The Girl I Used to Know

I had only met you once, before that night. 
It was a cold early spring evening, with a chill in the air, but nothing a stylish jacket and nerdy hat wouldn’t solve.

My head was pounding from days of migraines, but I wanted to see friends, as I always did. Lonely by nature, and exhausted all the time makes for a strange social butterfly.

 We had one friend there, and then two, and so I said, sure invite the third. You had seemed nice enough.

I think maybe you had a rough week because you drank heavily and opened up that night. 

You were hurt as a child, in monstrous ways.

As you got older, it got stranger but better.

You engaged in lively argument with our psychologist friend that night. You were making the point that you can’t let hardship define you, I think, in that whole conversation.

My head pounded and I just wanted you to leave. But you had opened up so much, I didn’t want to push it.

The next day I though about it all; you annoyed the hell out of me. But I thought about what you shared.

For the pain they caused you, there is no excuse I can make.

For damage that was done to a poor little girl, I can’t imagine how you can heal.

You are strong for living despite it all.

I am so sorry that happened to you.

I decided you were just trying, like we all were. And since my friends liked you, I wanted to be your friend too.

Women against the world.

One for all and all for one.

I thought I could defend you from other people’s slander. I didn’t listen to what they said, because I thought I was getting to know you. I finally had a nerdy female friend, who was just wholly “misunderstood” by others and I was ready to protect that.

But I didn’t know you would pay your pain forward.

I didn’t know you could fake friendship so well.
I didn’t know 

That the girl with the nightmarish childhood

Would become my nightmare.

Her

Do you know what it’s like to see her in your dreams?

Her smile, or her laugh?

To imagine everything she did or could have done?

Do you know what it’s like to see her behind your eyes as you hold them? 

Layers shed, halfway through, and all of a sudden there she is.

I’m with him, but she’s here too,

And there’s nothing I can do about it.

Do you know what it’s like to see her face?

You imagine everything you want to do, it’s so vivid you can almost taste it.

Revenge would be sweet.

Maybe if others knew, your blood wouldn’t boil.

Maybe if you were vindicated, you could fall asleep without seeing them.

Maybe you could go back to pretending things are perfect, with the same conviction you had before.

Maybe if you tore up her life,

The way she smiled at you as she tore up yours,

You could sleep through the night.

That Type of Girl

I’m “that type of girl.”

The type who travels with poetry in her bag, right next to the comics.

The type who carries a sketchbook whenever she goes, because drawing is the only way to make sense of the world.

The type who’s alone in a group, watching everything.

The type who worries later, after opening up, that those who heard her won’t invite her again.

The type that carries a flask for a good time, because at least the light buzz will remove the anxiety, the uptightness, the constant worry over the smallest things.

The type who wants to be “the type” and yet rails and rallies against what it could mean.

The type who wants to be “cool” and “light” and “easy-going” but can’t even decide what to eat for lunch without weighing a hundred variables, including nutritional value, fullness, and financial cost.

Who reads feminist theory on the train, trying to understand why men can be so cruel, and women so catty.

Who is sexual, expriemental, and firery, but has also been seen as sexual, experimental, and easy.

Who defends the girl that can’t stand up for herself, even if no one was there to defend her.

Maybe that’s why she defends them.

Who sees others who need help, and stops.

Always stops.

Always stays until they don’t need her, and then becomes strangers to them when they decide she’s too much.

Who stares at the people who hurt her, and wonders how it was her fault, just to feel like she has some control.

Who wants to do better.

Wants to change the world.

Wants to be champion of all.

Butt doubts anyone really cares.

Oppression Olympics Part I

I have been jeered at, on the street, for my legs, my chest, because busty looks best, and yes, I may be twelve, but with a body like a woman’s, I’ll do just fine for the man who wants to satisfy himself.

But I’m not a minority.

I have been attacked, in a room, because “we were in the mood,” and I was dumb enough to think that in this “post-feminist” world, I could be alone with a man, say no, and be heard. I tried to justify this guy, who happened to be “less white” than I (as he put it), but two weeks and five meltdowns later realized, I was violated and victimized.

But I am not a minority.

I have been cornered and pursued, innocent as it may seem to onlookers, by a man I danced with at a party, as if the movement of my hips equals an invitation in. As if a kiss is permission for the hand to slip in wherever it wants to go, because my boundaries are never as important as the log he needs to show.

But what do I know of oppression?

The color of my skin, light as it may be, didn’t stop the man in a café just off the street, from shaking my hand, and upon hearing my name, asked “where are your people from?” He didn’t let go of my hand, and stared waiting for an answer as I struggled, understanding why I was supposed to obey this total stranger. “That’s a pretty personal question to ask someone you just met!” I said, nervous laughter shaking my core, and still he didn’t let go of my hand where I sat. Instead he asked again, and upon my rejection of giving him his desired information, he said “it could be looked up,” and finally relinquished his grip to turn to my male friend and introduce himself again.

“Where are your people from?”

“What are you?”

“Are your parents terrorists?”

These are the questions of strangers in the street, and men in dark corners, and leery classmates, and friends and their siblings, who know just a little of the world, and little enough to be dangerous.

But I am just a “white girl” so what do I know?