Born This Way

by Nasrin Lin

looking back,

you cut Barbie’s hair tomboy-short just like yours,

and then you made a tiara out of Barbie’s brunette locks for Ken

and then Ken became Kendall

and then Barbie and Kendall lived happily ever after in a kingdom no one knew because others didn’t want the rest to know because–shh–don’t ask, don’t tell.


looking back,

the track shorts you wore underneath the dress

felt more real than the pomp and circumstance of the Barbie-straight wedding.

you sat there for hours just for the chocolate cake.


looking back,

you saw yourself looking forward

afraid –

because in school they teach you what is right from what is wrong in bullet points

bam! do this

bam! don’t do this 

and be good

and you wanted to be good

and you tried

by self-rationalizing your way into a loophole so you can have your own chocolate cake

even if it tastes like air


so you keep looking back at yourself looking forward.