Dude?Fear by Prithiva Sharma

I was six, when a movie told me mice are taught to be afraid
Maybe women are not that different.

You ask me why I am such a dude, and why my strut,
Even in stilettos looks like a death march
I tell you about that time, when I first performed a slam poetry
For my aunt and all she told me was that I perform with my legs open
Too wide

I haven’t shaved in far too long
Is my excuse every time you invite me out for a party night
With a dress code that screams short dresses and shorter skirts
But in real? I refuse because I don’t want to wear a dress anymore,
Because I still can’t pinpoint that one moment when my body was turned against me,
And my grade 8th professor told me, in front of an entire class of boys
That if your skirt is above knee length, you’re asking for it, and you don’t want that.

Sometimes, I think everyone should get waxed because the only difference
Between my legs and theirs and is that they have more hair.

Shame comes running at me at 12 miles an hour
(In reality, it was a total of 5 minutes it took her to walk up to me
But I didn’t notice because I was reading lesbian smut online)
(The internet is the only person who knows my fantasies)

So, she comes at me and I didn’t know how to dodge it
Because, um, lesbian fantasies?
So I looked at her, followed her gaze, nodded,
And tucked my bra strap in

(I wanted to crack a Victoria’s Secret joke, but my bra was from an
Unknown brand, which, as the salesman told me,
Will be only one to box my breasts)

When I got a skin infection at the underside of my left breast,
I could not wear bras for a month straight.
So I started wearing too loose T-shirts bought from the men’s section
And realized, hey, you can’t see my belly fat or my breasts in it
And hey, it covers me without boxing me in and hey,
This is too much a dude outfit, dude!

See, I was way too young
When I saw more than heard,
That my body is a time bomb that ticks
In someone else’s pants
It blasts not when I want, which is a shame because I am the bomb

Maybe this is reason why they have added ‘bomb’ to
“The Comprehensive List of Words That Can be Used to Harass Women”

We are sitting in the cafeteria at lunch time, and Regina George
Is distressed because her diet isn’t working
(Weddings are hard because you have to plan them,
But they are harder because you have to fit into the dress)

I think, hearing someone fat shame you should be a part of a self-motivation book,
Titled “How to Lose Fat 101”
Because words can cut through however many layers of epidermis there are,
And make your calories burn into themselves

(I don’t say this to Regina, and instead we spend the next 15 minutes
Of our lunch trying to name her food babies)
(We ignore the fact that when her fiancé sees her belly,
She may never have real babies) (at least with him)

I became a dude when I was still a little girl,
Learning to jump around without her breasts taking
Too much of space in their vision field,
Till I stopped trying and instead, started learning
How to become the vision fielding said field

See, I thought boys had a gun in their pockets.
Now, I know boys have guns in their pants,
Which shoot whenever they want, at me, at someone else,
At least where I live

(Yeah, we really need gun laws)

I’m scared of being scared, and also of not being scared
I’m scared of short dresses and too hairy legs
And so, my brain googled a defence mechanism, which is called,
Being one of the boys

I say all this, in one breathe and you look at me for 1.46 seconds,
Yes I was counting, and then you said,
Boys are closer in vicinity to boys
Chances of harm: increased by 45%,
Ratio of survival: 46/64

(You can never be one of them long enough be unharmed your whole life)
(Live like a girl)

I threw away the most loose tee I had, and started shining my stilettos.
Tomorrow is LBD day with a strut that will kill, without looking like a death march.

 

Prithiva Sharma is a 20 year old student from India, currently on the verge of graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature. You will always see her whining and procrastinating, all the while fretting over getting everything to be perfect. She writes, a lot, for her course, for her friends, for her mind and for 3 AMs in the morning. Her work has previously been published in Germ Magazine, Brown Girl Magazine, Vagabond City, among others. She is also a regular contributor at Rose Quartz Magazine, and a blog columnist at Headcanon Magazine. You can find her work somewhere on the internet, just spell the name right!

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