What We Wear

Does it matter how I dress?

Can you see my soul

From the definition of my thigh

Through the tightness of my pants

Or read my history

From the shadow of my collar

Framed by the neckline of my blouse?

 

Tell me this,

Would you think any more

Or less of me

Based on the length of my skirt

Or the laced strap of my bra

Showing under my

Summer spaghetti straps?

Would the steady rhythm

Of your heart change

If my booty was covered

In fuzzy sweats

Or falling out

Of frayed shorts?

How does it make you feel?

The sexiness of my

Of my waist

That I made you notice

With a crop top

 

More importantly still

Should I care?

Should I care what you think

A stranger

A passer by

in a never ending list of passers by

Not a friend

Or colleague

Not someone I

Know, love,

Or care to impress

Do I allow myself

To consider and lose sleep

Over your comparatively meaningless thoughts

Everytime I open my closet?

Everytime I pull on my socks?

 

The grade school teachers

And animated television programs

Told me I shouldn’t.

They say to be

You

They say to be

Unique

They tell me I’m

Beautiful

But none of the girls on TV

None of them look like me

They don’t have curves like me

Don’t have

Hair like me

They don’t wear the clothes

That I have

So where does that

Leave me?

 

I was a bit confused

But I had no choice

You have to wear clothes each day

And so sun by rising sun

I built myself up

From hand-me-downs

And thrift shop finds

Not always succeeding

Some outfits were scratchy

Some too warm for the weather

Some all the wrong colors

But bit by bit

I found what I liked

I wanted to be pretty

Like the girls in magazines

But even more

I wanted to be me

And with my clothes

I would show

That I am me

And me is pretty me

 

And what I found

Is that when I wear

A shirt too tight

One that accentuates

My breasts just right

With a pair of satin heels

That make my legs

Supermodel long

I feel as though

my fingertips could brush the sun

But my mom tells me

No no no

And I don’t understand

With an eyebrow raised

She sends me away

back to my room

With an accusatory finger

And accusatory tones

As though I’ve

Done something wrong

As though I should

Be ashamed

Of wanting to look sexy

To look pretty

 

Is it so abhorable to want

Such things?

Because I do

And my friends do

Whether we like it or not

This society will give us

The validation

The nodding heads of approval

And the piercing eyes of

Admiration

When I dress

In slimming black

Or smear red across my lips

I feel like goddess

I my chariot of gold

And of course

I like it

Because they’re smiling at me

Me as pretty me

The pretty me I made

 

Then my mom says I’ll be raped

And I get scared

Confused confused confused

How could this be true?

I’m just wearing the clothes

I’ve seen in the stores

I’m just copying the mannequins

And sitcom characters

I thought I looked good

I felt good

Confident and flawless

And now I’m

Scared, shy, and nervous

Terrified at the possibility

Of something so terrible

Happening because of something as simple

As what I wear

And I’m afraid it’ll be my fault

I chose these clothes after all

To tell you

Who I am

These clothes are me.

Now I’m riddled with

Insecurities

That you would want to hurt me

For me being

Pretty me