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.