By: Gaby Wackford (first-ever middle school submission!)
Under the Theme: Week of the Girl (October 2014)
It’s dark and musty. Spiderweb-filled corners and dust-covered floors. Your ordinary unused basement. The steps were cool underneath my bare feet, and I knew my father would be unhappy about my dirt- covered soles, but it was worth his wrath to come down here. I treaded carefully, avoiding wood splinters and pipes as best as I could. I reached the back of the basement and turned into an unseen room. The few windows that let light in through their thick, clouded glass are all facing the stairs. The room at the back of the basement is invisible to the eye. The doorway in the corner of the room sits, looking like the rest of the wall, dark concrete. I found it by accident. Like a lot of nice things in my life, it appeared by accident. I use my hands to feel around the room till I find the old metal chair pushed up against the wall. I would sit on the floor, but without light the floor might as well not exist. I’m floating on air in a room with four walls but no ceiling or floor. Four walls I only know are there because I’ve run into them. The metal chair is cold and hard. Most people would call it unconformable; it’s stiff, but I feel relaxed in it. I feel calm. I curl up into a ball on top of the chair and stare and stare, at the abyss.
Dark inside other layers of dark. One on top of the other. And in this dark I think and think some more. And finally when I’ve thought enough, I cry. It doesn't do much. I know that.
It doesn't fix anything at all. Nevertheless I still cry. I cry and cry until my clothes even feel it; wet soaked shirt clings, and I still cry until my head hurts and begs for water. And even when my heads pounds and I have snot-covered sleeves, I still cry. I cry for stupidity.
Stupidity is harsh. It’s a harsh word and it’s a harsh thing. It describes what we’ve done. We’ve done great things, beautiful, powerful, mind blowing things. Things I’m so proud of I could hold my head up and yell to the stars “I’m Human! I’m part of this world!” But we have also done stupid things. So many stupid things. The reason I cry is for the stupidity that has buried itself deep and safe and comfortable into our skulls. The blindness that we have. A blindfold over our eyes that tells us the world is a certain way and nothing is going to change that. That somethings are right and somethings are wrong. This is the way, because that’s how the universe works. It just is.
So I cry because of that blindness, and I cry because of that stupidity. Though I know you probably still think it wrong for me to call all of us stupid.
One of the reasons I cry, the stupidity that I have seen and the blindness I have felt is because I am alive in a world where you can make a mistake when your born.
I cry because of this:
I cry because my cousin can’t go to school, while her brothers can. I cry because her younger sister is stuck doing dishes while her brothers study.
I cry because there is injustice and ineqaulity, between man and women. Even the name women. Its like were different from a human. An addition.
I cry because despite being able to get an education, when I’ll need to get a job, it would help if I had been born a boy.
I cry because even though part of this world has torn the blindfold off, they continue to see as though it's there.
I cry because my cousin will be expected to take care of children, cook, and clean. Keep house. She won’t be given the choice to be what she wants.
I cry because even here I can’t join the team that plays the bigger games. The one that makes it into the newspapers and gets their photo taken. I can join the other team. The one that you only hear about ever so often-that isn’t as grand, it’s smaller. Simpler. Expectations lowered.
I cry because we keep the world this way.
I cry because we can’t blame someone or something, or a group for this.
I cry because we have nothing to fight against. Nothing to lash words out at. Nothing to hit. We are our enemy. It’s us. Ourselves.
I cry because though boys are “superior” they aren’t the enemy or the cause of the injustice we’re trying to fight.
I cry because even though we say something we still think something else and we give our thoughts to our children.
I cry because even though we are the “victims” of this injustice, and we say we are the same, we don’t think it.
I cry because we still wear uncomfortable shoes. We still wear makeup, and beauty magazines are still in business. We expect to be asked out, and to be proposed to. To be asked out on a date and for him to pay for our meal. I mean how ridiculous would it be if I girl asked a guy to marry her?
I cry because we don’t give a second thought to the rules.
I cry because girls can wear skirts, sparkles and glitter, bows in their hair. And lace. They can be “girly”. They can also wear “boys clothing”. They can be a tomboy and nobody gives them a second glance.
I cry because to girls, cross dressing means nothing. They can be “boyish” or “girly”. Boys are raised to be tough. No skirts for you. Sure you can be a father. Just make sure you're not just that. You need a job, you can’t stay home all day. You better hope you’re strong or smart, but mostly strong. No being girly.
I cry because as long as your skinny, girls, you don’t need to work out or actually do exercise. Guys on the other hand, well you guys are supposed to be in shape.
I cry because I’m still hearing these very inaccurate sentences. “You throw like a girl!” “You scream like a girl!” “You run like a girl!”.
I cry. We say we think this is wrong, yet we expect boys to impress us with their dangerous tricks. We giggle and make ourselves cute. We expect the boys to toughen up and punch stuff. Girls can be mothers and stay at home. Boys are supposed to go and find work. A mother should be supporting her family financially if the father is gone. Gone gone. Otherwise the father supports the family.
I cry because even though we say we want to change, we stay where we are.
We all point guns at each other. Thinking that if we move the others will shoot us.
That everyone else believes in this and thinks it's right.
We say stuff out loud that we don’t mean. To show everyone you're part of the team. They say stuff as well. None of you change. You change your position when you think everyone else did. You uphold tradition without realizing it. You don’t change because nobody else is.
In short, I cry because there is an injustice.But the boys are to blame just as much as the girls. And the girls are to blame just as much as the boys. We try to make a change, the way we think we are supposed to make a change. We try to correct what we think is the problem, but we have to fix our image of the problem first.
I don’t just cry in sadness though.
I also cry because I’m happy if we’ve even done something. Something to make a change in the way we think of the difference between boys and girls.
I cry because I am so happy that there are boys out there that have trashed the image society gave them and told them to be.
I cry in happiness that it’s not only the girls who are changing the way they think they should be seen, but boys are changing the way that they think they should be seen as well. That both genders are changing the way they look at each other.
All of us need to change the way we see.
I uncurl myself, and slowly get to my feet. I use my hands to find the doorway and stare at my feet as I walk up the wooden stairs, wiping tears as I go. I stop at the last step, right in front of the door that opens up to the hall. I feel something settle inside of me and I look up. I plaster a smile on my face, open the door, and step through it. Going and facing humanity again, like I have every day of my life. I have many more things to cry about, I’ll be back in my dark room in a metal chair. There I can cry about anything that deserves to be cried for, but until then, I’ll just smile and pretend the world isn’t remotely as messed up as it is. Thats what I do everyday, I pretend, I act, I smile and laugh. Right after I come out of the basement, it’s a fake smile. A forced laugh. After a awhile I pretend like nothing is wrong and automatically, my smile is real and I can’t stop laughing. There are a whole lot of things wrong in this world, but sulking doesn’t help. Neither does crying. But I cry anyways. For the horrible things we have done and can do, and for the beautiful things we have done and can do. It doesn't do much, but I cry anyways.