progress girl

i’m so used to being yours. shrinking into myself, always wearing bulky clothes. never showing skin, or speaking out of turn, just putting in my headphones. i stay in my room, i see the world through your eyes, i don’t ever say no.

i’m your perfect ballerina, and god knows i try to keep my cool. colour inside the lines. smile, and curtsy, and make sure you’re happy. just forgive, and forget, until i’ve got nothing left but ash and bone. but sometimes i just want to scream into a pillow until my lungs give out, you know?

and sometimes, i don’t care if you’ll never listen. i just want to cry. i want to tell you how exhausted i am, dancing around white-hot flames all night, in my burnt-up dress, silken walls pressing in around me. and how furious i get sometimes, at it all.

i want to try and act like you do. i want to laugh loud, without fear. i want to cross the streets at night, break rules without limits, expect the world from some tired girl at the bus stop, and have her give it. just to see how it feels.

but until then, i’ll keep my head down. and i’ll apologize for breathing, for existing in this room, and pride myself for ever ounce of pain tolerance. and just barely get by. hold my secrets tight to my chest, where no one will find them.

i won’t bother asking why.

So, for some background, my friend overheard a boy in her math class bragging to his friends about how he had a “progress girl” which apparently is when you date someone because you know they’re going to be hot in a few years, and you want the bragging rights of having dated them before they were hot. Which is really creepy and gross and it made both of us feel very, very uncomfortable, which was what inspired me to write this poem.

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot of late is just… how, I don’t know, girls are taught from a really young age it’s not safe for them to exist in public spaces in any way, or at least I was. We’re taught not to ever wear our dresses too short, ever make our voices too loud. To nod along, and always accommodate other people. To always be home before sundown, and never go walking without something to defend yourself with. So at least for me, you retreat to your room, since the real world isn’t a safe place. Except then, you’re told to hide your name and your face, to keep yourself as quiet and untraceable as possible, because there are scary men online too. And pretty soon, you’re just completely isolated, terrified to talk to anybody, because your whole life has been spent desperately trying to keep yourself safe from creepy men, and in the process letting them run your life. I don’t know, it just pisses me off, and it’s been something I’ve been thinking about a lot of late.

Lots of love,


One thought on “progress girl


    Beautifully penned down. The emotions and the harsh reality stick out in this one. Thank you for bringing such an important issue in your poems!

    Liked by 2 people

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