Not Like Other Girls

Image: Chloe Moore

Image: Chloe Moore

I am 12 years old and a boy says, "You're not like other girls," and I tell him, "thanks," and I cut my hair and forgo the color pink and shun the two-dimensional kind of womanhood I have been taught is standard.

I am 14 and I'm stepping into high school wearing a dress that a girl compliments and I think, "This could be okay," and then my English teacher asks if anyone had any thoughts about the summer reading and I raise my hand but he calls on the boy in front me, who has nothing to say, and I think, I guess you can't be smart and wear dresses.

I am 15 in a new school in a new state and I tell people that I am a feminist from the get-go, and I know I mean it bt I find myself thinking that the girls in dresses must not be as academically focused, until I see them in my AP European History class.

I am 16 and a boy tells me, "You're not like other girls," and I say "fuck that," I think, I want to be just like other girls, I want to be seen as a product of the sisterhood that welcomed me, I want to be seen as my mother's daughter instead of my dad's little girl.

I am 16 and a boy asks, "Are you mad because you' know... bleeding?" and I say, "No, I'm mad because you asked that;" I am 16 and a boy calls me an "angry bitch" for disagreeing with him and I consider tattooing it on my forehead; I am 16 and a boy says, "You're hot when you argue" before trying to silence me with a kiss and I slam the door on my way out; I am 16 and a boy calls me a pussy and I say, "Thank you;" I am 16 and I paint the nail on my middle finger pink, I braid hair with my friends and ponder the intricacies of prom dresses and global politics, and I think, It is a blessing to be like other girls.