ours or theirs

Don’t make us cheerleaders
Don’t demand we look a certain way
Don’t have us wear a suit of patriarchy
Designed for ogling and locker room culture

Don’t demand from us
How we should dress
How we should behave
How we should talk
How we should pleasure
Or whom.

After generations of living on else’s terms
Our opinions and thoughts may have blurred
Between what’s ours and what’s conditioned

Imagine living in that matrix
Where we don’t know the real
from the other real
The other real, as easily real
That hordes of us still bow to

Still instill in delicate minds born to us
Still preach it to growing limbs under our care
Still believe in it when voices of reason ask not to

And more clones of this system are born
They flood amongst us and walk next to us
They raise little ones just like them
Blinded, ill-informed, brainwashed.

Unless they have the mind to change their mind
By standing up against what’s fed to them
By finding their tribe to support them
To separate their thoughts from those thoughts
To know what came from them, or them
Our minds or theirs
Our body or theirs

Who reject being a cheerleader for the sake of anyone else
And become a cheerleader for themselves.

by Rhea Gupte

Rhea Gupte is a visual artist, photographer, creative director and writer. Her body of work forms an emotive dialogue with the viewer. Her process is rooted in exploring feelings, fragility, self-growth and presenting these through imagery and words.