When I was a kid, I wanted to be
a Disney princess—
beautiful, with big blue eyes
and flowing blonde hair.
I knew that sunshine lightened my
mousy brown locks
and wearing white made my eyes look blue
so I wore the same shirt for a week
and got a sunburn on my face.
I am still waiting to look like a princess.
I am realizing that I never will,
because for every royal feature I might
hope to find on the outside,
there is a villain,
a witch doctor,
burning away in my bones;
my jealousy is an ugly stepsister,
my anxiety is the crooked nose
of the evil queen's disguise,
the huntsman sent to cut out Snow White's
heart lives safely in my mind:
I am my own antagonist.
when I sing, no birds tell me,
"you are beautiful,"
when I dance, no prince asks me,
"may I cut in?"
when I cry, my tears hold no healing power,
when did I become the bad guy?
The conspirator against myself
on the Ides of March?
The fault is not in our stars,
but in ourselves, that we are
beings of infinite beauty,
composed of elements you would
never find in gold or jewels,
trembling in our shells
and waiting for our savior to
climb the braided worries
that have long since tied themselves in knots.
The fault is in our vision,
that we cannot identify a beautiful thing
when we face it in the mirror.
The fault is in our taste, that we cannot appreciate
the tingle of stardust our laughter leaves behind
as it lights upon our lips.
The fault is in our touch, that we are not
delicate enough with our own hearts
when we cradle them in calloused hands.
The fault is in our hearing, that we choose to listen to the voice in our heads shouting
rather than the beat of our heart whispering
"give it a shot."
We fail to remember that at
our smallest components,
our bodies are identical to a forest fire,
burning with a passion that I can only
I will pass down to my daughter,
because if there is one princess
I'd want her to become,
it is the one who loved the important things so much—
family, happiness, compassion—
that she abandoned those that did not matter—
beauty, reputation, expectations—
to protect the ones close to her heart.
If there is one princess I'd hope she would admire,
it is the one that was never a princess
it is the warrior,
the flower that bloomed in adversity,
the brave, bold, unashamed
cherry blossom that believed