Measuring Up

Measuring Up

I concede 

I’m not that competitive

whether you are better

isn’t that important to me

I want to be judged

on my merits alone

not on how much 

better or worse I may be

compared with anyone

better is relative

who is the winner

the one who comes in first 

or the one who finishes the race

on their own terms

<>

I grew up

in a school system

where I learned 

I would never measure up

because I wasn’t smart enough

to memorize the times table

smart enough

to regurgitate passages of text books

when I wrote exams

even when I was right

I was given no credit

because my spelling was so wrong

<>

coming out

I was never young enough

buff enough

hung enough

to be desirable 

in the eyes of those

to whom I was supposed to measure up to

<>

it’s hard to give up

trying to measure up

in a culture were getting ahead

is the measure of value

if you aren’t competitive

you’re a loser

no amount of self-confidence

will change that judgement

<>

so I concede

now leave me alone

judge someone

who deserves to measure up

This piece (finished on Dec 27, 2021) is a variation on one of my themes – cultural expectations vs nonconformity. Regardless of which fragment of our splintered culture one may fit even that splinter has it own set of expectations to measure up to. To step out of heteronormativity isn’t enough – because one ends up in one way or the other duplicating that power dynamic. Good queers ape hetero – adopting children, looking askance at non-monogamy, drag queens are now commercially viable.

The imperative to measure up starts early – prizes for best marks, best attendance from kindergarten on. It’s not a big step from beating the shit out of that kid who bullied you to prove you are manly enough to fucking the shit out that guy you pick up at bar proving you are more manly than him.

It’s not enough to be a good writer or published, you have to be profitable or you aren’t a real writer. Home cooks are inadequate until they win competitive baking shows (usually to make their children proud). Recognition becomes the point of productivity. Getting that gold star becomes the point of school not learning; a gold star to make your parents proud of you, not learning much beyond the power of approval.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.