Stay out of trouble.
Don’t cross the line.
No one asked you.
Stay in your place.
Know your place.
Respect them even if they don’t deserve it.
Disrespect yourself for them.
That’s it. That’s how you do it.
Cover your cuts.
Stretch your face and contort your corners for them.
That’s what’s best.
Yeah, now you’ve got it.
No, that’s ok, I’ll stand.
Now laugh. You’ve heard this joke before. This is the part where you laugh.
Now lay down.
You know how.
No one needs to teach you.
So what if it feels funny.
This is natural and if it’s uncomfortable it’s because you don’t get it.
You don’t know how?
Everyone else does.
Can’t you see that?
Don’t your see their teeth when they smile?
Their houses are clean.
Look how small her plate is.
Is that all she’s eating?
Isn’t she hungry? Doesn’t she have the insatiable craving for satisfaction like I do? Surely she’s better than I. I bet her car is newer and never a dust particle has landed on her floor. Her hands are smooth and she takes good care of them. All of them: the children, her lover, and her things. Things! Things! She has more and they are clean. That means something, right? She doesn’t toss and turn in bed. When she spends a dollar it doesn’t feel like selfishness. It doesn’t feel like hoarding or shame either. It probably feels like expansion. It probably feels like service to self. It probably feels like she deserves it because someone loves her enough. Who is that someone? Is it God? Or her lover or her recently departed father who left her the keys to the mansion on the hill and the gold, BMW SUV, the x5? Maybe it’s luck or hard work or focus or someone whispered in her ear, how to have everything you want. Things! That’s what makes me happy. My possessions. My dusty, beautiful and interesting things. Whisper the secret in my ear. If you don’t, I’m going to keep going to workshops and ceremonies and uncovering layers and layers of self hate so I can feel full and have room for more things.
Shiny, new, beautiful things!
I don’t need them for long. Just long enough for the excitement to fade. Just long enough to impress.
Impress on myself and others who I am.
Because people need to know who I am.
Because that will make me important and worthwhile.
So I plaster on that smile and someday I’ll own pearls.
More than just one.
And they will see me.
The little girl under the table.
They’ll see me.