Pulse Issue 2: 2023

Girls Don't Fly

by: Addyson Douglas

tw: misogyny, disordered eating

I put on two different shoes, believing they will let me walk to different places
A high heel unstable to a ballet flat, they fear us growing up
“Stay young,” they say
So, I drink down dirt in droves and decide that I deserve decimals of what men have
A man told me that

The sky is not made for me to find
Clipped wings prevent vast goals and save me from cloud’s bitter rejection
“Girls don’t fly,” they say
So, I wobble along waterfronts, worn out walks work best for weakness
A man told me that

I stand grounded in a forest, eyes up to where I’m not permitted
Taste blood after smelling flowers
“Be skinny,” they say
So, I dine like a dolly, destroy my insides and dress as Barbie did
A man told me that

Covered in forest dirt, crawl with swollen ankles
Everything they asked has broken my bones
“Why are you dirty?” they ask
So, I sink into soggy soil, sob into my shredded shirt
I just did what you told me

Inside my chest is a gold string
I rip off my mismatched shoes and hug the dirt with my toes
“But that’s not–”
I will never believe you again

I sit until my ankles heal, to bear who I am
The gold string embraces each extremity
“But girls aren’t supposed to–”
I will never believe you again

I walk slow on new supports: earth makes meaningful love to each step
The gold string embraces and reverses the clip of my wings
You offer me silence because
I will never believe you again

I look to the welcome sign in the clouds
Truth helps me on a running start to leap to the sky saying yes
“Don’t fly,” they call from the ground, “men can see under your dress.”
A man tells me nothing anymore

Addyson Douglas (she/her) is an actress, writer, singer and dancer, currently in her second year of OCAD University’s Creative Writing. She has previously studied Novel Writing at George Brown College and has been mentored by Celeste Dador for a young adult novel that is currently under revision. As an actress, she just recently completed a major feature film and some of her previous credits include “The Next Step” (Family Channel), “Dare Me” (USA Network/Netflix) and “Spice It Up” (Official VIFF selection).