Return to site

Covered Up

A Slam Poem

· poetry

To my high school vice principal, fuck you.

It's been five and a half years since I roamed your halls, being scrutinized by your ever-watching eyes, ready to "dress code" me at any moment and send me off to retrieve the white T-shirt of shame from the nurses office.

 

I am now skeptical . . . not of your character, but of any older male in an authoritative position who hold the right to tell a young girl that her body is "Distracting" and therefore must be covered up.

 

I was sixteen years old, I may have been tall, thin and blonde but I was just a girl; I struggled with acne, I had insecurities, and I was Sure un-nerved by the Big Brother eye ever watching my wardrobe decisions.

 

My shorts were not exposing any butt-cheek, my tops were not letting-hang-out what little cleavage I did have, and yet, it was me picked out as distracting; mind you, you never appeared to notice the girls with all but their nipples hanging free from their tops.

 

Math class: dress coded for a short sleeve baggy sweater that was off one shoulder, she told me it was to "distracting" for the boys.

 

Literature: dress coded for my shorts . . . and dresses and tops with to thin of straps, but HEY, she picked on me because of my friend who got into a yelling match with her outside the classroom while they left ME to break it up.

 

History Class: publicly humiliated by my male teacher who was curious about the "faculty wide email" that was sent out concerning My clothing; he later went onto say, in front of the class, that even wearing an orange jail jumper I would still be distracting the boys.

 

Again, to the vice principal who called me out of science class to sold me in the hallway for being on campus in a bikini, you never fucking let me tell my side of the story.

 

My body, is not an instrument for your pleasure, my body, is not a distraction, a problem, a violation of your ordained code of appropriate ways to look and is sure as hell is not a vessel of shame to be covered up.

 

Twenty four years old and I am still learning to breathe when strangers eyes find themselves on me; I am just learning that I have a voice, buried deep, beneath the rubble of wounds that were dealt me but now alive, learning to sing, learning to roar, learning To Say No.

 

Once a quiet and quivering teenager held down by your position, I didn't have the words to stand up for myself; little did you know, I had already been dealt the death blow -- knees bending to the floor, angry fear-filled submission to any man who threatened for it -- I didn't know "no" was an answer.

 

Who was there, to tell me my body was good, when all of you taught me it was bad; who knew to reassure my hurting young heart that I was not bad, that I was not the problem, nor was I an issue to cover up.

 

You, with your nerve, your tucked-in button down, buckled-belt privilege so quick to blame the problem on me -- but where are the men? They still roam your hallways but what do you teach them?

 

Are the girls still at the receiving end of punishment, do they learn that it's "her fault," that "she asked for it" because of how she dressed -- do they become young men who whistle, and slap, and stare with hungry eyes when they see a shoulder, or a thigh, or a waist.

 

Do they know that women are beautiful, treasures of great value, needed by humanity -- I hope you teach them better than you taught me.

 

* * *

 

Hungry eyes, desperate for the refreshing drink of beauty, I am not here to fill your cup.

I don't owe you my shoulder, the crease of my collar bone, the bend of my knee, the warmth of my belly -- this kingdom does not have open doors for any stranger who wishes to wander in and rest.

I am not your salvation, your comfort, the blanket over you while you sleep, the warmth in the morning or the voice that whispers your name.

Dear men, please know this: you are not bad. But I am done being the door mat for your boots, the rag to wipe the seat from your brow, your shade on a hot day, the receiver of your foul words, your comments, your scanning eyes.

You could peel off my clothing in one glance, rip back my veil, violate my sanctuary, but I do not wish to be your accomplice any longer. You won't stop, so I will.

I will stop opening my heart to be wounded by strangers, I will begin to believe I don't owe you myself, and I will be clothed by beauty when your eyes seek the corners of my wall.

I was told that my body was distracting, I was told to cover up, and I did. (pause)

But now. I rip off the white t-shirt of shame in the face of self ordained authority,

I rip out my lungs suffocated by shame to taste the sweet air of freedom from this rib cage,

releasing into the atmosphere an aroma of praise,

and I will roar, like the mighty lioness inside me, for she

once deep asleep has awoken, like the wind to ravege a land once full of enemies,

unashamed of this glorious body, this fruitful kingdom, this church of praise, I wills stand,

Naked, and I will NOT cover up.

To my high school vice principal, fuck you.

It's been five and a half years since I roamed your halls, being scrutinized by your ever-watching eyes, ready to "dress code" me at any moment and send me off to retrieve the white T-shirt of shame from the nurses office.

I am now skeptical . . . not of your character, but of any older male in an authoritative position who hold the right to tell a young girl that her body is "Distracting" and therefore must be covered up.

I was sixteen years old, I may have been tall, thin and blonde but I was just a girl; I struggled with acne, I had insecurities, and I was Sure un-nerved by the Big Brother eye ever watching my wardrobe decisions.

My shorts were not exposing any butt-cheek, my tops were not letting-hang-out what little cleavage I did have, and yet, it was me picked out as distracting; mind you, you never appeared to notice the girls with all but their nipples hanging free from their tops.

Math class: dress coded for a short sleeve baggy sweater that was off one shoulder, she told me it was to "distracting" for the boys.

Literature: dress coded for my shorts . . . and dresses and tops with to thin of straps, but HEY, she picked on me because of my friend who got into a yelling match with her outside the classroom while they left ME to break it up.

History Class: publicly humiliated by my male teacher who was curious about the "faculty wide email" that was sent out concerning My clothing; he later went onto say, in front of the class, that even wearing an orange jail jumper I would still be distracting the boys.

Again, to the vice principal who called me out of science class to sold me in the hallway for being on campus in a bikini, you never fucking let me tell my side of the story.

My body, is not an instrument for your pleasure, my body, is not a distraction, a problem, a violation of your ordained code of appropriate ways to look and is sure as hell is not a vessel of shame to be covered up.

Twenty four years old and I am still learning to breathe when strangers eyes find themselves on me; I am just learning that I have a voice, buried deep, beneath the rubble of wounds that were dealt me but now alive, learning to sing, learning to roar, learning To Say No.

Once a quiet and quivering teenager held down by your position, I didn't have the words to stand up for myself; little did you know, I had already been dealt the death blow -- knees bending to the floor, angry fear-filled submission to any man who threatened for it -- I didn't know "no" was an answer.

Who was there, to tell me my body was good, when all of you taught me it was bad; who knew to reassure my hurting young heart that I was not bad, that I was not the problem, nor was I an issue to cover up.

You, with your nerve, your tucked-in button down, buckled-belt privilege so quick to blame the problem on me -- but where are the men? They still roam your hallways but what do you teach them?

All Posts
×

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!

OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly