Sticks and stones

Sticks and stones
May break my bones
But words will never hurt me.
When I was younger,
I used to wonder:
How could beings
As majestic and proud
As the faultless adults
Tell such lies?
For surely that's what
They were.
Lies.
After all,
How could the pain
Of a broken bone
Compare to an even deeper pain,
The kind that comes with the feeling
Of being so unloved?

I am tall.
I know this, and it used to be something
To be proud of.
I liked my height,
I loved the feeling
Of being able to
Hold my head high
And have the world at my feet.

But then came school.

For some,
School is a place of learning.
A place to meet new friends
And play with the old.
For some,
It was just another challenge to go through,
Just another menial roadblock.

For me, though,
It was a battlefield.
I was the target of whispers
And rumors,
Of stares and pointed fingers.

Look,

They would say,

Look at that girl.
Why does she smile so much?

I liked smiling...
Isn't a smile preferable to tears?

Why does she
Bounce around so much?

I loved learning new things...
That excitement just escaped me.

Why is she
Always singing to herself?

I love music.
Is that so wrong?

Why, oh why
Is she so TALL?

...Isn't my height
Something to be proud of?

I grew up in a school
Where you must fight
To prove your worth.
A school where the teachers
Could care less about their charges.

Where if you don't change,
You don't survive.

It's not acceptable for a girl
To play with Lego dolls.

It's not fitting
For me to love pink.

It's not proper
For a girl to want to play
With boys.

She reads?
What a nerd.

She doesn't do well in math?
She's so stupid.

She draws animals on her work?
Let's all point and laugh.

She surrounds themselves with dolls
And books
To escape into a world
Without her pain?
What
A
Freak.

What,

I would cry silently.

What do you want me to do?

I would sob myself to sleep.

Who

I would lock myself away
And throw away the key.

Who do you want me to be?