I grew up chucking Barbies out of my bedroom window. Their pretty blonde heads and endless tanned legs endured this harsh treatment with complacent smiles, and seemed to grow stronger because of it. So strong that every time I climbed back upstairs after collecting the barbies from their unfortunate plummets, I would look at them a little closer. I grew jealous of their smooth, blemish free skin, their impossibly thin bodies, and their perfect button noses. I fried my skin laying in the sun with lemon juice in my hair, desperate to make it even just one shade lighter. I spent hours concealing the freckles that persisted on my skin throughout even the darkest nights of winter. I used my graphing calculator to count calories and chose to run instead of eat every time my stomach screamed for a reprieve. "I'll just do this once", you tell yourself "and then I'll be happy". But, perfection is an addiction and there always seems to be something you're missing. And so, you carve into your skin and change the very structure of your bones so that even in death you will be forever marked by your childhood obsession. You spend hundreds of thousands of dollars until your bank account is empty and your implants ache and the swelling on your new nose refuses to go down. The next time you go outside, after weeks of bandaging your face and popping pain killers, people stare. A lttle girl holding her barbie looks at you, then at her doll, then back up to you again. She thinks "well if she can look like her, then why don't I? How can I?" And so it happens again, and again, and again.
To anyone reading this: with or without plastic surgery you are beautiful, with or without makeup you are beautiful. Beauty is a societal concept that varies for each individual person so do not hold yourself to impossible standards because it's what you believe you need to do. Every single person, regardless of gender, has something unique and special about them. Be kind to yourself and learn to love yourself for everything that you are rather than fixating on what you are not.
Nobody talks to the dead. Laying inanimate on the table, their body filled with embalming fluids, stiff and silent, they never complain. Looking down upon the face of a pale woman, The mortician compartmentalizes. She takes a deep breath, mentally blowing out candles but the image stays the same. Her mother lays dead. She knew this would come, her mother requested it, she asked for her daughter to do what she did best but the sagging skin, the lack of blood, she looked as if someone had rung her out to dry. The girl pressed on, she pulled out her mother's makeup, running a hand along the plastic case, grounding herself. This was her element, She'd be her masterpiece.
So she began, rouge on the cheeks of her beloved, plucking eyebrow hairs and drawing on lipstick. Through the process tears would spring and bite at her eyes, she couldn't help but think back to her mother's life as she faced her death. Mom's beauty, her pain.
if disappointment is pain..
so many things disappoint.
a dragonfruit, looks like red flames,
but tastes bland, the seeds stick.
bacon-flavored salt, is essentially salt.
peacocks look beautiful, but they're assholes all.
the sequal sucked,
the reunion concert bored,
the holiday trip ended in the hospital.
but the dragon fruit!
it really makes me angry!
arms float like fairy wings -
be strong as steel, look soft as lace
the smile is fake
by now you should be friends with pain -
go on, those legs will not give way
but muscles hurt
...I think they might.
there comes a point when body beats mind -
the music scoffs and leaves you behind
that’s why we must practice
before we can fly.
we’ll get it, they tell us,
on our hundredth try
repeat from the top! stand up! on your feet!
slouching is lazy! the floor’s not your seat!
back to jumps, turns, extensions, and rises
whilst bearing the pain of foot torture devices
"Oh," I murmured, taking another sip of coffee.
His face fell, since oh isn't exactly the response one wants to telling their kid they've finally got proof that they are sober. He seemed aware that I was searching for the tell-tale signs that he was struggling. I could tell he was sitting stiffly to not let his left shake incessantly, and was holding his hands in his lap to keep from picking at the cup. His muscles were so used to being suppressed by the numbing effects of something that sobriety always made him fidgety. He focused hard on my face, reaching for some sympathetic section of my soul. I knew he was having trouble finding it since his addiction forced me kill that part of my heart long ago.
"What have you been up to?" he asked.
I shrugged. "School. I was thinking of being on the dance team next year but I don't think I'll have time with AP classes."
"Mm," he took another swig of his coffee. "I missed you guys a lot. Rehab is a motherfucker."
"So I've heard."
"Well, your birthday is coming up, right?"
"It passed," I murmured. "It was yesterday."
"At least I remembered to call you this year," he said with a nervous laugh.
A part of me wanted to castigate him for his self-deprecating joke, but this conversation was painful enough. He let his fingers explore the edges of the coffee cup, and within seconds, tiny fragments of the paper cup were all over his side of the table. Pity kept me glued to my chair, though even that was beginning to grow yellow and hard. My dad looked up at me with sad eyes.
"I really have missed you and your sister. Even your mama though she nags a lot," he said with a nostalgic chuckle. "The holidays are always hardest."
"It's not a good idea for you to come around at Thanksgiving."
"Did your mother find someone else?" my father sounded almost like a child who found out his goldfish died.
"No, no. Nothing like that. It's just different."
"What do you mean, Racecar?"
"Don't call me that. I just mean we spend it with Aunt Diane and her kids. We like it, but I know you hate Aunt Diane, and the feeling is definitely mutual. She only stopped talking about you after mom's breakdown."
"Oh. Um, is your mother still drinking?"
My dad peeled another piece of paper off his cup and the cup began to leak. Awkwardly, he pressed the cup to his lips, momentarily forgetting the hole at the top and spilling coffee all over his arm. He tsked with the cup in his mouth. I got up and got him some napkins. He took them graciously and tried to sop up his mess and slurp down his coffee at the same time. I watched him sadly. It was hard to watch this man, the silly dad I grew to love before I was old enough to understand why that man would disappear, reappear after everything we had been through. After seeing him scream at and push my mother around when they fought over his stashes. Him sneaking in my room at night to borrow birthday money he would never give back. Days and weeks at a time when he would disappear and we would awake to our mother cooking breakfast at five in the morning because it was easier to stay busy than break her own sobriety.
My dad realized how I was looking and made a face. It was hard to look at him and not feel anything but pain. All the memories just came wasking over me every time I saw that puzzled look. Me slipping into the bed with Karter and us talking so she could distract me from the fighting downstairs. The broken dishes that my mother would spend all night sweeping up. The dots of blood that lined the hallway when my dad took too much. The tears, the hushed whispers at family gatherings when Mom would drop us off, the shame on her face when Aunt Diane and Aunt Lucia asked where Dad was. Where's your husband? You didn't bring Jack? Jack didn't want to come? I could see by his face that he always wanted to come but couldn't, was trapped fighting something we couldn't see and was trying to suppress the fight with whatever would make him calm. Yet, it made him lose everything he was fighting for.
He put the cup down, licking his lips. "That was close."
I chuckled, and it almost didn't feel forced. He sighed and put his and on his head.
"I ruined this, didn't I?"
I shrugged. "I mean, it could've been better. I would've loved to do this over pizza. But, the pizza place doesn't have pastries like this so, C-?"
My dad chuckled. I peered at his watch. Karter would be walking from baseball practice to Rebecca's house, where I'd lied and told her I would be, in ten minutes. My dad noticed my face and chuckled.
"So where did you say you'd be?"
"Your my kid, Karsyn. I can tell when you've lied about something. Who's supposed to be going to get you?"
"Karter," I murmured.
"Yeah, she'd never understand us meeting up. That's why I called you," he said with a wink. "Go on to wherever you need to be. You have my number now. It won't be getting shut off any time soon."
"Okay. Um, do you want to meet again or--"
My dad shook his head. "I've caused enough trouble."
"Oh, well, I'll ask them about Thanksgiving. Maybe we can do what we used to do again this year. When we were all a family."
"Don't worry about it. Have fun at Aunt Diane's. I know your mother is enjoying not cooking."
I started to say something else, but the clock in my peripheral vision stopped me. I kissed his cheek and ran out and down the street towards Rebecca's house, quietly hoping that Karter would trip or get sidetracked before I got there.
Someone who is sensitive to art and nature
Loves it as it comes
No demands or expectations
Naturally in awe of its authentic beauty
Beautiful, skinny, rich women
Skin is flawless
Cheek bones sharp
Body type of a Barbie
Life is happy
Life is colorful
Life is surrounded by supportive family and friends
Relationships shown at their peak
Involved in many activities
Present yourself well
Befriend all coworkers
Fake your persona until everyone is society respects you
Take your mask off at home
Look at yourself in the mirror
Who have you become?
Is this who you want to be?
Don’t push yourself to have the perfect body
Don’t fake a smile for the photo
Don’t sell yourself short by only showing the work skills you have
You are much deeper
You have a soul and heart
Be your true self as much as you can
You can look yourself in the mirror
Proud of the person you are
Proud of the person you have become
Imperfection is art
Uniqueness is beauty
Genuine people are rare
Don’t let the standards fool you
We are all human babe
She was beautiful. Lover of margaritas, a "holistic accountant" (whatever that meant, but it sounded intriguing), living in Charlestown - she was the perfect speciman. She had studied in Hong Kong for a year in college. And she was dating my boyfriend.
I only found out about the accounting and Hong Kong because I stalked her online. But the rest my boyfriend shared with me, sometimes reluctantly but mostly with stars in his eyes.
She looked like me. She was a brunette, with wavy hair and hazel hairs. We even had the same body type. We were the same height. We were essentially the same girl, albeit he found her more interesting, appearances aside. And he loved going to Charlestown.
So how could someone so much more interesting than me not last, and I did?
Because she eventually got over him.
beauty is pain so shut up
"Beauty is pain"
My mother's favorite words.
I always thought it was so ironic that this phrase could describe her so well. My mother, someone who has fought for me, for my brother, for herself. She is beautiful.
I know this because people tell me she is, then they tell me I look like her. Im identical.
I don't want to be. My mother may be pretty on the outside but not so much on the inside. I don't want my beauty to compare to hers. I don't want to be compared at all, because my mother is bipolar.
My entire life I've had to get used to the pain side of the beauty. The yelling, the crying, the "sorry"s, then the restarts.
"Beauty is pain," she would tell me "so shut up." She then would spend her night crying to me about how sorry she was.
I don't want to be identical to that. I want my own beauty, the beauty on the inside. I don't want to be like my mother.