Like the kind her daddy wore
It made him look regal, and handsome, and strong
And she wanted to feel powerful too.
“Don’t be crazy,” they said, and handed her a dress.
“This is what girls wear.”
So she held herself straight in the pink corset
Trying not to think of doctors, and presidents, and kings.
In seventh grade, she met a girl who took her breath away
Hair like the sun and eyes like the sea
Her heart would beat fast and she would smile every day
She thought that she might be in love.
“It’s just a phase,” they said, and handed her a bible.
“Girls only like boys.”
So she danced with a boy and let him kiss her
Trying not to think of rosy cheeks and glossy lips.
Sweet sixteen, and she found solace in stories
Adventures, and heroes, and noble quests
She wrote and drew and dressed as the characters she loved -
An expression of everything she was and wanted to be -
And she wanted to show the world what she’d created.
“Fangirls are crazy,” they said. “No one will take you seriously.”
So she took her stories and pictures and hid them away
Trying not to think of princesses in towers who would always be rescued.
The magazines were everywhere - the mall, the library, the school
“Too skinny,” they said, “too fat, too tall, too short, too loud, too quiet.”
“Here’s what boys like and here’s what they hate.”
“Be yourself, but not like that.”
Her clothes were all wrong, her hair was all wrong, her body was all wrong
She cried into her baggy sweatshirt, and the sleeves hid the cuts on her arms.
So she marked herself again when no one could see
Trying not to think of clear skin and a smaller waist.
She went to parties because she was told how to make friends
But she was never taught how to say no
His hands were like vices, his mouth like a steel trap
She was left broken and bleeding, empty and alone.
“But what were you wearing?” they said. “If you dress like a slut, you must have been asking for it.”
So she pushed it down and didn’t mention it again
Trying not to flinch when a man walked too close.
She started college in a new city in a new state
In the spring, she dated again, hesitant and wary
This time, she kicked and screamed when he grabbed her
“Bitches are crazy,” he said to all his friends. “My ex-girlfriend is a psycho.”
Crazy. Slut. Psycho. Bitch.
She curled against the bathtub and stayed there for hours
Trying not to feel anything at all.
The cement stained red where she had thrown herself from the window
“She was so beautiful,” they said. “Such a promising future.
Why would she have done this?”
She was just crazy that way.