Imagine A World Without Labels

[For Oleg.]
Once upon a time there a was a bird.
But the bird was born into a skin that didn't feel right.
Wasn't shaped right.
Didn't look anything like it should, in fact.

Bird spent decades listening to others denigrate the shape and look of the skin that didn't feel right. It was too fat, it was too thin, it was too pale, it didn't have enough shape. Was too many hard planes and solid muscle to fit in over there, missing too many pieces to fit in over here.

Finally, Bird drew a picture on its ill-fitting skin so that everyone would be able to see what Bird truly was. To end the confusion.

It didn't change the fact that nothing about Bird's body looked right. Not to Bird's eyes. And when Bird tried, all that resulted were accusations of ill health, or drug use.

Bird gave up.

Resigned with the fact that the skin would never look the way it was supposed to, would never reflect who Bird truly was.

"I am Bird, I am Dragon, I am Unicorn. I am neutral, I am who I wish to be. I am bigger than my body, don't stand too close. One day soon it will rip, no longer able to contain me."

Rebirth was a bloodbath, dirty and violent and vicious. Bird would stop if it were possible, the repetition got tiring. Over and over, rebuilding from the ashes, reforming self identity after shedding the viscous sludge others called labels. But still the skin was always there, the same ill-fitting wrong-looking horrid thing.

Bird stared in the mirror at all the ugly lines that didn't portray what they should. The bit of ink that whispered the truth.

"I guess this is what I'm stuck with."