Siera Biddle—Treatise

“Hell is a teenage girl.” 


Or at least that’s what Megan Fox says in the opening scene of that vampire movie Jennifer’s Body


I’d say I disagree with most of the choices Megan Fox has made recently, but I think this statement is one of the only things she did in the early 2000s that I oppose her on.


 I think it is Hell to be a teenage girl. 


And on the path through hell, there is a song we can sing for the roadkill that didn’t make it off the tracks in time. 


For the empty creature that let herself lie there as the world kept barreling on. 


“This is my stop.” 


“Mind the gap.”


“Stand clear of closing doors.”


She calls out from broken windows and dusty corners as she holds the keys to a house already on fire.


Already burnt into a pile of ash and flames.


They key the world was so happy to give her before they got bored and fanned a spark. 


The world gets sick of teenage girls when they stop being teenagers and girls. 


Adam would’ve never been tempted by the apple if she had had softened skin and dulled pigmentation. 


If her fruit had turned brown in the blooms of the earth.


If she was a woman who had lived a long life and felt its tremors. 


When apples are ripe they fall on the ground, where the dirt and rain and worms and maggots eventually dissolve them, and they rot in the shade of the young apples in the trees above. 


One must pick them before they can fall, and devour them before they can rot. 


When the streams of tears that roll down their skin are inspiring and sweet. 


When you can roll your eyes at their crying fits and blame it on their silly youths. 


Because tears aren’t as sweet or interesting when the apple turns sour. 


When the fruit begins to rot. 


When it’s squashed under your shoes with the rain and worms and maggots. 


But our friend Adam will, like all men seem to do, move on eventually to something fresh and shiny.


To another something young. 


Like the kinds of people who buy puppies but won’t take care of dogs, there is a special sort of novelty in the new and exciting. 


However, girls are not puppies or apples, they are forests and fires, and leaves and smoke and snow and flesh all at one. 


Yet they are begging everyday to be accepted. 


I remember when I was younger, going to a fancy restaurant with my parents, and there was a girl working there who was smoke and steam in the summertime, but the guy training her stood behind her with a fan and a frown. 


She seemed so nervous, so eager to please everyone, that when she asked to take our coats she didn’t notice that no one in our party was actually wearing a coat. I felt so sorry for her and her relatable need to fulfill other people’s wants that I thought about giving her my skin just so she’d have something to put on the stupid hanger. 


The man who stood behind her just laughed, and his smirk told me he had never been smoke or steam. He was always the wind. 


I don’t think you have to walk on eggshells when you’re a girl, I think it’s more like knives. 


Girls are aware of how quickly the fruit can fall, how swiftly the fan can sweep, or the train can fly by, and they therefore smile and ask for coats that no one has, and put up with a lot more than they probably should. 


This makes sense because even when someone suffocates you with what they believe is love, and even as you feel your air supply being cut off, you value every moment because you at least feel embraced for a few moments. 


In some cases I don’t feel like I even know how to breathe without hands around my neck, or if I could even handle the taste of fresh air. 


It would probably just burn my lungs. 


So, when the words of others cut me so deep, I swear I can see bone, I let them hide their secrets in my veins instead of confronting the knife. 


I press my fingers into bruises instead of allowing them to heal. 


Because even when the weight you used to make me carry is lifted off my shoulders, I still miss you in the aches in my knees that I still have to ice and massage to this day. 


I’d cut my hands off and replace them with flowers to seem more interesting to you, but then I don’t think I could write anymore. 


I simultaneously crave attention and fear rejection, and I would honestly do anything to be impressive to someone. 


And if it holds your attention, if it lures you to the edge of your seat, I will show you the darkest parts of my life. 


 I will coax every skeleton out of my closet, if you promise to let me paint makeup on their rotting bones first. 


I want you to be interested, but I still want you to stay. 


And for a moment you’ll say “wow” and “ooh and ahh” over what I let you see, but then you will get bored and my joyfulness will transform into exhaustion, and I will collapse and you will leave and we will never speak again. 


I’ve seen it. 


I can see it still.


But there are some things I have never told anybody. 


Some words on my tongue, or in my fingertips, or hiding in the cracks of my ribs, that will always be part of me and no one else. 


But life isn’t really that hard. 


I’m just a girl. 


And in my melodramatic state of despair as I grow up and try to find something beyond my age and gender, beyond my ripe (but quickly rotting) fruit to keep my audience interested, I have found a sense of stability in this frenzy that is living in the past. 


I will be hair full of chlorine.


I will be thrown out birthday party plates. 


I will be sticky hands and butterfly nets. 


I will tell the moon the bedtime stories I grew out of. 


And I should be happy. 


But the candles on every birthday cake are burnt out, and the past swings behind me like the ponytail I used to wear my hair in everyday. 


Before that one kid made that one comment and I pulled my hair into knots. 


I retreat back to where I used to find solace.


I press my face into the carpet of what used to be my playroom, but the smell of soap and detergent hides the fact that I was ever there. 


Because no matter how badly I want to run back to the past, life goes on. 


It’s like those tire spikes in parking garages that you can only drive one way over. You can’t back over them, even if you feel like you forgot something, you just have to keep going. 


You can look back if you want to, but like the doomed fate of Orpheus and Eurydice, it will certainly cause you pain. 


This is Hell. 


There is no past to fall into, no comfortable nostalgia, and no future for my teenage years. 


All I have is now. 


The waxing, waning, cacophony of opinions, the symphony of the changing seasons. 


This is life as a girl as I roll down my windows and paint my nails, and beg for the world not to move on from the ingenue who was always “good for her age” but never just “good.”


So this is the song we sing.


As the doors open and close, and the vultures circle on the remaining fragments of youth, I will not be roadkill. 


Even though I know the empty creatures jumped from the hurling train because they thought they would fly, even though I know they thought they could get back on the ride, the train keeps going, the apples keep falling, and the wind blows harsh and shrill. 


It is a sad song, but I promise you’d know every word if you just listened for a couple of seconds. 


It is Hell to be a girl. 


It is expectations, it is choked breaths, it is smirks, and smoke, and rear view mirrors. 


It’s Gatsby, “beating on, boats against the current.”


It’s the poetry scarred into arms. 


You’ve heard it before. 


This is the song we sing as the fruit flies swarm.