She was referred to as “Dumb Blonde” at the office. Much was made of her towering physique, and massive bust size. The lightness of her hair, they said, caused by box-bleach must have sunk into her brain and made her daft. The jokes at the water cooler more often than not were made at her expense. The staff enjoyed their laughs- little moments of happiness in an otherwise mundane day. They thought little of any consequence, indeed the little that was thought was shrugged off by the notion she wouldn’t even be able to comprehend their sophisticated jabs. What they did not see, however, at 10 and 2 was her crying in the bathroom stall. Imprisoned in a body that did not feel real to her. And when she stood to wipe the tears in the mirror she fantasized about her homeland, not necessarily in the state she’d fled it in, but a homeland was a home none-the-less in the small comfort of traditions in culture that she could understand, be understood and be made whole again. She fantasized about cutting off her breasts, her hair, her nails, her heels and growing some facial hair. Most of all she wanted freedom and comfort and confidence in who she was. But her own mind, and her home land, and her adopted home, and her office job, and all the world seemed only to yell her down until she was too small to stand, too weak to crawl, and fumbling on bony legs in awkward heels, as she’s been taught to do, in a foreign land on unsure ground she overhears herself defined by these two words, “Dumb Blonde” – as if that were the beginning and end of her. As if her life were conceived merely for their punch line and all the struggles and victories null-in-void to the richness of their entertainment at her expense.