Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "When You Were Born to Stand Out"

This is the freebie for the June 2016 [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] alatefeline (who sent a picture of Quinn in feline form) and [personal profile] alexseanchai. It also fills the "body image" square in my 5-1-16 card for the Solo Celebration Bingo fest.

"When You Were Born to Stand Out"

"How's come you do your hair
like that?" Chris asked one day,
staring at Quinn's fresh mop of
electric blue tipped with silver.
"Just about every week you
up and dye it some other color."

"I like colors," Quinn said.

"And let's not forget the time
we all got turned into cats, and
everyone's fur looked like their hair,
except your'n came out rainbows,"
Chris said, shaking his head.

"It's like this," Quinn said gently.
"I'm differently. I've always been
different, and I've always known
this about myself. But not
everyone else knows it."

"So?" Chris said.

"Sometimes it's just easier if
other people know," Quinn said. He
swept his hands over his remade body.
"I'm not like them. If they think I am,
then it can get painfully confusing.
If the know I'm not -- if they can see
that at a glance -- then they don't
make the same kind of mistakes."

"You mean, it's like putting up
a road sign so's folks don't crash
into things," Chris said.

"A bit like that," Quinn said,
nodding. "It's why some people
collect piercings, tattoo their bodies
with stripes or scales, split their tongues --"

"Ugh," Chris said. He waved his hands
as if to wipe away the images.

"All right, I'll stop giving examples,"
Quinn said with a chuckle. "Some of us
can't fit in, because that's just not how
we're made, so we find ways to show it."

"But what's it mean to you,
personally?" Chris said.

"My body is my temple, and
what I worship here is ... me,
the me-ness of myself that is
part of the Divine," said Quinn.
"I know myself. I love myself."
He twirled in place. "Why fit in,
when you were born to stand out?"

Chris imagined Quinn trying
to fit in. It was like trying to hide
a peacock in a chicken coop.

"Why indeed," he said,
and sauntered away.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, gender studies, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, weblit, writing
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