Girl Thing

Girl Thing

eating ice cream

a perfect replica of erotica

her bubblegum hair is puffed and pouffed

her breasts perky and plump with night drowsies

maraschino lips and a soft unfolding

stardust on her eyelashes

glitter in her sheets

a pastel pin-up

primed for cake and candy

sugary sweet tooth

and the mint chocolate chip drips

sticky fingers, melty daydreams

a baby doll anime-eyed darling

with a perfect pussy

sculpted from the glamour mags

porcelain and pretty

a soft and sultry

sexed up Girl Thing

man.i.fester

man.i.fester 

pouffed.perfumed       performed         baby bunny face                         man.icured

                                                                                    crimped my  skin sacks  

little princess                                     eyes       blacked out for pleasure              

in the violet hourrr    i swallowed                          the fatal          the femme

i’m wearing a carcass suit to the party

and will bite my tongue       off                                                                                           when men.struation   starts                                                                      

make pretend coquetry           cuntaminating finger licks                                              

mean.while   

dead mice   spill            tumblewetly                      from spoiled hors d'oeuvres

 

i’m tight.rope.walking                    my  [          ]   out             out                                       out

                          rrrip rant                 ravish             panting heat     mr.  havetohaveit

inserrrt yourself here                      

pinkysoft                                                                                                                        above the meat

             i prefer          splinter           inked                   staple licked

envelopes pushed          stampeded

real blood in my strawberry                        jam

now my guns rrr cocked                  grotty in the vag    in    all

in all                            lack  lust  er                        

fuckus  in the male.strom

suck my grrly                         pieces             gagged             re-bound                                          shit myself       and  finally felt  prettier.

The Teenage Diaries - Navigating Femininity

I've been thinking a lot recently about my experience as a teenage girl.  After stumbling upon Petra Collins collection of photos called "The Teenage Gaze" - check them out here - and talking to two of the wonderful young girls I carpool, my mind's been filled with memories, stories, and imagery centered on the teenage years.  Nothing can compare to being a teenager - it was one of the most colorful, vivid, confusing, wonderful, tear inducing times of my life.

When I think of my time as a teenager, I remember having to start navigating femininity, and the sudden – and confusing - importance that girls/boys/society began to place on stereotypical ideas of being female.  I already wrote a little bit about undergoing the transition from girl to woman, but I want to get a little more specific with my experiences, the problems I see, and how to fix these issues.

Almost everyone I know – guys/girls – has suffered through the infamous “puberty movie.”  I remember it clearly, though bits and pieces stand out more clearly than others.  I must have been about 12, right on the cusp of teenage changes, and had been hearing stories about the dreaded video for several months prior to the actual viewing.  I remember that the boys and girls were separated, the boys shuffled off into the gym, the ladies corralled in a classroom.  We sat with our legs crossed – I was wearing a dress and recall being uncomfortable sitting on the ground - in front of an old-school television, waiting nervously as one of the teachers plunked in a VHS.  Cheesy graphics and bubbly font explained pimples and told us we’d develop hair in weird places.  There were tips on starting to shave and buying a bra.  An overly excited lady popped on screen and talked about tampons and pads, and how “No one has to know you’re on your period!”  Then the video clicked off, and our teachers passed out a miniature box of feminine products and a pamphlet on puberty. 

They then proceeded to ask some of us when we’d started our periods and what the experience had been like.  Timidly, girl after girl admitted to having started hers, each sounding increasingly embarrassed and grossed out about the blood seeping between her legs.  As the uncomfortable decision continued, I began to navigate a strange mixture of emotions.  I hadn’t begun menstruating, which, in some ways, was a relief since it sounded terrible and disgusting.  But, on the other hand, starting your period equaled “becoming a woman,” so did that mean something was wrong with me?  

Suffice to say, I didn’t know what to feel as I exited the classroom.  And things only continued to get more confusing.  When the boys and girls were reunited, things seemed different…awkward.  My guy friends looked at me funny; some of them made jokes and I couldn’t figure out whether to be upset or laugh.  I became much more aware of the differences between guys and girls.  And perhaps more significantly, I became acutely aware of the differences between myself and other girls.

In the following days, weeks, and months, I observed more and more of my peers carrying colorful tampons in their purses.  Almost all of my friends were buying bras, and I couldn’t help but notice how their clothes began to fit them differently.  Meanwhile, if you blurred out my face, I could have easily been mistaken for a boy in a skirt.  I begged my mom to let me get a bra and begin shaving my legs.

Even though my mom let me get a training bra (she said no to the shaving), I still felt unsure and perplexed about going from girl to adult.  I wanted to experience the whole “becoming a woman” thing, but couldn’t help feeling that I was lagging behind.  But on the other hand…becoming a woman sounded pretty damn unappealing and limiting.

That ridiculous video and all the hype surrounding it taught me a whole bunch of bullshit about femininity and puberty:

1.    Boobs, curves, and bleeding mean that you are becoming a woman

2.    Undergoing these changes – and only these changes – means you are normal

3.    Being normal – AKA fitting into stereotypes- is desirable

4.    But heaven forbid your hips get too big or you become undesirable

5.    If you grow hair on your legs, shave it!  No one likes a girl with excess hair.

6.    If you start your period, shove a piece of cotton up your juicebox and don’t talk about it with anyone, ever.  That’s just gross.

7.    You’re either a girl or a boy; that’s it.

8.    If you’re a girl, you like boys.  If you’re a boy, you like girls.  End of discussion.

Those are the lessons I took from a shitty, thirty-minute movie, the subsequent responses by my peers (and myself), and the mainstream thought process in society.  There’s nothing unique about this experience.  All around the US, pre-pubescent teens were shown similar videos - I desperately hope they’ve changed since my time in middle school.  I grew up in a society with an incredibly narrow definition of femininity and womanhood.  Certainly there were and are a multitude of women who think differently (my mother, many of my friends, my cousins), but unfortunately, mainstream thinking still has some catching up to do. 

It’s taken me 24 years to start understanding just how f-ed up stereotypical ideas and notions of femininity are.  As a teenager, our views of ourselves, and society, begin to form – those years are a prime time for developing ideas/insecurities/opinions/etc.  And whether your chest begins to swell or stays the same, whether you begin to get more attention or seem to go unnoticed, the effects imprint themselves on you.  In my case, I became self-conscious about my very un-womanlike figure, my inability to fulfill the standards and stereotypes presented to me, and a fear of what womanhood would be like should I ever actually reach it.  Feelings of undesirability, unattractiveness, and shame planted themselves in my deepest, darkest corners, and to this day I struggle to uproot the seeds planted during my teenage years.

My suggestion?  Instead of filling young girls heads with a singular idea of womanhood and what it means to be a girl, why the heck can’t we embrace and espouse the fact that going from girl to woman is an extraordinary process, one that doesn’t have to center around developing breasts or beginning to like boys.  Not everyone likes boys for god’s sake!  And not every little girl wants to be a girl!  There are so many nuances to femininity and sexuality that aren’t addressed!

And why not?  Are we afraid to tell young girls and boys that it’s okay to be different?  Are we afraid to accept that not everyone fits a certain mold of “girl” or “boy?”  This fear is founded in ignorance and hurts our community of young people every single day.

We also need to insist that, no matter what each individual’s experience is growing up, becoming a woman doesn’t have to be negative.  Stop telling girls they have to shave in order to be appealing.  Stop acting like menstruation is something to hide; that tampons should be bought stealthily in the self-checkout line.  In some cultures, when a girl begins her period, her female family members and friends throw her a huge party.  How awesome is that??  I one hundred percent plan on celebrating my daughter’s period – whether it’s when she’s 10 or 18 – with red and pink balloons, a cake shaped like a vagina, and a reminder that she’s an amazing human being, no matter her size, sexuality, or anything else.

We’ve made great strides over the years in promoting self-expression, acceptance, and love.  But it’s time go from striding to sprinting.  Let’s start making videos that are honest and encouraging.  Let’s start talking about this.  Let’s start making sure that teens – and adults – know that femininity has millions of ever-fluctuating definitions – all of which are right.

girl - - - - - woman (a poem)

female.png

girl - - - - - > woman

juxtaposed on the voluminous

gasp and burst

edges of unmade beds

empty envelopes, peeled apart

lust letters

budding chest, creampuffs

and hello kitty hair bows

cotton pink panties

discarded, hung on chandeliers

a wallet shaped rape kit

hello tomorrow

hello miss sexified, personified

no more milk

dark chocolate and black coffee

kiss the underside of adolescence

woman - - - - - > girl?

black sheath shucked

wait and weep

plush unicorns in closets

one last dance with daddy

before stitched back up

please and thank you but no!

a pretty struggle

a trophy wall

bruises licked

scchhhluucked like stamps

the floor is dirty

hands wet with the swell

lips warm with the friction

too late plucking pink crevices

 

grow up already

 

This poem is one that I wrote after reading Gurlesque for the first time.  It captures my reactions to my growing understanding - and subsequent confusion - regarding femininity and the stereotypes surrounding women.  I became acutely aware of my transition from girl to woman - a shift I'm still undergoing - and felt besieged by imagery regarding little girls (unicorns, the color pink, Hello Kitty hair bows) and grown women (black coffee, lust letters).  I felt an overwhelming need to write something that depicted the difficulty of going from naive girl to grownup woman -  a poem that captures innocence being shucked away.

                                                                                                  grow up?  never.

                                                                                                  grow up?  never.

Books Every Grrl Should Read - Part One "Gurlesque"

I’m an avid reader.  For as long as I can remember I’ve loved books.  I’m also an avid promoter of all things grrly and feminist.  I’m currently in the middle of an incredible non-fiction book about all things woman, and it inspired me to do several posts about my favorite female-centered books (by and for women; but men, you should definitely read them too!).

So here’s your first book review/introduction!

Gurlesque: the new grrly, grotesque, burlesque politics (poems and artwork by a variety of women, compiled and introduced by editors Lara Glenum and Arielle Greenberg).

This book completely changed my life, both personally and in regards to my writing.  I’d always been interested in gender studies and feminism, but it wasn’t until I engulfed myself in this incredible collection that I realized I could merge my poetry with gender/stereotypes/inequality/femininity/sexuality/etc.  I realized that I could charge my words with an electric current of feminism – in whatever form or style I wanted.  I could be ferocious or seductive; I could play coy or innocent.  I could make statements and challenge ideas.  I could play into stereotypes and make them implode messily.  The female writers and artists in this anthology are my literary sisters – it didn’t take me long to realize that I too was a member of the Gurlesque movement.

Speaking of which, here’s an excerpt from Arielle Greenberg’s intro describing, in her words, what the Gurlesque is:

The Gurelsque was born…in Burma and Ohio and Korea and New York and Olympia, WA and other places.  Her ancestor was Ophelia, running around singing spooky songs with her hair all drippy.  Her grandmother was Alice in Wonderland and Eloise and Ramona the Pest.  Her mom was a Second Wave feminist and a hippie and a lady who had never been to a consciousness-raising group but sometimes watched Maude and an immigrant and a farmwife and a former Girl Scout…Her aunts were Angela Davis and Nan Goldin and Hello Kitty and the Guerilla Girls and Dolly Parton and Exene Cervenka and Cindy Sherman and Poly Styrene, the fifteen-year-old multiracial girl with braces on her teeth screaming “Some people say little girls should be seen and not heard, but I say: Oh, bondage, up yours!” as she fronted the band the X-Ray Spex in a 1977 punk club.  (The Gurlesque, 1)

Every time I read that description I get the most wonderful sort of shivers.  It makes me eager to start writing, eager to call up my girlfriends, and proud to be a woman.

The Gurlesque – whether in regards to poetry, music, art, or lifestyle -  is quirky, unapologetic, controversial, beautiful and at times even repulsive.  And the women who represent it, write about it, and live it are all of these things and more.  They – I should say we - are little girls in pink tutus and seductive women in black lace; we are stuffed animals and fishnet stockings; we are rainbow glitter and birth control.  This movement and this book are about innocence and lust, pain and pleasure—female sexuality in all its chaos.  From Gurlesque poets like Glenum, Greenberg, Chelsey Minnis, and Nada Gordon, to artists like Lauren Kalman, Lady Aiko, E.V. Day, and Hope Atherton, to musicians like the women involved in the earlier and inspirational Riot Grrl movement and modern musicians (perhaps Lady Gaga, Sky Ferreira) the women of the Gurlesque are as special and as varied as their creative works.  But through writing, singing, blogging, drawing, sculpting, etc., they all explore modern femininity and what it means to be a female in today’s society. 

Whew!  It sounds amazing doesn’t it?  It really, truly is.  I strongly urge every woman to pick up a copy of The Gurlesque.  The poetry and photography are inspiring, disturbing, and eye-opening.   Every woman owes it to herself to at least learn about the Gurlesque movement

It might seem strange or even frightening at first, but trust me – the Gurlesque can change your life in a lot of crazy amazing ways.

As Greenberg says at the end of her introduction, “Take the girly.  Shake it up.  Make a milkshake.  Make it throw up.”  Let go of your inhibitions, your fears, and your insecurities.  Grab your stilettos, your tiara, your blue jeans or whatever the hell you want and READ THIS BOOK!

XOXO!

(And stay posted – my poem this week will be inspired by these writers and artists, and there will be several more book reviews in the coming weeks!)

You don't have to wear pink to by grrly; it's just my favorite color :)

You don't have to wear pink to by grrly; it's just my favorite color :)

Gurlesque (and über shiny Christmas tree lights!)

Gurlesque (and über shiny Christmas tree lights!)

the rainiest days

Today it's been rainy and overcast, which I love.  I don't handle extended periods of rainy weather well, but thunderstorms are one of my all time favorite things.  Sadly, one of CA's only faults is the lack of thunder and lightening.  So whenever we get a rainy day it immediately puts me in a certain kind of mood.  Pensive, reminiscent, a tad melancholy, but also hopeful and happy.  It's my ideal writing weather (and ideal snuggling weather), and my first instinct is to grab a huge mug of coffee, curl up a desk or table somewhere in sweatpants, and write for hours.  Rain is so inspiring.

On that note, here's my first piece of creative writing on the new blog - it's a poem called 'the rainiest days.'

 

The Rainiest Days

On the rainiest days I think of you

When the LA sun dissolves into clouds

And the boulevard is slow and silent

I find you in the sides of skyscrapers,

Slick and reflective with the downpour

I’ll begin to run – not away, but into the water

Soaked through and heaving

My heart beat ballooning outward

Like the rain breaking on still hot concrete

Everything cobalt and grey

Whirled together watercolor

My new city merging with the sky

Steel melting, slippery beneath my shoes

And suddenly I’m swallowing the atmosphere

Tasting inverted puddles, pale blue cotton candy

And metallic dirt – electric

Your current shifting through the street

Reassuring me that rainy days

Though few and far between

Will always be ours

 

When writing this, I was thinking about about some other version of myself, ex-lovers, friends I haven't seen in a long time, people I haven't lost yet, and ancestors past.  This poem is for the people we think about with very deep, sometimes conflicted emotions...people that we are reminded of when it rains, or when we smell jasmine, or when we see a certain shade of blue.

On another note, I left out all punctuation in this poem.  I have a tendency to do that, simply because I like to leave it up to the reader how and where to pause.  A lot of the lines can be interpreted differently depending on where you stop.  Whether you read it through as one long piece, or add in your own punctuation, I like that it's more interactive.

On another random note - it's my baby Louie's birthday!  He's two years old today!  He's the sweetest, spazziest, cutest puppy ever and I adore him.

photo 1.JPG
Rainy day outfit - Boots by Justin's (in Texas!), leggings/jacket/sunglasses by Forever 21, scarf by Target, tank by Victoria's Secret, puppy from the planet Love and Cuddles. Long hair definitely comes in handy on cooler days - it's like an instant scarf! 

Rainy day outfit - Boots by Justin's (in Texas!), leggings/jacket/sunglasses by Forever 21, scarf by Target, tank by Victoria's Secret, puppy from the planet Love and Cuddles. Long hair definitely comes in handy on cooler days - it's like an instant scarf!