Hereditary by Rhiannon McGavin | Brave New Voices

[ Hip-hop music plays ] -[ Breathes deeply ] Strong women run in my family. In fact, they don’t run
so much as gallop, leaving dollops of wisdom like curdled cream
on biscuits behind them as they rescue misfits
from their own upbringing, singing husband’s praises to keep happy days
in the household, but always having
a quick comeback if they step out of line
to show the girls that it’s a man’s world
past the front garden, but the matriarchy rules
where we come from. They did not have bootstraps
to hold onto. They scaled peaks
in high-heeled shoes, fencing with stilettos
and sore toes, leaving any man who interfered
singing soprano. I come from women who made
themselves worth fighting for, who ensured their soldiers
had warm meals and a hot bed to come home to from war, and women who didn’t want
to leave all the fighting to those silly boys
and enlisted. I come from women who sewed
fairytales into first-day dresses
for school so that no matter how cool
the other kids were, you knew that you were
the real princess. Strong women run in my family — strong like stone foundations, strong like midwives, strong
like knowing when to run. The women
in my family are made of butterfly wings
and bee stings, and you know what else
runs in my family? Large breasts. So I don’t know
what’s happening here. Large breasts run in my family. It’s not that I feel incomplete
without bigger mammary glands, but there are certain things
that band the women in this clan together,
like quilting, pancakes, and…perkiness. I want to be brave
like Grandma Betty when she protected her one-room
schoolhouse from mountain lions, creative like Nana Melanie
as she role plays like she designed houses,
smart like Aunt Penny, who can pinch a penny
until it is reborn as a dollar, but I have the chest
of Uncle Graylin. Speaking of my Aunt Penny, she has this saying
for the girls in the family — When we start slouching,
she goes, “Please, titties on a silver platter.” Now my supposedly platter-worthy
banquet is more of a prepubescent snack, but I shall keep
my back straight anyway. This is just the one area
where I don’t want straight-As. It’s not like I want a huge,
blossoming bosom, just a little more
proportionate. I have enough resolve and determination
to work myself anywhere, hands that can build and write
just as well as they clean, and the ribcage to support… Apples! At least! Now this is no distillation
of societal influence, no cruel fixation on the high
standards of womanhood, it’s just… where are they? I was promised, nay, it is
my birthright to a C-cup! I mean, I’m like the women
in my family already. I’m pretty clever, kind,
loving, intelligent, and relatively well-grounded, so I really just want
to be more well-rounded. Women in my family
have huge breast plates and I don’t have anything
to protect my heart. I’m nearing the end
of adolescent development, so just in case my hereditary
gift doesn’t kick in, I will fill myself
with books, recipes, fighting styles,
and flower arrangements until my heart grows
three times in size, spilling through my ribs and, to the wide-eyed amazement
of my sisters, aunts, and mother, I get boobs. [ Sighs ] [ Hip-hop music plays ]

99 Replies to “Hereditary by Rhiannon McGavin | Brave New Voices

  1. I had smaller boobs throughout my adolescence but grew at least a cup size in college. So maybe they'll come soon? But you're a rockstar regardless

  2. Some men don't care about big boobs. I had friends that we're girl's and I think they are beautiful even if they had no chest. I cared for them. I said there were pretty and cute. Some I got through to them and they loved themselves because they saw what I saw in them. Real beauty. Them. People have to think. What's real beauty?

  3. I wish I could have small boobs because I don't want to be looked at a different way because of my chest I want to be looked at because of me and I want to find love because of me

  4. I am a retired 6th grade teacher and I love your poetry. I saw you last year on the Queen Latifah show and I have been a fan since then. I am also showing many of your poems to my 6 year old daughter. Please continue writing and posting. I will be looking forward to your work.
    Theresa EB

  5. Loved it!  And sister, there's still time.  Mine didn't reach their true potential until sometime during (or maybe even after, I wasn't quite paying attention) college.

  6. That was great, fabulous and uplifting.  As an F cup who was never taught not to slouch, and who married a man who says "more than a mouthful is a waste", be happy with what you've been blessed with, girl, for you are blessed beyond belief.

  7. This was so funny! I was expecting something about feminism and then she stars talking about boobs. Haha! 😄 I feel ya

  8. I am the only person who became black in my family. I understand this and it moved me so so much. I think I can accept myself after this.

  9. Does anyone know if I can find a transcript of this somewhere? I need a speech to do for my speech class and i love this!!

  10. 'It is my birthright to a c cup' I love her, she's amazing 😂😂👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  11. Oh geez, I had an 'A' cup until I got pregnant. Now with a 'D' cup, I miss my little boobs and not having to wear a bra.

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