As long as I can remember, my grandmother taught me to stand up straight, cross my legs, clear the table, cover myself, not to talk about periods, hide my maxi pads, not to use tampons because virginity is precious and should not be jeopardized.
My dark skin, my black curls contrasted with hers, blond and straight, and her skin, soft and white, that always smelled of musk or jasmine. As soon as she had the chance, she took me to straighten my hair and taught me to avoid the sun, so my skin would not get even darker.
She, who married ten days after blowing out her 19 candles, dreamed I would have a happy early marriage. But taught me never to approach boys, especially not to provoke or excite them. To reserve myself for the right one.
She also taught me to stay away from certain women. Those that resembled men. Those who are vicious and dirty and who influence impressionable young girls. I later learned that the word she dared not say to describe these types of women was lesbians.
Years later, slumped on the couch, legs spread, curved back, long curly hair, tanned skin, I became one of those women she urged me not to approach.
Yes, my grandmother, this woman whose eyes were bursting with strength, was steeped in patriarchy, colonialism, all types of oppression, which, without meaning to, she imposed onto me.