Each of the experiences in this piece are real but they are not all mine. They are based on real things said to some of my friends who shared them with me.
I stretch and bend and twist and turn
To remove that unsightly body hair
To look shiny and smooth and feminine
And follow the paid photoshopped actress
Who makes a V with her fingers
Telling me, victory lies not within.
I stretch and twist and turn in bed,
Staining the sheets, guilty again.
Should have lied still.
I lie still, years later, his words etched in my brain;
You put that ‘thing’ inside. You’re not a virgin.
Tiny ‘thing’; sanitary product & crusher of egos.
I stretch and twist and turn and bend
My dreams. Ambitions. Goals.
‘Aeronautical Engineer’- I laugh to myself,
As I stretch the atta for the gol roti,
Teaching my daughters
To dream bigger than myself.
I stretch and twist and turn and bend,
My facial muscles tired
“You’re good at your job- but that’s it”
“Smile more for that big promotion”
Always too aggressive/too submissive
“Wear a skirt for that big meeting will you?”
Stretchmarks on my belly
Stitches on my nether-lands,
The weight of the world,
Twisting/Turning/Bending me still.
They encourage me to go on and say
“You can do this. Be a man.”