There once was a woman who lived in a bubble.
The bubble had always been there, from the moment she was born, and everyone around her had one too.
It filtered everything she saw, and made the world look just fine, but it also made the woman feel bad. Her reflection through the bubble was distorted, so all the things she didn’t like about herself looked much bigger than they were, and she could hardly see any good parts.
One day she saw some people who looked strange, although she couldn’t work out why. They were loud and confident, and moved through the world with power, leaving it changed behind them. She tiptoed closer to them and realised why they looked so different; they had no bubble!
She ran away as fast as she could, afraid of these strange people who were not living the way they were supposed to.
But she couldn’t forget about them, and eventually she started to wonder what it was like to live without a bubble. The thought terrified her, and yet the non-bubbles had seemed so… alive.
She searched for them and found them again. For a while she only watched them, learning how they moved and talked to and about each other. Sometimes they waved at her and she waved back, but didn’t dare get any closer.
Then she overheard one of the non-bubbles explaining that she had been born with a bubble as well, but she had burst it herself. Set herself free.
The woman decided to try it. She stood in front of her mirror and pushed at the bubble, but it was so thick and strong that she could only open a tiny hole in it. She pressed her eye to the hole and looked in the mirror. She couldn’t believe how different she looked! It was too strange so she looked away, but she left the tiny hole there.
She tried looking through it every day, and every day it grew a little wider, until one day with a pop her bubble disappeared completely.
She spent a long time looking at herself. Without the bubble blocking her view she saw there were so many wonderful parts of herself she had never been able to see before.
Then finally she looked around at the world, and realised that the bubble had been distorting things there as well. Everywhere she looked were things the bubble had been hiding from her.
Why did that advert for washing powder only contain women’s voices?
Why did that poster have only white people on it?
How could people say that trans women aren’t real women because they can’t have children? If she needed a hysterectomy, would she no longer be a real woman? So… did that guy actually believe he was complimenting her by saying she ‘looks fertile’?
Why did this clothes shop only stock 3 different sizes? All of which are well below the national average?
Did that song always have such rapey lyrics?
The people still in their bubbles couldn’t see the problems. Some of the non-bubbles tried to explain, and a few people burst out to join them, but most of them just got angry. They liked their bubble and the way it made the world look.
The bubble-free world was sometimes hard and frightening and painfully unfair, but the woman loved the feeling of being free to see it and try to change it.
She realised she could never force people to leave their bubbles. She wasn’t even very good at persuading them to try, but she decided to do her best anyway. Even if her trying only yielded the smallest results, it would be worth it.
It was the only bubble-free way to live, and she vowed never to let her vision be bubble-clouded again.