Nothing, Everything, Anything, Something: If you have nothing, then you have everything, because you have the freedom to do anything, without the fear of losing something.
—Jarod Kintz, (via kushandwizdom)
—Jarod Kintz, (via kushandwizdom)
A boy sprawled next to me on the bus, elbows out, knee pointing sharp into my thigh.
He frowned at me when I uncrossed my legs, unfolded my hands
and splayed out like boys are taught to: all big, loose limbs.
I made sure to jab him in the side with my pretty little sharp purse.
At first he opened his mouth like I expected him to, but instead of speaking up he sat there, quiet, and took it for the whole bus ride.
Like a girl.
Once, a boy said my anger was cute, and he laughed,
and I remember thinking that I should sit there and take it,
because it isn’t ladylike to cause a scene and girls aren’t supposed to raise their voices.
But then he laughed again and all I saw
was my pretty little sharp nails digging into his cheek
before drawing back and making a horribly unladylike fist.
(my teacher informed me later that there is no ladylike way of making a fist.)
When we were both in the principal’s office twenty minutes later
him with a bloody mouth and cheek, me with skinned knuckles,
I tried to explain in words that I didn’t have yet
that I was tired of having my emotions not taken seriously
just because I’m a girl.
Girls are taught: be small, so boys can be big.
Don’t take up any more space than absolutely necessary.
Be small and smooth with soft edges
and hold in the howling when they touch you and it hurts:
the sandpaper scrape of their body hair that we would be shamed for having,
the greedy hands that press too hard and too often take without asking permission.
Girls are taught: be quiet and unimposing and oh so small
when they heckle you with their big voices from the window of a car,
because it’s rude to scream curse words back at them, and they’d just laugh anyway.
We’re taught to pin on smiles for the boys who jeer at us on the street
who see us as convenient bodies instead of people.
Girls are taught: hush, be hairless and small and soft,
so we sit there and take it and hold in the howling,
pretend to be obedient lapdogs instead of the wolves we are.
We pin pretty little sharp smiles on our faces instead of opening our mouths,
because if we do we get accused of silly women emotions
blowing everything out of proportion with our PMS, we get
condescending pet names and not-so-discreet eyerolls.
Once, I got told I punched like a girl.
I told him, Good. I hope my pretty little sharp rings leave scars.
HOW TO BE THE GIRL HE WANTS:
the first time someone tells you these words I hope you stick out your hand and catch the letters in the air I hope you crunch them in your fist I hope you shove them back into the mouth they flew out of I hope and pray you are not eight years old and hanging off of a shopping cart and groaning about how bored you are, I hope you were not young like I was the first time I read a magazine on a shelf underneath the candy I hope you weren’t young because I still thought everything I read had to be true - but better yet, I hope these words never find you.
They tell you to be strong but it’s the little things like this that sit on our hips and tangle in our hair and feel like bees when the night gets dark. It’s the little things we could never ever shake off because the minute we tried, we discovered there were more waiting for us.
HOW TO LOOK GOOD FOR SUMMER:
smile more often. I hope the first time someone calls you fat, you shimmy your shoulders and wink and feel like a goddess and take it as a compliment. I hope you are not the new kid in a fifth-grade class, glasses on your nose and your hair in tangles. I hope nobody ever touched your tummy and asked if you were embarrassed by the way it jiggles. I hope if you ever hear those words, you reach out your beautiful fingers and touch the temple of the person talking and ask, “Are you embarrassed your brain works like that?”
See, I have not gained weight since the eight grade and I’m twenty. I have had about four hundred people tell me I’m skinny but it’s only the two or three voices about the thickness of my thighs and the fat on my hips - these are the only voices that stick. Don’t give them that satisfaction. Take a bath. Stare at your reflection. Count the flecks beside your iris. Promise yourself you’re not going to ruin your life - you won’t let them win. Don’t let that moment cause ripples. Yank out the cruelty from your system.
HOW TO HAVE BETTER SEX:
stop faking it. Stop engineering your body to be a call-and-response of bruises and shots. I hope you are not fifteen the first time a boy kisses you hard. I hope you do not go home with a bloody mouth and spend the rest of your life thinking love is stained with iron. I hope you are not swallowing your sanity to be with somebody. I hope the first time you let someone touch you, they are someone worthy of your trust - I hope that nobody tries to force you into a label like “frigid” or “slut.”
In the animal world, most males have bright plumage so they can attract mates. In humans, we expect ladies to look a certain way. When you break out of the norm, suddenly you’re rattling chains. How dare you not want sex and still look this way. Maybe people are scared of admitting your body has power - it can turn heads in a baggy sweatshirt. Your body doesn’t need a magazine’s confirmation. Your body’s been through hell and still keeps on living. Put on your heels and stalk down the sidewalk. Take off your makeup. Do what you need to feel awesome.
HOW TO BE COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OWN SKIN:
ignore everything they tell you. Don’t let them in.