2016, Uncategorized

The Way You Look At Me

A blue, button-up dress; short, yes
Winged eyeliner good enough to take flight
A fresh undercut
A dazzling smile
I look dressed up, but not for a date
Not for anyone except my own darn self.

A quiet bookstore.
An old acquaintance
A quick hello, from me to them
A quick hello back and then
A look  –

A judgement?
An objectification?

A swift exit
A stroll down the street
I see a nice older woman and I
Offer a smile, but before it is returned
A look –

An unsavoury opinion?
A disapproving glare?

The resounding question on my mind is

What has changed?
What is different
For you to think you have the right
To look at me like you know some dirty little secret
Like my makeup and my outfit
Somehow means something about who I am inside?

And so that is the story of how
Even though I left the house looking great
My looking great was the exact reason
For the undeserved
Unappreciated –

For the stupid, unfair way
That you looked at me
And made me feel like nothing.



The paper sits face down on the desk.
The teacher is already moving on to the people around me.
Groans of displeasure accompany fist pumps and war cries of a job well done.
The air is thick with one question: “What did you get?”

I wait until the people next to me have turned away.
Slowly, the paper is turned.
Slowly, my eyes travel upward to the numbers circled in red.
Slowly, the cogs of my brain start to spin.

It’s a good mark. A really good mark.
I absolutely cannot complain.
I worked hard for this, I know I did.

The boy on my left turns to me.
“What did you get?”
“Oh, I did pretty well, yeah.” I smile and turn away.
“No, but what was your mark?”
“A number.” I turn away again. He moves onto quizzing the girl on his left.

It’s not that I’m embarrassed.
I’m just tired of being judged for it.
“Yessssss!! I beat her!” Well done you. Jerk.
“She got that mark and I bet she didn’t even try. What a show-off.” Of course I tried, you moron.
“She doesn’t even look happy about it! Way to make me feel bad about what I got.” It’s called modesty, look it up.
“Is she seriously disappointed? With that mark? How arrogant can someone get?” I know I could do better than this. I know I can work harder than this.

But this mark, just now, this is one I’m proud of.
I know I put in the work.
I know I tried my best.
And it paid off.

But amid the mess of voices around me, only one rings clear.
The little voice that sits between my ears.
And this is what is saying:

“Well done. But… Could you do it again?”