Once Upon a Different Side of Belle

Once Upon a time,

“You really are a funny girl”

Is a statement that has followed me my whole life.

When I was young my father asked me why I didn’t like to play with the other kids,

But instead kept my nose buried so deep into a book, I dug my way into a world I could be understood in.

The little girls in the street would play tag while I played two-touch football with the boys,

Instead tagged by their taunts and jeers of being “the beauty”, but hey-

I scored the winning touchdown anyway.

“You’re different from the rest of us,” my teacher said to me, admiringly of course,

Handing me new books to read during class time while the other kids finished their homework.

I don’t think he knew he was cultivating a personality that would evolve into a tag-line haunting me forever but,

I took it and ran with it,

To Italy, to England, to cities I've only dreamed of.

“You really are a funny girl” yet another boy tells me as I walk home.

I’d just been trying to get by, head down, no one looking in my eye, when I broke my pact of secrecy

The minute he captured me

Tangled in his brown hair and brown eyes, it took me way too long to realize

His buddies standing around the corner

Placing bets and high fives:

I was a prize.

The girl that is so peculiar.

The girl that “has her head in the clouds”.

The girl that doesn’t take your dialect, so she must be hard to get,

I was the punchline.

While the whole time I've been waiting for someone not to see me as a joke, as a project, as a “fixer-upper”, as a conquest, as a fetish, Im not your damsel in distress.

Im not here to open your eyes to an alternative life, just because I read books, want so much more than this provincial life.

But I promise,

If you give me your genuine time, then maybe I can open your eyes

To the depths of me, and who I turned out to be.

Because on the inside I am still that girl with a book in her hand and her eyes in the skies,

Because on the inside I find it so hard to open up to others that I hide behind

Brown eyes,

Blue dress,

And grass stains from two-touch football.

Because on the outside:

Im really just a funny girl.


This poem is about: 
My community
Our world


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