Not able to see beauty in the mirror, trapped in scrutiny, she looks and sees nothing. Fluorescent lies to blind, criticisms pushed behind plastic eyes, she tries to hide the natural response. Because what she sees is not like the stuff she sees in magazines – flawless, serene and a man by their side. [sigh] “Why have I not found my prince?” she winces, letting go of the story just an inch even though the book’s been re-written:  “it’s ok to be different.”

Sure, if you don’t care to fit in.

Sitting across the table, she studies her, unable to stop comparing, wishing for what she lacks, questioning her path, looking back and asking: if she had done one thing different, one thing better, would she have ended up like her, so much steadier? Apparently sure in her disposition, clear strong and pure, a never seen beauty before. Certainly not in the glass that she looks, hooked on that fact that she’s not these things that belong to the other.  That she could never rise above.

Most places she goes she does not belong, she’s always wrong, not strong willed, confidence easily killed. And even though they say she’s ok for this, she feels she wasn’t made for this: anything hard, with risk… “she’s fragile and should not resist.”

She hears and sees what she’s supposed to be, afraid to fight the image laid out, clearly. She consumes the thoughts fed to her – blush blood runs redder – she applies, eats the lies. At the end of her tether, pulled by two different sides, she cries, afraid to experience rage more comfortable in a hand-crafted cage, reading the script, not skipping a page.

She succumbs, slips into the role she’s been handed, inside it she’s stranded, her truth abandoned, mind dulled, feelings nulled, false sense of serenity from the lulling of doubt, nursing herself inside out till she no longer knows what she’s about.

She sits still, waits, until it’s her turn, unable to learn, incapable of discerning her thoughts from those sold, the ones that have taken ahold of her and folded her, real stories untold.

Her image is cold to her the glass reflecting a mold of her, smoldering potential to be more, aggressive, not passive… to live by taking action, have affects that are lasting, not just be a reaction. To take more than what she’s been rationed.

But how can she be strong when she’s meant to be weak?
How can she see beauty when she can’t be unique?
Be heard, when she feels she can’t speak?
There’s no choice but to sit, voice muted, perfectly suited even though she’s boiling beneath having a fit.

No one sees, no one cares a bit.

Hannah Cullen, 2014