking up all the habits my mother has unwittingly dropped like bits of crumpled paper from her pocket on her countless trips from bedroom to kitchen to bedroom again,
    Nights I hear her creep down to eat plain yogurt in the dark, a fugitive stealing calories to which she does not feel entitled.
    Deciding how many bites is too many
    How much space she deserves to occupy.

    Watching the struggle I either mimic or hate her,
    And I don’t want to do either anymore
    but the burden of this house has followed me across the country
    I asked five questions in genetics class today and all of them started with the word “sorry”.
    I don’t know the requirements for the sociology major because I spent the entire meeting deciding whether or not I could have another piece of pizza
    a circular obsession I never wanted but

    inheritance is accidental
    still staring at me with wine-stained lips from across the kitchen table.

  10. "My brother never thinks before he speaks. I have been taught to filter"
    "You have been taught to grow out, I have been taught to grow in"

  11. “I asked five questions in genetics class today and all of the started with the word sorry,”. This line hit me hard because if I think back I can recall many times in which I have started my questions out with the word sorry. And what she is saying is true that one does pick up habits form around them. I notice with myself that I am doing more and more of things that I watched my mother do in everyday life.

  12. To everyone complaining about the audience, it’s typical to clap and mhhmmm during spoken word as a way to show support for the poet

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