There are complicated things coming out of me. There’s  adulthood and gender and sex coming out of me. It’s thick and black and kinky and it’s curling out of my pores. I’ve been waiting for it. Pulling at my skin to check for it.

Now the angry coils have clustered in my hard-to-see corners. But I’m standing on the diving board and it’s not so hard to see. Arms stretched way up. Heels over the water, toes clinging on for dear life and the eyes of the diving team on my armpits as they wait their turn. Heads in a row, peeking past a swimming cap to catch a glimpse of the complicated. Hard eyes in small girls with soft skin and tough jaws. I can feel the water behind me. Lean back into the chlorine. Just look for the water. Keep looking for the water. My kinky complicated soars through the air. My kinky complicated flying past the peroxide judges.

There’s blue all up in my ears so I can’t hear the clapping. For all I know they aren’t clapping at all. I swim with my jellyfish bubbles up to the surface.

2/10. 3/10. 2/10. 2/10.

The peroxide judges frown from behind their beetle-back sunglasses.

It’s dark like my complicated inside the changing rooms and I’m standing in a puddle doing buttons. It’s a whisper and a glance.

Did you see it?

It’s in the back of the throat and it’s hateful.

I know. How disgusting.

I look up. Guilty eyes in hard girls slip to the floor. They slip away from me and my disgusting.


gif illustration diving board water

Text and animated illustration by Jo Jackson