Spots vs. Stripes

By Abby Gaskins

I look at myself in the mirror and see my stripes.
And wonder, "Is it me or them?"
Is it I who am different, or are their spots the problem?
But then I look at myself without the mirror,
Ignoring that virtual image and seeing reality,
And I realize that I am who I am
No one can change me into someone that I can't be,
Yet sometimes, even I wish I was that person.
Life is easier for that person.

Looking at the beautiful land around me
Looking at the beautiful people around me,
I want to be open and uninhibited
I want people to see what I am like,
Not some cut-out of a perfect girl
With the perfect family, dog,
And someday, husband.

But that is not me, far from it.
Few people can understand how I work,
And sometimes even they can't get it.
So I have to just sit back and smile
For only I truly know me,
And it's not that plastic person everyone else sees.

Often I wonder why I can't be the same;
Everything is so much easier that way.
Then the images of hoards of like-minded people fill my head,
Zombies that act, dress, and think alike
And I understand why I am here.

But of course

A person can't go through life with one problem,
For it would be solved too soon
And then what does one live for?
There are problems all the time
Which surround me like mosquitoes;
As soon as one is gone, another manages to take its place.
"The scores aren't good enough;
We've changed our minds"
I become stuck between a hard place and a hard place,
Or between a friend and a friend;
So I solve one problem, and three more are right behind
And the frustrating
Yet ironic
Element of my life is that no matter how many mosquitoes I manage to kill,
That one, massive butterfly is and will always be flying around me
Annoying me
Inspiring me
Making my life a bit more livable than that cut-out girl.
Because I am proud of that butterfly
For so many see it simply as an ugly caterpillar,
When I see it for what it's worth:

Its beautiful stripes.

Abby "Abs" Gaskins, 17, lives in Georgia.

©1998 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.