KASAMA Vol. 10 No. 2 / April-May-June 1996 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

Graphic: by Sandra Torrijos, Isis Clipart, 1995

Stepping Out

by Maureen Watson

I’m stepping out, don’t mess about.

Don’t tell me to be patient.

I’ve been wedded, enslaved, white washed, and saved,

But now, I’m liberated.

I’ve been patted, and moulded, and shaped, and scolded

And I learned real fast how to please ‘em,

I ‘Yessir’ed, and ‘No Ma’am’ed,

I was cursed and damned,

And all for no good reason.

I’ve been put up, and I’ve been put down,

By folks who were black, white, yellow or brown,

Treated like I wasn’t human, just a puppet, a token,

But I healed my hurts, ‘cause for better or worse,

Black woman’s got spirit that’s never going to be broken.

Been labelled all my life,

Black, woman, mother and wife.

And their labels formed the bars of my prison,

But I’ve got to set free, this person who’s me.

‘Cause now I’ve got a vision,

Their myths and lies are dead,

Not heaped on my head,

And their history is all outdated,

Different sex, different skin, can’t change what’s within,

‘Cause now, I’m liberated,

And I’m stepping out, don’t mess about,

Don’t tell me to be patient,

No ifs or buts.

I don’t walk, I strut,

‘Cause now, I’m liberated.

About the Author:

Born in the Beginning, Maureen Watson comes from a large and well known family whose care, concern and active participation in the community has in no small measure meant much to the contribution for change and new, positive direction in Aboriginal politics and freedoms. Maureen travels extensively within Australia and overseas and is an accomplished actress, artist and poet. She is widely known to schoolchildren through her story-telling, poetry readings and acting.

Stepping Out is reprinted here with the author’s permission. The biographical notes above are from Inside Black Australia, an anthology of Aboriginal poetry edited by Kevin Gilbert.

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