Confidence

131.

“She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to a cork board like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew.”

— Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl

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110.

Hush now, they say, I see someone in the store. Oh, it’s just a mannequin left unattended. Who cares, we’ll just put her back into the closet where she belongs. Wait, woah! Why is she lashing out? Perhaps she is a robot instead of a mannequin, but they’re all the same.

Women are walking catalogues, don’t feel personally harassed if eyes are watching every moment. If you are wearing white, you’re challenging the rain to make it translucent. Don’t wear skirts that are too short, you know people are waiting for that gust of wind to blow a little too strong. Walk in an alleyway if you dare, pray for it to be empty or else be prepared to be drugged. Girl, don’t be too friendly at the party or you’re flirting with trouble.

When people pinch your bra strap or steal your hair ties, let them get away. It’s a small matter, and as they always say, boys will be boys. Boys tease the girls they like. Feel the sting on the cheek and whisper that it’s okay, sometimes people get mad. The partner always buy roses the next day. Kiss and make up, no?

Keep your mouth shut, it’s not proper for a lady to speak unless they are spoken to. Did I ask you, asks an authority figure angrily. I don’t think, perhaps you will begin to say, but the Mad Hatter says, if you don’t think, then you shouldn’t talk at all.

Pretty one, you should remain a flower on the wall. Walls can’t talk.

You play with gold glitter as a child, scrapbooks messy but grow up with pepper spray simply for wanting to go out alone to watch the midnight dance of a thousand stars. Sometimes it’s beside your pillow as you sleep, for even home is not the safe place you hoped for. Picked locks and rummaged belongings, does privacy even exist anymore. They say that being in a crowd will keep you from harm’s way, such as family reunions and shopping malls. But can you say no to that older relative who insists that you sit on their knee? There are hands that brush too close.

Yet, this is the cry of the lighthouse: (more…)

47.

I’m not used to saying this aloud. I have a tendency to clam up and say nothing for a while. Sometimes, I find myself watching from a glass coffin, so forgive me if you try to reach in and return empty.

I’m not used to an unwavering command of attention. Too many times when I finally formulate the words I want to speak, it’s an empty street.

I’m not used to the fact that a pair of feet remain by me, even when I have a tendency to stutter, or hide nervousness in the intricate folds of an origami crane.

I’m not used to the idea that a person would wait in unbroken silence just so that I can whisper a single passing remark, catch ephemeral laughter in the fleeting wind.

I’m not used to making this confession, but I must admit that there is a permafrost in my heart that hurts, that I fear letting it thaw. To be warm is unusual and unusual is the unknowable. Both extremes scare me, the warm and the cold, let alone braving along this spectrum.

I’m not used to considering that I might choose to change, not only for you, but for myself. Yet one day I’ll lift my chin. Take a full account of the world above with confidence. And if you’re still here, be pleasantly and timely warned that this is uncharted territory—

I’ll look at you in the eyes.