A little ballerina poses, hands folded
over crossed legs,
demure smile frozen in glossy frame.
Tulle tutu fizzes around her rosy leotard,
her hair combed flat, tamed
with a carnation ribbon,
the picture of elegance.

Contrary to the staged photo,
I was never a perfect prima donna.
Barbies collected dust in my closet,
piled haphazardly like rubble in the aftermath of a hurricane,
their arms twisted, flaxen locks
tangled beyond the power of plastic hairbrushes.  
They were no pageant queens.
Stuffed animals sprouted from every spare corner,
making my room a jungle of wild beasts.
My younger self scoffed at princess stories
and true love’s kiss;
Lilo and Stitch was the background to my days.
I guess I saw myself in the quirky girl
who fed fish peanut butter sandwiches
and found friendship with a mischeivous blue alien.

I’m still not a ballerina.
My dance moves belong to a blooper reel.
I still refuse to “sit like a lady”,
and I chortle at cringeworthy jokes shared among friends.
I’m awkward, weird , and far from graceful,
but I wouldn’t have it any other way.