She put her self-worth in other people’s hands.
And for an instant she lost her selectivity and
Irrepressibility. They swallowed it up, weapons
Ready to go, reducing her to breasts, and she thought
That they were her only asset and presented them
Proudly, drowning under the pain, within herself,
The skin, the broken heart, the need for love, laid bare.
She put her hopes in her breasts, she saw their short-lived
Attention spans and how it worked for bits and pieces of
Moments, always out of control, no language, no affection,
Drooling and staring, reducing her as she was reducing herself.
And they would be drawn, as swiftly as they could blink
And ejaculate, to the legs of another girl, performing the same
Trick, accentuating and presenting what she had been reduced to.
Displaying her legs proudly, her perishable accessory, and envy
Would arise, comparison and lack, self-criticism, never-ending,
The self-loathing voices boiling beneath the courteous smile.
One girl competing with the other, breasts against legs, instead
Of walking away together, whole, instead of trying to impress
Superficial boys who didn’t give a shit about who they were deep inside.
I have seen so many girls do this, I did it too. We always
Saw each other as competitors for the attention of
Rotten boys. For their approval. Their rating system.
Their undressing us with their eyes, all of them,
Smacking their lips, pants bursting, and we would take
It as a compliment, as a stamp of approval, of existence.
It meant the world when it should never have mattered at all.
The girls standing there in the middle, not saying a word,
Holding their bodies in an unnatural posture, eyes glued
To their breasts, asses and mouths, disembodied, becoming
A fantasy, body parts, Frankenstein’s creature, at the boys’ will.
Girls pretending to be the centre of attention, one better than
The other, judgemental and backstabbing, holding grudges
Behind smiles, calling each other names, imitating boys,
To please and please, accommodate boys, nurturing their
Comfort zones. And there would be the full-package-girl.
The one overshadowing all the others. And they’d feel dead inside,
The teenage brain full of extremes, falling apart at the sight of her.
It never ends, show more flesh, push up the breasts even more,
Put on a more effective lipstick, dye the hair blonde, get an operation,
Lose weight, their heads would explode, they’d never believe
That they were the real deal, that they had hearts and souls, bodies
That were healthy and carried them everywhere, that they had to love
Themselves first and forever, not beg undeserving boys for attention
And leave it up to them.
It hurts to think of those girls, how empty and invisible they felt.
That they could never be themselves. That they’d never stick together.
Repeating what they had seen, imitating how women treat each other
And interact with men. How broken it all was. And how they’d walk
Home, arms crossed, trying to not burst, trying to contain the heartache
In their rib cage.