Pride Month Submission - Abby Orbeta
CHAMELEON by Abby Orbeta
I spent most of my life trying to blend in.
Try to fade into the background.
Try not to be noticed.
Shhh. Be quiet.
No one wants to hear you speak.
It wasn’t always like that.
I wasn’t always like that.
As a child, I am vibrant and full of life.
Armed with big and colorful wings that you can see from a mile away, telling everyone,
“I don’t know what I am yet, I’m not sure what I’m going to turn into,
but look at me. I am here. I am beautiful. I exist.”
But when I look around, I see that there is no one like me.
So I try to be brave, stand alone, unafraid.
Sticking out like a sore thumb in the sea of black and white
I see all eyes on me.
Some fascinated, some curious, some mocking, some disappointed, some disgusted, but mostly afraid.
They look at me like what I have is contagious
As if my existence is like a virus that can spread like an epidemic
So they try to cure me
Inject me with doctrine
Quarantine me until I’m better
Tell me over and over again that I am sinful,
That God made Eve for Adam and everything else is incorrect,
That this is just a phase, I’ll grow out of it.
That people like me are lost and need saving.
Then they break my bones to fit a straitjacket, so I will begin to look like everyone else;
Put a muzzle on me so that I can’t speak.
They’ve erased me.
Made me blend in, fade into the background, no one even noticed.
I was taught that once all of my colors have faded away, I’ll finally be free.
But I guess, I wasn’t meant for that kind of freedom.
They’ve clipped my wings but they keep on growing back.
They’ve anchored me down with their words but the ropes are not strong enough.
They tried to cage me in guilt, but I’ll always find a way out.
Look at me.
Like you, I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Like you, I am a creation meant to take up space. I am matter.
All I ask is that you do not erase me.
Let me be here.
Let me exist.