I used to be jealous of the girl

I used to be jealous of the girl who fit
The roles that were written for her
By men

The scripts made sense in her mouth
The words came easily
Natural
As if she’d been saying them all her life

She was exactly what they were looking for
Exactly what they already had in mind
Just what they’d pictured
From what they’d seen before

Me
On the other hand
On the wrong foot

Their words felt uncomfortable in my mouth
Foreign
Inserted and misplaced
Not quite believable as
That girl

I wouldn’t have said those lines
I didn’t think or feel or say anything like that
As myself
In real life
I thought that’s what acting meant

I was a terrible actress

Because even when I said their lines
I broke their narrative
I said them the wrong way
The loud way
The obnoxious way
I changed their tone
So my voice could be heard
In spite of their words

There was sass in my ingenue
Sarcasm in my innocence
Rebellion in my naïveté
A wink in every blink and twirl

I couldn’t play that part honestly
Not the role that should have fit
I was confusing
Complicated
They didn’t know what to do with me

Not girl enough
Not sexy enough
Not business enough
Not exactly
Not quite
Not sure

Not theirs to write
To edit
To rewrite
Not theirs to frame
To revise
To delete
Not theirs to tell
Not theirs to own

I was mine
I was full
I was alive
I was woman
And too much of it

Now

I love my words
I savor each one as it tumbles free
To meet the world
The sweet taste of honesty
Like pure water
Cleansing and refreshing

This is art
This is storytelling
This is mine to write
To act
To be

I used to be jealous of the girl who fit
The roles that were written for her
By men
Now I’m just bored

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