Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Girl is Easy to Be

A girl is easy to be.
It’s like playtime, make believe, dress up, fantasy.
Try on mom’s shoes and lipstick.
Discard them for a brother’s matchbox cars or video games.
Play with Barbies’ when the girls come over.
Climb trees with boys when the girls go home.
Ride bikes with anyone in the neighborhood streets until the sun goes down
And it’s time for bed.
Hide out in the tree house alone.
Solitude. Privacy. Simplicity.
Pitch a tent in the yard for a mini-vacation.
Crawl back into house into bed before the sun even comes up.

I drew for hours. And painted. And created things unique.
I jumped fences, and puddles, and roof to roof.
Collected stickers and bracelets.
Dug up worms and caught salamanders, too.
Caught a fish once. Hated it. Sent it back in tears.
Put beads on safety pins and pinned them to shoelaces.
Pretended I was a waitress, a teacher, a shopkeeper, a dancer.
Dozens of key-chains and no keys. Had nothing to lock.
Loved cats and squirrels and rabbits and toads.
Fifty animals on my bed, I once counted, all stuffed and smiling at me.
Silent friends. Confidants. Companions.
Never cared about messy or dirty or watching too much TV.
No limits or boundaries or inhibitions or fear.

But a woman, that’s different.
Every feature, a judgment. Every gesture, an indication.
Complexity. Irony. Self-Consciousness replace playtime.
Videos exchanged for video games. Real cars for toy cars.
Lipstick, a statement. No lipstick, a statement.
What will they think? What are they thinking? What do they see? Why can’t they see?
No tents in the yard. No worms in my hands.
Trees are not climbed. Fences not jumped.
Boots or high heels? Long hair or short? Skirt or pant suit? Padded bra or T-shirt?
A man in the bed instead of fifty old friends.
Beads and stickers and painting seem pointless.
Dozen keys, no key chains. Locks everywhere on everything.

There is an opposite of me somewhere I’m sure.
No tattoos, perhaps. Fake breasts or long hair to the floor.
Is she a virgin, a mother, a Buddhist Nun in Tibet?
Maybe Med school or Law school or the Peace Corps suits her.
She is me and I am her. All the choices I didn’t make.
With every moment, a thousand of me, all living, all multiplying.
A thousand directions. A thousand patterns. A thousand lives unlived.
It’s still like playtime, make believe, dress up, fantasy,
But they all think it’s real. All except me.
The art of being a woman is empty.
There is something greater in the girl it was so easy to be.

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