Today is a very important day.
The entire institution comes together today to take pictures, to show our progress off to the rest of the world. To show them we’re happy and cooperative and making great bounds in terms of personal growth.
Today is a very important day. But today is not a very happy day.
Nothing is outright banned. No one is outright turned away or told they can’t wear whatever they’ve chosen.
But the subtle comments, the half hidden snide remarks. The quiet shaming, the judgmental looks. The notes about what civilized and sophisticated, respectable, professional, look like. Contradictions abound between each comment and look.
It is not a very happy day for anyone who has ever tried to be the one they want, to fit their mold. To avoid the edge of their snarky comments.
Some don’t notice this day. Don’t see its importance. They don’t need to try to meet the expectations of the institution. They already have approval. Today for them, is neutral.
Somewhere in between the ones who care because they must, and those who don’t because they don’t have to, there are those who work against the institution on purpose, whether they can afford to or not, they make their statements wherever they can.
Those in between are the rebellion.
The rebellion is rainbow socks peaking out from beneath ironed black slacks, it’s a brightly colored braided rope bracelet instead of a plain silver faced watch with a simple brown leather strap. It’s a lower neckline each year, a skirt that comes in just shorter than regulation. It’s the edge of an exposed tattoo, hair pulled back in a ponytail to expose the dyed hair shaved into a brilliant mosaic pattern. It is pride suspenders hidden underneath a dress coat.
The rebellion is subtle. Maybe no one on the outside will notice. Likely the administrators won’t notice the pattern until they’re looking back at pictures. It will irritate them when they notice, they will worry that people on the outside will notice and wonder or retaliate.
The rebellion is the progress of an ideal tucked gently under the edge of someone’s cuff or hidden quietly between the folds of a robe, waiting for the moment it can be proud.
It’s slow so they won’t notice till it’s taken over, until it’s too late.
Rebellion is subtle.
Rebellion is the quiet girl dressed meticulously in all black. Professional clothing; the ironed slacks and button up shirt fastened with a fastidious black on black striped tie tucked into a smooth and wrinkle free black vest. Her hair up in a sharp bun with not a single hair escaping. Her shoes smooth and black, with a tiny heel that might thud lightly upon the heavily carpeted halls that lead to the pictures.
Her rebellion is subtle. It’s a sweeping, perfectly clean and buttoned trench coat that flows around her from her shoulders to her ankles as she casually joins the line.
It is taking a moment to remove her trench coat for her picture, apologizing quietly for the slight disruption, her back turned to the camera for a moment.
It’s her turning around to reveal a highly realistic, detailed, bright neon strap-on worn over the ironed black slacks, thrusting suggestively toward the camera. Greeting the shock and surprise of the administrators with ever cheerful bounces –
Today is a very important day.
Today is rebellion day. Rebellion is subtle.