Property Dispute

Words, annoying when first heard,
took a lifetime to reveal their worth.
You are no one’s property, is what she said,
after seeing a possessive slogan, claiming
that I was property of my first boyfriend,
proudly displayed on my just made pin,
attached to my shirt.

Rolling eyes at the stern one
who was not a favorite,
waiting for my lecture to end
and half-listening to her dispense
a verbal spitting that held no merit.

Words, tolerated while staring into her angry eyes,
brushed aside, laughed-off, then silenced.
A buried lesson that would have remained forgotten
if not for a random poke from another sharp pin.
Suddenly a youthful memory of her rebuke was set free.
She was right, the one who tried to make me see.
I am no one’s property –
not on that sixth grade carnival day
and not with the passing of four decades.

Ms. Dermer was her name – my sixth-grade teacher who tried to make me see. She had short dark hair, wore cat-shaped glasses, and drank too much coffee and although she was too stern for my liking, her lessons have stayed with me. She challenged me to be my own person and she encouraged me, in her direct and sometimes uncomfortable way. She often had me share my writing with the class and she believed my name would be seen on the cover of books. She didn’t say when. πŸ˜‚ I may have missed her lifetime, but in my lifetime this will happen. I am currently proofreading the first draft of a novel, started last year, and narrowing down the editor search for my coming-of-age story. If you are interested in reading my writer’s journal, about my journey of turning a short story into a novel, visit my 50 Life Stories journal page. ✍🏻 Writing, over the last two years, has offered me a sanctuary, similar to the one I found as a young girl, reading books. Thank you for visiting! Be well. πŸ’— Michele

β€œI will not be “famous,” “great.” I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one’s self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded.”

Virginia Woolf

Art by Alfred H. Maurer (public domain)

Find more of my photos, reels, and micropoetry on IG ~ @mlsefton

Β© 2022 Michele Lee Sefton

93 thoughts on “Property Dispute

    1. kenhume79

      Thank goodness for those unheralded people who influence us; encourage us and shape our lives for good! 😁 Lovely piece on your 6th grade teacher Michelle!πŸ‘πŸ˜πŸ‘

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Absolutely, yes! Thank goodness for them. Those quiet angels and heroes. πŸ˜‡ Well, my sixth-grade teacher wasn’t necessarily either of those things, but she did encourage, so for that I am grateful. Thank you very much, Ken. I am grateful for your visit and comment. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. kenhume79

        Hey. Nobody is perfect but if they help you in your life and to find your way in it then it’s good to recognise that. Which you did! πŸ‘πŸ˜ I didn’t always get along with my gran, mother’s mum, as we saw the world in different ways. But she always helped me with my spelling homework when I was a kid. Who knows? Maybe that’s where my love of words started?! 😁 And you’re welcome, glad to stop by! πŸ‘πŸ˜

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Amen to nobody being perfect and thank goodness for that! We are each making our way, learning and teaching, taking and giving – becoming composites of the people we interact with and the situations we find ourselves in. Life is an interesting journey, made better by writing, of course! πŸ˜„ Thank you, Ken, and thanks for sharing a bit about your own experiences.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Burst forth they do, then they spill into poetry. 😊 Memories, not always pleasant, but always healing to write about them. I love working with you too! See you Tuesday in Zoomland.

      Like

  1. Good inspirational teachers are worth much more than their weight in pure gold. They fill in our “toolbox” lots of tools to handle our subsequent lives with ups and downs – in our own way. I feel lucky to have had a number of such teachers – okay there have also been a few who were opposite motivating. Can barely remember what their names were. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Affirming thoughts, LDN, and as a teacher, I couldn’t agree more. πŸͺ™ I am happy to read you had inspiring teachers. A blessing! I also had a few who robbed us of motivation, but fortunately the strong ones shine brighter in my memory. Thank you for stopping by! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This kind of inner event is so familiar and important to me. I have had may of a similar character, and I think thoughts which make an impression upon us in youth contain deep meaning about our natures and value which might be unleashed only many decades later… if we are fortunate enough to be paying attention. Great little story. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very insightful, Stolzy. I wanted to run away from the lecture I was receiving, but you are correct – valuable lessons made possible by paying attention. Even if their benefit takes a few years to settle in. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and appreciating my poetic story. 😊 Best to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Indeed, the wisdom shared through insights offered from behind cat-shaped glasses during the sixth-grade can appear to be more of a spectacle than that of earnest support. Yet, time has revealed her words to be both true and prophetic – you are a lovely free spirit and novelist! Undoubtedly, many students under your tutelage as educator have also reflected as to the inherent value in your words of wisdom shared through class. Congratulations on all fronts, dear Michele ~ more power to you! 🌞🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, young people are not typically open to receiving criticism, especially in the form of scolding, delivered in front of their peers. Ms. D. was earnest though and now that I am older and wiser haha, I am grateful for that exchange. Thank you very much, Phil. I would not call myself a novelist, yet. I might not claim that title until I have written and published, more than one. I appreciate you mentioning my own students. Positively impacting them, which I still try to do outside of the classroom, will continue to be a cherished life experience. Watching them become adults and graduates and and and… is quite rewarding. Thanks so much! πŸ™πŸ»πŸ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There is nothing more powerful than having someone believe in you even before you may believe in yourself. I wonder how many people give inspiration and aren’t even aware? That was great for you at a young age to have a teacher like that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So beautiful and true, and one person can help us move mountains and a brief encounter or word can uplift us in meaningful ways. ✨ Of course, I did not think she was great then, but now I see her wisdom and her attempt to help me see my inner strength and abilities. I now understand why my pin enraged her like it did. Words spoken during a time when women still had many hurdles to jump over. We are still jumping but making progress. Thank you for your visit and comment. πŸ™πŸ»

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So beautiful your photo and written poem and the article so inspiring to read
    πŸŒ·πŸ™πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜ it is very true that some special people came our lives and we
    absolutely couldn’t forgot them , specially teachers πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘ we give special
    Tribute to our favourite teachers πŸ™β™₯️thank you for sharing and God BlessπŸ₯€

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much for this lovely and very true comment message πŸŒ·πŸ™β™₯️
        Yes, so lovely bloggers and from their posts more knowledge we can understand and we cherish our friendship πŸ‘βœŒπŸΌHave a blessed Sunday πŸ₯€

        Liked by 1 person

  6. “A buried lesson that would have remained forgotten
    if not for a random poke from another sharp pin.” I just love those random sharp pins and the awakening they bring.
    My sixth-grade teacher was Mrs. Newman, and she impacted me greatly. Thank you for sharing another beautiful piece.πŸ’œ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those pokes can enrich our lives and set us on a new course. As you know quite well! Bravo to you and your zestful spirit! ✨ Cheers to Mrs. Newman! It is a pleasure and joy for me. Thank you for reading me!

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    1. You are most kind. Your words make me feel on purpose. More novel work ahead of me, but that applies to everything, right? It is good to pause and appreciate progress, whatever the project. Thank you. 🌻

      Liked by 1 person

  7. An empowering and inspiring poem, Michele. πŸ’žI was just reflecting upon some of the most important teachers in my childhood and youth hood. Very impactful and influential. I’m so excited about your novel! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I were to tell my younger self that later in life, I would be honoring my sixth-grade teacher regarding that heated moment, I wouldn’t believe it! We grow and learn. That sounds like a meaningful reflection activity, Jeff. 🌞 Not everyone is cut out to be an educator, but blessings to those who make a positive impact, even if their lesson takes a lifetime to sink in. Thank you about the novel. I am plugging along. πŸ˜„ One page at a time! πŸ˜…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I completely understand! It’s amazing how meaning shifts over time, as we age and gain life experience. You’re most welcome, Michele. Always. One page at a time reads perfect! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, how I love the “Ms. Dermer’s” of our lives (now, not back then). 😲 Not being keen on their method because I liked the nicer teachers better. But those who were harsh and brutally honest, I somehow remember something that has stuck with me throughout the years. My experience began in 3rd grade, then picked back up with my Chemistry teacher πŸ§¬πŸ”¬πŸ§«πŸ§ͺβš— in high school who we called Sugar Bear. She was a bear, but not too sugary! LOL πŸ˜‚πŸ˜†πŸ€£

    Kudos to you girlfriend for continuing your writing pursuits with your first novel! Whoooohooooo! πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ I’m so EXCITED and I just can’t hide it! 😁πŸ₯³πŸ˜Š While these drafts can be painfully exhausting, my goodness, the rewards are worth the pain. I am so happy for you Michele. Continue to soar πŸ¦… my Dancing Queen!!! πŸ’ƒπŸΌπŸ‘‘πŸ’ƒπŸ½

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the “harsh and brutally honest” teachers, like Ms. D., wanted the best for us and when they saw potential possibly wasted, their passion expressed itself in ways we could not understand back then, especially when it came to issues of gender. I had a name for my chemistry teacher too, but this is a family show. haha Sugar Bear is much sweeter. πŸ˜† There are many reasons I did not become a chemist, but he was the first! πŸ˜‚

      Thank you very much, Kymbelina. I will soar on the lift your words have created for me. I know you speak from experience, about writing a book to its finish. Thank you for the support. πŸ€— We will keep dancing and showing up for life! πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’– Enjoy your Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Showing up for life! πŸ‘πŸΌ Girlfriend, that is an unbreakable quote. You are a “Chemist of Wordology” sweetie pie. We won’t talk about our science teachers…today anyway! LOL πŸ€­πŸ”¬πŸ€£

        Thanks so much for showing up and throwing your big beautiful Michele my Belle smile of encouragement my way! Hugs and smooches for life ladybug!!! πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ₯³πŸ’ƒπŸΌ

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, this is such an important piece made all the more beautiful in its personal connection to you! I do not think this lesson is one that anyone can tell us; it is something we all have to discover for ourselves else I think it weakens and becomes only what someone else has told us is true as opposed to what we believe.

    Love this poetic reflection and its connection to an important transition in your life! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am pleased to read my poem has value for you, beyond my own discoveries. πŸ™πŸ»Well said, writer Jaya. Your comment about discovering “for ourselves” can apply to many life scenarios. Thank you for your contribution. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You are a such beautiful inspiration, dear Michele! refreshing in rhythm and steadfast in love, your poetry deserves every praise. Every young girl should be given a chance to read works like yours so that much suffering would be greatly diminished.

    I especially loved this line: ” I am no one’s property…” A big yes !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Miss Annabel! Your words mean more to me than you will ever know. πŸ’“ I do feel a special calling to support young women, so I will cherish your comment. I am very pleased to receive a “big yes” from you. Thank you. πŸ’

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are magic lady with beautiful poetic flare, dear Michele! We need more female role models like you πŸ™‚ What you are doing is already a tremendous support for the young and I just hope your work will spread wide and far to reach every corner of the known world!!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes Indeed! great teachers give something beyond the book…but impart something for a lifetime…kudos to the teacher…
    Now as for you Miss Lady…no ones property…You are very inspiring…you are vast like the ocean and flow like a waterfall…That is amazing your accomplishments!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beautifully said, Tony. Teachers can influence well beyond the time spent with them, sometimes generations after. It is a remarkable relationship. I pray we continue to have dynamic and passionate people answer the call to teach and influence, in a positive way, of course. I am most grateful and appreciate your encouraging and spirited words. Thank you! Best to you! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Words Change the World | Roth Poetry

  13. You bring inspiration in such refreshing beautiful poetic ways!! Whether we see it then or not, such teachers, educators, elders make a world of a difference to a person’s life by adding values, principles and support to their bucket of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Pragalbha, for your energizing comment. Very nice! So true, many people have the special privilege of influencing lives. Best case scenario, the positive influences outweigh the negative ones. ✨

      Liked by 1 person

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