Maria Smith shows design who’s master

I get to be an architect. You get to be the building. I get to be the architect of this.

I get to look at you. I get to look at you before you exist. My looking makes you exist. You don’t exist without my looking. You might not notice me at first. That is because you haven’t noticed yourself in my eyes yet and you are still worthless. I circle you from a distance for a while. I make glances at you and I make glances at those around you. I make you curious about me. I make you curious about what I can do to you and how I can make you feel. I make you feel as though I am everywhere and you cannot escape me.

I get to scrutinize you. I change you and bend you so that you are what I want. I stretch you and move you and shift your weight. You are like clay to me. I get to press my thumb onto whichever part of you I wish. I get to dig my nails in and pull. I knock you into shape. I force you into reality. You are like cardboard to me. I get to sweeten your fibres. You are like paper to me. I get to ripple your thinness. You are like data to me. I get to fiddle your numbers.

I get to see all of you. I get to know every part of you. I draw you inside out. You don’t get to hide. I make drawings of your internal elevations. I see through you to your reflected ceiling plans. I cut you in halves and force your innermosts to flinch in the air. I pretend to want your wholeness but I will cauterize any part of you if it suits me. I get to have you in the image I decree. I know what you should be and I don’t stop clawing at your insides and printing your outsides with my eagerness until you are right. I try you. I revise you. I supersede you.

I get to write your story. I tell them what to think of you. I don’t tell them your bad because you don’t get to have bad. You don’t get to confess and be forgiven

I get to write your story. I tell them what to think of you. I tell them your size and your amount and your good. I don’t tell them your bad because you don’t get to have bad. You don’t get to confess and be forgiven. You don’t get to have anyone understand or listen or pretend to. I get to decide what of you is told and I get to tell it so that I get what I want from you. I keep telling them louder and louder as you squirm quieter and quieter until embarrassment and consent are confused and my fun really begins.

I get to scrape and twist and tear down. I get to expose and strip out and skim. I lay you out. I stand your ground. I peel your underneath. I poke loudly. I make you work hard. I make every sinew of your structure minimal and taut and only just able. You will always be in tension. You will long for collapse. But you will hold my vision in your fabric and you will hold it exactly as I tell you to. I get to decide your posture and positioning and I tie you to it. I don’t give a thought to your comfort. I don’t give a thought to your ache to rest or even adjust. You don’t need to worry about what you want because I get to decide what you have and can’t have.

I get to decide what you wear. I get to make sure you appear as my ideal. You might feel too tall or too gaudy or too bristling or too incongruous but that doesn’t matter. I get to adorn you in the sheaths of my belief and you get to be grateful. You get to be grateful because you get to respect all I have gone through to make you perfect.

I get to enjoy the perfection I have made of you. I get to stare. You get to keep still and silent. You get to bear my burden and represent my interests. I get to present you to the people I want to impress. You are my trophy. You are my pretty idea of you. You make me look good. You make me feel powerful. You make me feel irresistible. You make me feel incontrovertible. You make me feel immortal.

You are the building. I am the architect.

Maria Smith is an architect and teaches a course at the Cass