Tilted eyes meet mine and I shamefully look back down at my sweaty palms. I can feel the stare sliding over my face, down my back, across the tight pulls of my orange dress across my curves. It feels like slime, like mold spores crawling across my skin. My neck stiffens but I doubt any eyes that greasy would notice.
Knots in my stomach, I feel them even without a single hand laid on me. I can feel the eyes, see the hunger and desperation. I don’t know if I should feel repulsed or scared. Maybe a little of both. But still the only thing I can do is crawl into the darkest corners of myself and become nonexistent for the present. Pull at the hem of my dress, walk on. Keep going.
I imagine my eyes hardening from softly lit windows to unbreakable marbles strong enough for any play. Glassy and inanimate. And my skin isn’t mine so long as it’s crawling with the eyes of strangers. It feels cold and the hairs on my arms stand on end. Still, I doubt greasy eyes will notice.
I picture myself huddled up somewhere along the edges of my skull, legs curled to my chest, eyes closed, breathing heavily. In, out. In, out. Almost away from passerby’s eyes. Walk slow, walk deliberately. You do not know the weight of their stare. You do not feel the weight of their stare. You only know forward. Keep going. Almost there.
Round a corner, let my shoulders down and my bones relax. Breathe aloud for what feels like the first time in years. I made it. I’m ok. It’s ok.
But it’s not. How is it that I make myself an object of the eyes that hold me? I do not feel as if I own the very flesh I walk in so long as it’s being looked at longingly by packs of wolves in passing cars. I do not feel safe in my own skin. It doesn’t even feel like mine.
Is that ok?
Beach day with my best bitches
It’s the kind of happiness that smiles through the sadness,
and peaks through the stained streaks on your face.
Like a rainbow after a storm or a choked laugh after a cry.
I like that kind of happiness because it says this is real
this is real life and it can’t be explained so simply
you just have to grin anyways and accept that yeah,
life is hard. But yeah, you can still be ok with it.