Too much. Too little. Too fat. Too skinny. Too muscular. Too loud. Too quiet. Too happy. Too sad. Too driven. Too placid. Too bright. Too smart. Not smart enough. Too sexy. Not sexy enough. Too mumsy. Not maternal. Hair too short. Hair too long. Too vain. Let herself go. Too short. Too tall. Too angry. Too passive. Too ambitious. Just a mother. Should do as she’s told. Should know better. Too emotional. Heartless. Cares too much. Ball buster. Too strong. Too weak. Too defiant. Too compliant. Too girly. Too frivolous. Too serious. No sense of humour. Laughs too much. Too different. Not unique enough. Not acceptable.
Once, someone put a woman in a box. Said she would be comfortable. Said she would belong. She would be safe there in her perfect place.
And when her body contorted with the shape of the box that could not hold her, fingers pointed at her – at how grotesque she was. As she strained against being held there they wandered at how she didn’t fit, at how she was so badly malformed. And they taunted her for the way her limbs were mashed together and the way her skin was pinched by the box. And they held her up for all to see, so everyone could see how ugly she was. They pointed out how her twisted limbs, pinched skin and horrific form served no purpose. They were sure that her very presence had forever corrupted and sullied the box. They obsessed over her misshapen form, over her twisted limbs. They exclaimed over how deformed she was, how her very being was distorted in every way. And they pointed out how her ugliness infected everything, even the perfect box.
The truth was she had never stayed in the box, not even once. She didn’t belong there. It wasn’t her place. They had simply imagined here there for a long time because it was convenient for them to do so. And one day when she grew tired of their taunts, she reminded them of that.
She was herself. The box was ugly. And it wasn’t her box.