“Love your body!”
They say.

Love the chest
that you bind
and hide under layers
in hopes you may
look past it
without too much disdain
in your eyes.
But under
two sports bras,
one binder,
one shirt
and two jackets
the distinction is bearable.

Love your face
for it carries your soul
and don’t spend so much time
inspecting how feminine
your features look today.
No amount of staring and
No amount of hatred will change it.
A little eyeliner,
some contour here,
a sharper jawline
and hey, that’s not so bad!
But don’t smile!
It’s too telling.

Love your hair
and every feminine lock
that falls to the ground
as scissors finally gift me
a reflection I recognize.

See the thing with being called a girl,
when you aren’t a girl,
is that every part of you
that they say makes you a girl
becomes an enemy.
I learnt to hate my feminine
because it was their excuse
and my mistake
for every  “she’s a girl.”

It took me too long to learn
it’s never that simple.

I want to be a girl in the way
you look at me and see strong and independent,
someone who’s been through what women do.
I want to be a girl in the way
an echo of a beautiful siren’s voice is,
sweet and alluring and calming.
I want to be a girl in the way
a lioness is strong and resourceful,
but wild and protective.
I want to be a girl in the way
dresses flow on my waist
like a river gifted by Aphrodite.
I want to be a girl in the way
flowers bloom and
the moon shines. 

I want to be a boy in the way
a shadow of a man reflected in glass is:
dark and vague; full of hidden details.
I want to be a boy in the way
my eyes may say
“This is a good man.”
I want to be a boy in the way
big shirts fall
on a flat chest.
I want to be a boy in the way
an old man’s solemn expression
hides a hundred tales.
I want to be a boy in the way
a mountain stands or
a tree falls.

I want to be both and I want to be neither
in the way a cloaked figure
or a dancing shadow
or a void
or an orchestra is.
If my gender is “what’s between my legs,”
then my body is holding galaxies
filled with worlds I will never understand
and completely empty of anything
all at once.

But I guess ‘they/them’ works for now.

Zen Vaillancourt

About Zen Vaillancourt

One Comment

  • ❤️‍🩹 says:

    I hate when people come up to me and ask:”Hey, what’s your pronoun?” just because I have short hair. I hate when people call me gal without asking who I am just because I have long hair. I hate when people say they support LGBTQ+ rights but they still don’t change how they perceive us. I hate that I don’t have the courage to come out, change my pronouns and speak with proud “My gender doesn’t matter, I want you to see me, just me.” So thank you, for saying it.