Writing Catalog

Faith Teutschbein

Grade: 11

Bay Village High School

Instructor: Erin Beirne

Eulogy to the Girls Who Grew Up Too Fast


Eulogy to the Girls Who Grew Up Too Fast

The thief of youth is not time, it is the moment
a girl is told she is too much.
She will accept this as fact,
she will believe that she is woman,
she will understand this means the beginning of
self-inflicted shrinkage.

She will start with her laugh;
Twist it into a giggle,
hide it behind a delicately placed hand,
feigning timidity
where she used to glow uninhibited.
She will learn where to place it,
she doesn't want it to take up too much room.
She will learn that a laugh should not be loud
or boisterous or genuine, or
any of the things it had been before.
She will learn that her laughter is a device used to make men happy.
She will learn that she is a device used to make men happy.

Then she will begin to shrink her skin.
Little girl lank will begin to wear off,
but there's no time to mourn, the maturing body must
fall away to reveal bones clung to by skin.
Cosmic brownies and ice cream sundaes with extra sprinkles
quickly replaced by diet sodas
sugar-free gum and powdered peanut butter.

Next she will shrink her mind.
Shrink the thin chords
that make up her slender throat.
Be told her ideas are too much
her words are too much
her voice, too much.
She will learn to hold back the right phrases,
only give them what they ask for
when they ask for it.
She will imprison her ideas,
let them fester
let them rot
let them fade like memories left too long in the raging sun.
She will watch her voice trail off,
let the ends of sentences be picked up
by the men in the room.
Her punctuation stolen by grabbing hands.
She will stop making it to the punctuation.

Her innocent fears will morph with her,
her fear of the dark still stagnant in her blood —
but she will no longer fear dark closets,
instead she will tremble as she walks
through dark alleys,
clutched keys poking through quivering fingers.
The monsters under her bed will grow into men —
men that look too much like her neighbor
or that man who works the corner store
or her uncle.
Their horns and fangs will mangle themselves into
smirks and groping palms.

She will dream herself out of pink lipstick and short skirts.
Manic pixie dream girl finds herself woman.
Try to imagine herself into something they will find attractive.
When the boys see this,
this willing submission,
this shrinkage,
they will see it as a sign that she enjoys the tearing.
They will shrink her even more.
Call her nothing.
Call her silly.
Call her girl.
(Aren't they all synonymous on the pudgy tongue?)
They will notice her shiny new giggle and gaggle,
the practiced rhythm of her eyelashes,
her diminished vocabulary.
They will use it against her.

They will call her fragile,
but don't they know that they are the ones
that made these bones weak
these shoulders slump
this smile sag?
They will call her girly;
Oh, but don't they know they have forced her
into the mold of woman,
taught her to grow herself out of innocence,
criticized her past all of that childlike carelessness?
Yet girl found woman will still appear girl
with all this deliberate shrinkage.
Their lips form whistle and snarl and sneer.
But isn't this what they wanted?
Yet they will call her girl,
and it will be an insult.