Hair

Hair

I was born with straight, brown hair. For the longest time, I thought it was boring. I thought to myself, wow, what I would give to have hair with a story behind it. Hair that bounces and speaks something of the personality of the person it is a part of. I wanted hair that I could twirl around my finger without looking like I’m spinning spaghetti around my fork. My curly hair friends exclaimed that my hair must be so easy to brush. I thought to myself Yeah, that’s true I guess. But I still want hair the bounces and curls around my face. That must be better. It’s different from boringness of straight brown hair that looks like a mouse might share. My curly haired friends grew up and got keratin treatments to tame their manes, and I had trouble understanding it. I didn’t get why they all wanted my hair. One day, I was brushing it after getting out of the shower at a friend’s house. She was amazed that my hair dried so straight and manageable without using expensive serums or special conditioners. I had always swiped the ones from hotels because I never gave a second thought to the conditioner I used in my hair. They all left it the same: straight, with a glossy shine. I imagined all the hours my curly haired friends had spent in front of a mirror, desperately trying to get a brush unstuck. It was extra effort I didn’t even have to think about. And that my friends is exactly how privilege works. Hair might not be that serious to you, so You can apply this story as an allegory to racial privilege, heterosexual privilege, male privilege, or socioeconomic privilege. They’re things we’re born with, like our hair. But those who have the advantage at birth often don’t understand the people who don’t. It’s part of our privilege of education that we learn about it.

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Taste Your Words

Taste Your Words

Things are getting bad again

Words start to feel like stones

And hugs like suffocation

While hazy moments of laughter

Cover the emptiness of my chest.

You’re not full, argues my stomach

You’re broken, says my heart

Every line that has been spoken to me

Telling me how to define myself

Comes back into my mind

Like a fog that deepens in the night.

Just keep your opinions to yourself sometimes

You’re actually smart?

No boy will want to listen to all that.

Crazy feminist bitch.

If you just worked on your stomach a little…

Try being less sensitive.

Get over yourself, it’s not all about you

Calm down, you’re being wild

You’ve been dating for 8 months, don’t you think you owe it to him?

 

I don’t like the way your words affect me

But I wish you tasted them too

Society Against Feline Abuse

Society Against Feline Abuse

Safa means ‘safe’ in Farsi

She explained as

We made the trek down

From the ranch house to the barn.

By the time we reached the bottom of the hill

The paint cans in our hands were boulders

And we set to work with rollers,

Covering the old wood the color of the open sky

And changing the decrepit and forgotten place

Into a home.

Four beaming eyes with pupils the size of saucers

Still slink away from me.

I know they’ve been hurting

And I know that they’re scared

But I don’t pretend to know what it feels like

To have your life in someone else’s hands.

But that’s why we’re here.

To open our arms

To make a home

To open some souls up to life.

I won’t surrender

I won’t surrender

I ask myself

Why I push you away

And why I wait for hugs to end.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because

The last time I lost myself in someone

He twisted me and then spit me back out

Because I believed in waiting.

I wasn’t ready for him to force me down

But he did and no words can bring me back to that moment

He copied me by waiting patiently

For the moment to strike.

The moment when I was slow to react.

When I accepted the culture of the party life

And being with an older guy

And losing who I was to a bottle of Malibu.

In one moment, he shoved me down

And with me, my sense of self.

No, I’m not ashamed anymore.

When I’m proud of myself now,

It’s because I fought a boy who tied my worth

To my body

A boy who disregarded my freedom with one simple hand.

So I hope you get it.

Why when someone has complete control over me

I just don’t want to surrender so easily.

So I hope you get it

Why it took me a while to like your hugs.

Changed in a Moment

Changed in a Moment

Thin and skeletal wrists protrude out of a jacket much too large for her and grasp the black leather bound around the thin driving wheel much too tightly. Eyelids heavy with sleep close for a moment and then open again, somehow even more like slits than before they closed.

A pre-made playlist from the browse section plays from Hannah’s phone. The playlist is called, “Have a Good Day!” The exclamation is for emphasis, as if a well-wisher wouldn’t have completed his job if he hadn’t added that specific punctuation to the playlist she specifically seeks out. Soft beats and strums of the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” leak out of the sound system, filling her metal box sanctuary with the happy go lucky anthem. Her obsessively repetitive toe tapping attempts to follow the repetitive rhythm of the song but makes no progress in matching its relaxed beat.

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun

And I say it’s alright

The light changes back to ready and hopeful green, yet still Hannah does not move a toe. Honks and swerving pursue as angry cars with somewhere to be and somewhere to go get tired of dealing with her problems. They all leave without asking why she stays. They are only angry that she does stay. Finally, she accelerates and turns and keeps moving without so much as slowing down until she stops inside a diagonally painted box. An artificially lit green sign looms over the store’s parking lot. She goes into the store, but leaves just as quickly. They couldn’t help me, she reasons.

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter

Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Desperate to leave and return to the exclusivity of a book tucked behind blankets, she shifts to reverse and bends the wheel to get out of the tight space. A fraction of a second away from turning the wheel back to the direction she wants to go, another driver enters her life. He doesn’t see her sitting there in her silver car that was paid for by weekends of sacrificed time, suffering through a few measly dollars of tips. Honking ensues from the panicked young girl and the car behind her waiting for her spot, watching the miserable and panicked scene unfold. The man doesn’t heed her warning, and his car bumps the back of hers. It’s not catastrophic or earth shattering or any of the usual things that usually constitute an influential moment. It’s a bump.

The man with the growing white beard apologizes profusely, citing numerous excuses for his lack of looking to see that she was there. That she existed in that space at that time.

“It’s okay,” she lamented, forcing a smile to make the man feel better.

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces

Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here

It’s All Right.

The moment is yet more proof that the moments that break people aren’t necessarily extraordinary or consequential or obviously influential. Hannah’s car is undented and pristine on its outside as she flees the scene of the mix-up, but its interior is breaking down, as are the lives of countless high school students across the nation confronted with interior disorders.