sometimes I wonder
when I walk from the market
on a sunny day
in my black skirt
proud of my shadow
does the person checking
me out, revising expectations,
make it an anecdote?
sometimes I wonder
what’s on the mind of
the white driver honking
for the black middle school kids
to get out of his way
(a right he doesn’t have)
if he’ll make that an anecdote
or confirm his bias?
walk more, kids
“wow, are you a dancer?”
oopse. Maybe I showed off by stretching. I stretch that way every morning, up on my toes to reach the ceiling some day, and then down to touch the floor.
“uh, no,” I said shyly.
“You’re very flexible, for a guy…”
The mirror reveals to me what she says. I am a stick figure.
I should have said thank you, but all I thought was, I look like a guy. I had forgotten.
Until, finally, the class started and I could focus on following the teacher, get on my tippy toes, get my long legs up on the barre and stretch. Ballet barre is great, there is no performance in it. I don’t need the mirror. I am flexible, for a person who was barred from ballet by gender rules.
“Ma’am!” says the voice calling me for attention.
“Sir!” says the same voice once I show my face.
You could say it’s my fault for not applying make up, neglecting to wear earrings, what else?
I was happy at “Ma’am”
And “Sir” sounded like a correction I didn’t need.
Welcome to my new blog! I hope to find something to say about my journey, but sorry if I bother you, you don’t have to read anything here!
“Sorry to Bother You” is also the title of an awesome movie filmed near where I live. In it, the protagonist learns that if he changes his voice when making telemarketing calls, he can sell people anything. It is funny and sad at the same time, because he becomes rich and famous while losing his identity. It resonates with me because I find that I have spent most of my life making sure that I conform to expectations, and I expect to be rejected if I don’t. My version of “sorry to bother you” is, when approaching someone, to approach silently and submissively until the person notices my presence.
But recently I have come to realize that I am happier if I define myself without conforming to the expectations that I have learned since I was a child. Especially because the people who have implanted those expectations in me are long gone (yet I have siblings who carry them on as well). Also because I see (and read about) younger people who showed variances in gender expression when they were little, who have been able to build (to varying degrees) their own gender web (that’s a term coined by Dr. Diane Ehrensaft in her book The Gender Creative Child – I think everyone should read it!).
Last Thursday I had the chance to be at a poetry reading by Ari Banias, and I thought I might resume writing poetically, which for the purpose of this blog would be an ideal form. However I will warn readers (sorry to bother you) that everything is going to be a draft. Hey, it’s free, and the words may be read more widely than if they were printed in a book. If and when I choose to publish something (in print, or the equivalent), it will have been revised several times to the point it won’t be the same at all.
Thanks for reading! I’ll make sure you can write back in comments!