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My name is Rheanna
And I’m Mia.
At school I’d play footy with the boys,
Instead of playing with the classic girly toys. 
And if I was too good for their masculine pride, 
They’d point and yell,
Saying, 'piss off you dyke', 
Until I’d run off with my fists all tight,
Saying to myself it’s ok, you’re alright,
They’re lucky you’re not in the mood for a fight,
But inside I was scared,
Because out there I didn’t think anyone cared,
As though at night there was no one to hand me the light, 
And as though every minute of every day I was suffering from stage fright,
Because in a world where everything is seen as black and white,
I felt like my heart was painted too many colours to be right,
In primary school, I was in the minority.
A small brown girl of 6, I believed I was inferiority 
I had two best friends, blue eyes, skin as fair as snow
I saw them as gods of perfection, but little did I know
Consumed by the need to become ‘beautiful’, I was so attached
So I began to itch and scratch
My arms, my legs, my face and hands
Thinking that it was the answer, it was my plan
To peel away my brown pigment
Seeing the brown replaced by white replaced by red
I knew that perfection was just a figment
I needed to stop before I bled
Innocent girl of 6, 
Believing that if I did it enough
I would become fixed
For the past few years my pa hasn’t really been “around”,
To be honest I’m surprised that by now he hasn’t drowned,
In a pool of alcohol, drugs and depression, 
But don’t worry, I say, it’s just an expression, 
Just my mind denying that it needs confession, 
To admit to the aggression, 
That I feel towards him,
I’d rather treat my mind to suppression,
But I still beg to you the question, 
Are we so different?
Two years back, I was yelled at 
Public space, on a tram
I was called ‘a curry munching idiot’, yes that
But no one else gave a damn
And that killed me inside
When he yelled ‘go back to where you came from’
‘We don’t want you here’, I swear part of me died
Not that his screaming hate was far from done
But that no one came to stand by my side
See all these stories are facts of my past
And I’d be lying if I said that I don’t love my battle scars
Because look at me, I’ve made it this far
I look out to everyone here, knowing that despite how we appear,
We’re all just suffocating in the same atmosphere, 
We’re all just trying to ignore the fact that within these walls,
There’s enough mental illness to fill these halls,
We’re all in the same rickety boat, all trying to stay afloat
Because unlike most diseases, the stuff in our heads has no antidote
So maybe rather than trying to intoxicate each other with judgement and hate
Let's look behind the masks, since we’re all really just a part of the same race.


This poem was created and performed by students as part of OutLoud Eco!Slam 2019.

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