Is That a Phone?

This week I kicked my brand-new phone.

Three times.

The new iPhone 11 whatever.

A whole extra twenty dollars on my phone bill.

It’s delicately robed in a skin of glass that seems more fragile than the last man I dated, a sad country singer who was intimidated because I find more than one gender enchanting.

Suffice it to say, I am annoyed on all accounts.

Phones get bigger, inflated with self-importance. 

Imbued by a culture always waiting for “The Next Big Thing”, quite literally in this case.

The new iPhone 11 is about six inches long, which is a claim to fame I am not sure even the country singer could have boasted. Nor can the pocket size of my pants. I wouldn’t have bothered with this newest monstrosity of a phone had I not officially killed my last one, on account of dropping it, face down, outside the dive bar after a seven-cigarette streak.

Obviously, my hand-eye coordination is not the true focus of this piece.

I didn’t drop-kick my new phone for the joys of watching a spider web bloom across a screen worth a week of food. Instead, it slipped from my pants, without my hands to blame for the fumble.

 It seems my pockets are insufficient to contain this prized jewel of my generation.

Who do I have to blame for such a lack of storage in my clothes? I find no lack of storage for my walk-in closet. Yet, that is socially acceptable.  To fill a closet with clothes of their choice.  Requiring me to wear a purse if I would like to leave the house with more than just my makeup on. Whose name must I cry to the heavens as I shake my fists at the futility of women’s pockets?

There is no one name. There is no one person for my irate frustration to be directed at. In fact, it is the greatest entity I fight against as a woman.  They deemed the shape of my ass more important than the chance I might be more than my physique.

So, what do I call this soulless perpetrator? What has nobody but 7.53 billion sets of eyes?

Society, of course, the world’s greatest label maker that moves faster than the newest cell phone edition can be announced. When men’s pockets dive to the depths of almost ten inches, (surely there is an overcompensation in there somewhere) mine are sewn shut in the front, and barely cover my third knuckle in the back. The world would be aghast if that back pocket had even an extra inch of depth, for then how may the admirers calculate the circumference of my ass cheeks as I strut down the street?  My sexuality is significantly more important than the ease of keeping my phone in my pocket, God forbid maybe even a wallet back there too.

I am a woman; therefore, I am labeled for the attractiveness I must attain to maintain my own confidence and Instagram count.

I should not dress and wear something that might in any way fit who I really am. No! That is not my function within society.

This would explain why my teenage rebellion didn’t perish after my less than graceful exit from high school. I still feel the need to fight, to push against what is wanted and expected and find a way to be who I am, not just the socially constructed gender I am supposed to be.

I know that discovering that person isn’t easy. So much is assumed and expected, so much is laid upon every woman’s shoulders, cis or trans, the moment they leave the comforts of their goblin den, where personal choice is the standard. This rigid expectation doesn’t want to allow me to attend class in a flowing pink dress that sways around my heels, not without comment from the man on the light rail that I look like his granddaughter before she “got fat”.  Nor does it accept my leather jacket and black skinny jeans I stomp around in the next day out of angst I never found a way to shed. I am ashamed to admit that I have allowed such a weight to make a home upon my chest and heart, second-guessing each outfit and its effect before my foot hits the front porch. Not always, but sometimes it seems easier to just lay down, remove the leather jacket and ditch the pink dress, to let those expectations crack my ribs from the mass of cues from celebrity Instagram’s on my chest.

Not anymore.

My mother is full of witty wisdom and idioms, but the best one she ever told me didn’t even rhyme. “If you have two choices and one of them is easier and the other is harder, then the second one is probably the right choice”. Growth only comes from struggle and strength, not from coasting without effort or change. Skin does not callus unless forced to from time and effort.

So, let us callus! Let us pick the harder path, the one that screams “No!” in the face of a world that wants a quiet and pocketless woman. Let us take the labels and expectations and toss them to the wind as carelessly as they were tossed at us as children in the crib.  Find your labels, rip them to shreds as I did in the last text message I sent to that homophobic country singer.

“I cannot and will not change who and what I am to fit into your ideal vision of me. And if who I am is not who you want, then kindly fuck-off.” Signed, Silvana

Written by Silvana Onofrio

On January 1, 2020


  1. Alexandra Wang

    What a well written post! That’s right! We should should be in charge our identities not society. Our identities are ours to choose.

    • dtopping

      Thank you so much! Silvana really is such a talent, and love her philosophy.


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