Unacceptable Behavior

I stand in front of the mirror
and I see the figure before me.
The needle drops on the long playing record in my head,
familiar back beat
to the ever running pity party,
that carries on and on.
As my brain begins to dance,
I close my eyes and sway.
Digging deeper than the reflection,
searching for my truer self.
The me I was before I learned the rules.

I open my eyes again,
and for a brief moment, I miss my youth.
my brown roots,
my smooth skin,
my breasts.

But then I remember how long I have lived here.
How much I have moved through.
How far I have come.

And I realize that the forces that play this tune are outside of me.
Outside of us.
A misogynistic deejay that
spins and spins.
Laying down the self loathing lyrics,
that we have internalized
since we were first told
that we were unacceptable.
That our glasses made us nerdy,
our pimples made us ugly,
our curves made us slutty,
our lines made us manly,
our strength made us scary,
our control made us bossy,
our power made us bitchy,
our intelligence made us uppity,
our desire made us dirty,
our hopes and dreams made us crazy,

Our voices were too shrill to rule.
At least our youth made us desirable.

But our high collars made us uptight,
our short skirts made us targets,
our sobriety made us boring,
our partying made us victims.
So we moved through a maze of mirrors, as the carnival tunes played.
Fumbling and stumbling,
and coming up against
eight different versions of our self
at each turn.

And here we are now,
Still listening to that same old broken record,
still being told that we aren’t quite right.
There’s something wrong.
Our wrinkles are too deep.
Our scars are too visible.
Our gray hair is too wiry.
Our curves are too extra.
Our flatness is not enough.
Our independence makes us ungrateful.
Our opinions make us nasty.
Our age makes us obsolete.
Overpowered by the passage of time,
our voices are too tired to rule.

So we look in the mirror and we see ourselves,
as far as we can be from perfect.
Flawed, old, speckled, wrinkled, unwanted and unworthy.
Little more than a target group for age-reversal mass marketers.
Unloveable unless we are desirable.
Invisible unless we are acceptable.

When I open my mouth, and my too tired, too shrill voice escapes me
I will speak
to The Man in the the mirror and say:
Fuck you and your misogyny.
Fuck you, and fuck your patriarchy.
You and your standards of beauty.
Your power structure.
Your manipulation and your marketing.
Your advertisements and lies.
Your guidelines and your governance.
Your rule and your regulations.
Your ideas of acceptable presentation and preservation.
Fuck all of that.

Don’t you know- How long I have lived here-
How much I have moved through-
How far I have come.

I will not be acceptable.
I don’t think I have ever been acceptable.
I am an exception.
Unique and exceptional.
I AM unacceptable.


  1. It sounds so hard to have standards imposed on you and judgments made of you based on your biology, the passage of inexorable time, your utility as fodder for men’s fantasies and sexual gratification, for white men’s companies and hoards of wealth.

    White men conquered this land and created ownership. Who can own land and trees and water and beasts and other people?

    In the binary man/woman, man is on top literally and figuratively. We appreciate, “Fuck that!”

    If we could show you how you meet our need for respect. If we could show you how we feel admiration and love for what you are capable of, for what you show.

    There is a world outside—or within—this constructed one of media and consumerist-driven white heteronormative colonialism, where people try to heal from this programming. If we see you there, we will wave.

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