On Gender Roles: “I am an extra X”

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Trigger warning: rape

I am the perpetual embodiment of two letters. I am an extra X, and that’s all I will ever be.

Before I even heard my name they saw me on a screen. They sang with joy because I had an X and not a Y and the spare bedroom was already painted a dusty rose. Dad’s heart sunk because I dashed his dreams of taking my team to state.

When I was born they cried and hugged and congratulations overflowed out of Hallmark cards. I got a card too. It noted my extra X. During my third month they called me beautiful and cradled me more gently than they did my brother because my X baptized me as a paper-doll.

They kissed my cheeks and tucked me into floral flannels grandma gave me when Mom had a party with pink paper plates from the dollar store.

When I was five every boy was my prince and I decided that my wedding would be on a white sand beach with lilies in my bouquet.

When I was seven I finally started to colour inside the lines and I hated subtraction but my teacher told me that that was okay because girls are better at art anyways.

When I was nine my mom caught me trying on her makeup and scolded me for using the wrong shades. When I was 12 I cried because the boys wouldn’t let me play soccer with them anymore.

When I was 13 I cried because my ex-teammate shattered my heart.

When I was 19 I dropped out of physics because my test sheets were covered in X’s and I figured I was better at English anyways.

When I was 23 my heart was broken for the fourth time and my friends told me to forget about the X’s on the back of my hand. He bought me a drink or maybe it was six and I let him taste the seventh one on my tongue even though I hated that song and his breath reeked of Jack Daniels.

When I was 24 they still told me I shouldn’t have worn that skirt that night.

When I was 27 I said I do and they called me beautiful and cried and hugged and gave me tips on how to please my prince.

When I was 28 they bought me pink paper plates at the dollar store.

When I was 30 I typed X’s and O’s into a dusty keyboard and my boss called me “doll” and I was in charge of the coffee machine and I called it my life.

When I was dead the obituaries read “daughter and mother and wife” and nothing more. X marked the spot and they dressed me in floral and kissed my cheeks and the Hallmark cards came pouring in.

Sometimes he brings me lilies.

Most times he forgets.

He tells them that I was beautiful. I suffocate. I am an extra X, and that’s all I will ever be.

word by Hannah Chubb

colour by Marina Gonzalez Eme

Author: Word and Colour

words inspired by colour wordandcolour.com

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