I know that I am beautiful

My mother has told me every single day since I was born,

From before i could ever begin to comprehend the love-filled prose pouring from her lips.

When I was still small enough to allow others to handle me, before I reached the years of teenage rebellion and angst,

She would comb through my hair with her strong fingers, using a delicate touch unknown by my family.

She would sing me lullabies, her voice as sweet as sugarcane and as smooth as the red ballpoint ben she writes my birthday cards in each year

With her half cursive, half illegible writing that never becomes easier to read.

It’s almost as if she wants each and every aspect of her life to have a mystery behind it.


I know that I am beautiful.

I used to tell myself each and every day when I was only the size my 10 year old brother is now, and only half his age,

And my favorite color was pink, which I wore with poise and pride every day because I did not yet fear the stinging words of those who demonize my femininity, and force assumptions based on the red color awash my lips, and not the intelligent ideas that come from them.

I would stand in front of my step mother

Twirling in endless circles with my arms looped above my head,

Dreaming of a lifetime in which I am a ballerina, dancing easily across a grande stage with thousands watching the light touch of my dainty feet across the floor.

And I would sing, sing to the top of my lungs, reaching out with my soprano voice

That I am the most beautiful girl in the world.

Even with my half-crooked, half-missing smile, and fingers always dirty from digging for worms to use for fishing,

Even with my bowl-cut hair and my voice that overpowered even the tallest of men,

Even with my fingernails, never painted and always a bit jagged and my mismatched clothing that could only be considered cool to either myself or a colorblind 73 year old man with astigmatism and an affinity for plaid paired with polka dots,

I was beautiful.

There were no flaws, because what 5 year old girl knows a world of flaws?

I knew nothing but my too-big feet that marched only on toes and hand-me-down tshirts that were always just a little bit too big for my scrawny arms.


I know that I am beautiful.

It’s hard for me to say that to myself some days

Because even though when I stare into my bathroom mirror that I should’ve cleaned weeks agos, the middle mirror falling off the hinges,

And I see a girl who is, by most accounts, relatively conventionally attractive,

I am always forced to look into my own eyes and ponder whether the soul that exists within the slowly dying shell is really, truly, without a single doubt beautiful.

I think outloud to myself, and I wonder if people would keep leaving me if my heart was as pretty as I want it to be.

Does pushing people away really make others perceive me as gorgeous?

I do love being alone. My best friend is me,

But I don’t much fancy being lonely,

Which is a strong dilemma that battles inside of my chest each time I am to come to terms with it.

Breaking that loneliness, that ever-long period of only oneself can do terrible things, it could kill you, it could end you up in a dead-end alleyway with wolves upon your back, or riding a train full speed that hits a wall.

It could end you up in an apartment that’s a little worse for wear, surrounded by people that you’ve only just met that night, and you want to be included, be part of the group, make a name for yourself amongst strangers.

So you drink more than all the others that are older and bigger than you, and you smoke more than you should

Because while everyone surrounding you has been doing this for years, you never let yourself shy away from being the ‘goody-two shoes’ your siblings all say you are

Until this day, this one day, where you pretend you don’t care about the rules you’ve set for yourself, the one’s where you don’t go to places that you know will get you hurt

The rules that every woman knows, that every single mother has passed down to her daughter since before time could speak.

So you sit in the apartment, hazed by the poisons in your brain and the ones that you’ve consumed also

And when someone that you know, someone that you hoped you could trust is left alone with you in a room lit only by black lights and neon posters,

You are left to wonder, after the matter, how could something like this happen to someone who is beautiful?

I think about it every night, when I make myself relive it before I fall asleep,

Searching for any clue as to a why, or even as to a what.

And the only things I remember are the things that I can’t remember when I’m awake

So if I forget to take the small white pill in the orange bottle that sits on my dresser before I go to bed, I am plagued with nightmares that terrorize me until the next time I open my eyes.

My eyes, that have seen so much and loved so hard,

My beautiful big, brown, boring, beautiful eyes that match my

Big, boring and beautiful soul.

I know that I am beautiful, and that is the one thing that can never be taken from me.


This poem is about: 
My family


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