prim and proper,
legs tucked underneath the table,
soles of my feet aching in these shoes
when i stand up,
the dress pulls taut around my waist,
falls in swaths of fabric to my knees,
and i have a sudden urge to rip it to shreds
but i can't
so i fetch the water and come back,
smile turning stale,
fury brimming inside of me
like a sixth grade science project -
i am a paper-mache volcano
filled with bitter vinegar
waiting for someone to spill the baking soda
and ignite me until i fizz over the edges of my containment,
pour wrath over the edges of the table
to stain the floor with red food coloring
but i am not allowed to erupt.
i am to be stationary,
still and quiet but pretty enough to smile
and my father says,
"Did you see that article about the woman in the paper this morning?"
and i grit my teeth,
unnoticeable behind the red lipstick concealing my lips.
"Person," i mutter, barely audible over the chatter,
and my mother turns to me,
a frown dyeing her flat, disapproving mouth.
"What?" my father says,
turns to me,
gets ready to prove me wrong.
i shake my head and stay silent
until he continues with,
"She prefers the pronouns 'they/them',"
he says and i can see the laughter bubbling inside,
as his colleagues and friends all chitter accordingly
and suddenly, i am done.
"They." i grit through my clenched teeth,
and my mother pins me down with a glare.
she mouths don't make trouble at me,
and i am forced to subside.
if i ever needed another reason
to never tell them that their good little daughter
is not their fucking daughter,
is a person, just a person,
who doesn't really want
to take shit over their place on the gender spectrum,
here is fucking is.
because it's they, not she,
and if they can't respect that,
i can't respect them.
the one time they're pointedly told the correct pronouns,
my parents choose to ignore them.
i can't open up to a father that can't use the right decriptions,
or a mother who,
when i said i didn't want to wear a dress to the party, said,
"Is it because you just don't want to, or is it a feminist issue?"
her tone implies that of the two,
she doesn't approve of either option,
but the latter will not be tolerated.
well, here's three fucking questions for you, mother,
and we'll see if you can stomach them:
firstly, is there really a difference?
secondly, why is my opinion trivial?
thirdly, ever wonder why your shitty offspring never tells you anything about themself?