Don’t tell me to think I’m beautiful,
Like it’s a gift,
Like I should,
Because you’re the first to say it, you think.
My strength comes from me.
Don’t lecture me about how pretty I am.
I’m not very pretty.
It doesn’t bother me anymore.
It just is.
You can say all women are beautiful.
But it’s a line you think you should say.
You don’t know me well enough to say I’m beautiful.
You think all women should think they’re beautiful.
Like all people should have confidence.
And that you’re God’s gift because you can tell this girl
This one right here
How pretty she is.
And that will make it all better
You can fix her sadness if she knows she’s pretty.
It used to be you
That no matter who I talked to
I was talking to you.
But not anymore
I almost wish I was back there.
Where I thought you the greatest,
But I’m glad not to wear the acolyte robes
For the great priestess anymore.
I can see your loose seams now,
And I can speak to everyone I want.
All the fears
Noted, logged, cataloged
At the end of my book
Under the back-cover flap
I’ve tallied them up.
Two years, twenty seven days
Spent worrying about meals.
Three thousand four hundred and two
Thoughts on car wrecks.
Eight hundred minutes
Clutching at the fear of heights.
I wrote them all down.
I can see how I spent my whole life.
Accounted for in little terrors.
If I have children who meet my parents, they’ll never know them as I knew them. Those people are gone. They’ll not recognize the soft, cuddly, chubby Mom I grew up with, who wore few bras and had short curled hair. They won’t know my father with these strange eye magnifying glasses. He hasn’t said it yet, but I’m waiting. I wait for the phrase, “I’d like to be able to play with my grandchildren.” They won’t know them without the pains in their knees and backs. They won’t know them without those added years of I-could-have-done piling on guilt from time. They’ll only know the wrinkles, never to see how beautiful my Mom could be. And then they’ll die while my kids are in college, and my kids will care. But not really, they never really knew them before their minds went. Never had the chance. The kids were too young. They had me too late. It’s too late to know them.
That might not be bad after all. Maybe I can dull all they the messups they did to me through a filter for the next ones down. If they never meet the originals, they can’t spread the fire of self-hate they gave to their children. If I can’t see them, I won’t be them. I have a chance to be better for me and mine.