Up until my second year of high school,
I allowed myself to believe that I wasn’t like other girls
as if there was something fundamentally wrong with other girls
that I had to disinherit.
I used ‘girly girl’ as an insult
like the carefully applied foundation, the long-learned eyeliner
the too-bright lipstick they nearly missed their bus to put on
made them less.
Unlearning was a slow process that I’m still slogging through.
I catch myself raising my eyebrows at a girl on the other side of the room
and have to make myself remember it doesn’t mean shit.
Femininity is not a synonym with stupid or frivolous or weak;
I’ve seen girls who can shiv with a high-heel and look great doing it
or they can sweat and grunt and spit and not give a damn either way.
Your worth is not a win-or-lose depending on if your skirt goes below your knees.
Whether makeup or a bare face or fake eyelashes so heavy you have to squint
a long dress or inch-long skirt or jeans that rip at the knee or shorts that flash your underwear
dreadlocks or metal ear-stretchers or leggings without pants or bedazzled neon nails
bikini or burqa or hair shaved in strips or long plaid shirts
a hoodie that needed washing three weeks ago or dangling earrings or worn out sneakers
a scarf to hide your adam’s apple or sunglasses that cover half your face
braces or glasses or pigtails or a jagged pink mohawk or eighteen clearly visible tattoos-
Wear it as battle armour."
— 'You'll Get Shit For It Anyway,' theappleppielifestyle. (via theappleppielifestyle)
When they tell you to be small,
Sprawl over the seats, push your knees out like girls are taught not to.
Eat whatever and refuse to make the magazines get you guilty over it.
Revel in the thickness of your thighs, your body
which has never been anything but yours.
When they tell you to slow down,
Rev your damn engine.
Make your way past them and flash a middle finger as you do.
If anyone accuses you of being subordinate
because of your gender, your skin, your identity,
Show them every single reason they’re wrong.
When they tell to be quiet,
Your opinion will be smirked at, frowned at or dismissed entirely
and it’s your job to tell them to go fuck themselves.
Only apologize for what you think you should be sorry for,
not what they tell you you should be sorry about.
When they tell you to calm down,
You have every right to it.
— 'Make Them Nervous,' theappleppielifestyle. (via theappleppielifestyle)
A co-worker closed the door to the staff room behind him.
It locked automatically
and I started planning what I could use as a weapon:
smash the glass beside the fridge into his eye.
pick up the fork next to me and sink it into his leg.
claw him across the face if I couldn’t get to anything in time.
As I calculated how hard it would be to shove his body weight off of me,
he finished making his lunch, said, “Sup,” and left,
the door automatically locking behind him.
I expect if I told him I was prepared to stab him with the corner of my staff ID if I had to,
he would say what I’ve heard too often, the one we all know
but are getting wearily suspicious of:
Not all men are like That.
When I was eleven, all the girls in my class got sent to self-defence
because they assumed we’d need it one day.
When I was twelve, there was a prostitute’s body dumped in the river next to my house
because someone thought she was disposable.
When I was thirteen, it happened again and this time the man went to jail
and people stood outside the courtroom and held up signs that he did the right thing.
When I was fourteen, my friend showed up to a sleepover late, chest heaving from sobbing
and from running four blocks after getting chased by a man that followed her off the bus.
When I was fifteen, my mother accused me of being a Man Hater
and I said, “No, but god, would you blame me if I was?”
I got catcalled and then got laughed at when I flipped them off.
they pulled up beside me and I clutched my bag tighter,
my hand going in for my keys and my mind going over how their noses would look
if I smashed them in with my elbow.
“What’s the big deal,” the guy at the steering wheel asked. “We’re just complimenting you. We’re not like That.”
Sorry, but I’m not going to trust you in case I end up on a poster labelled ‘MISSING.’
Even if you seem like the nicest guy, I’ll still have one hand holding my keys
as the only knife I’m allowed, because I don’t know how far you’re going to take it:
if you won’t back off when I tell you I don’t want to date you
if you’ll shout BITCH at me when I don’t respond well to your catcall
if you’ll expect my body as a reward for treating me like a human being
if you’ll try to take what you think you’re owed by being a man
if you’ll turn me into another statistic that people shudder away from.
I have been trained to assume that it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing
or face the consequences.
I don’t know if you’ll nod when I reject you
or pump me full of bullets.
Every single woman I’ve talked to has a story where they haven’t felt safe in their own body
because of what a man said or did.
Not all men are like That, but god, it’s enough."
— 'Welcome to Girlhood: None Of Us Are Safe,' theappleppielifestyle. (via theappleppielifestyle)
fear your twenties with the kind of religious fervour
you used to save for the monsters under your bed,
the ones with big teeth that caught on your feet
no matter how hard you ran to the safety of the sheets.
your parents paid less than a third of what you’ll have to pay
if you decide to live in a dorm with the other students who laugh about being broke
while counting up their rent money with shaking hands
and realizing they’re short, again.
you listen to your parents lecture you about the importance of education
and worry distantly for the future generations, wondering how they’ll cope
when yours is already screwed so bad you’ll never be able to retire.
listen to everyone who was alive in the seventies tell you how worth it university is.
listen to every 26 year old who graduated university several years ago
and is still living off noodles and hand-outs.
you want to learn until you feel like you felt when you first started school,
like the world isn’t empty enough for all you have to put in it,
but the feeling vanishes when you see the bill for the course that made you feel on fire
and you realize you’ll have to work every weekend of your shitty job for the rest of your life
staring up at the badly-lit ceiling for you to pay off the tens of thousand of dollars
of student loans.
the words that you aced on on your weekly spelling test
when you were twelve
don’t make sense to you anymore:
words like ‘future’ and ‘career’ and ‘relationships.’
they have meanings that you can’t find in the dictionary
you want to stay in your bed and see if you can make yourself have the same dream twice in a row.
you want to leave, to step out on the platform of eighteen different airports in eighteen different countries.
you want to kiss until your lips sting that way you’ve heard about, want to do everything the people on the television are doing.
you want to go back to the time when you didn’t have to take pills for the things in your head
and the future was exciting instead of this gaping maw that moves expertly under your feet
so you know you’re going to have to step into it eventually
even when you keep your eyes on the ground.
you’ll slip up and go tumbling.
aunts, friends, teachers, ask you about your plans after high school
and you put on the smile you’ve never got around to practicing in the mirror
and say you’re thinking about it.
— 'seventeen in 2014,' theappleppielifestyle. (via theappleppielifestyle)