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Pretty

It's a trendy topic,

talking about women's bodies

what's good, what's bad

whether fat is the fad

but my only thought

is how goddamn amazing

this body that I'm in is


Mine went from failing,

dying of disease

to giving life

to two children, and

carrying them with relative ease


Watching as my belly grew

my little boobs, too!

Amazed that my body could grow two other lives

when not long ago

it could barely hold mine


and then on a Friday

this body told me it was time

my babies were ready and so was I

for 34 weeks and 5 days

my bones and my brain and my blood

did the work of sustaining three lives

his, hers, and mine


It's so easy to forget what

my body does for us, for me

when I catch myself in the mirror

and don't like what I see


Cellulite on my ass and

rolls in my middle

I jiggle when I run up the stairs

but I have to remember that for years,

I looked into my eyes with contempt

not for being too big, but for being too thin

My knobby knees and the veins in my wrists

I saw all the things

I wished I could be


Too thin, too big

I'll probably never be

exactly the way I'd like to be

I value not fixating on appearance, but

I get sucked into thinking those thoughts that say

you should run more, you need to shave

get your hair done, do something with your face


I see the girls on the 'gram

just doing their best,

but their message tells me

I need this, I need that, spend to be your best!


Slow down, put down the phone

my daughter is watching.

I feel a little crack in my heart

knowing that already I have

told her that pretty is the currency

when I get done up to go out


she sticks her little finger in my eyeshadow

and swipes it across her toddler eyelid

shit, she's been watching,

says, look at me, mommy!


I tell her she's cute all the damn time

because it's just what we say

because to me she's perfect in every way

but what message is she taking away?


how can I tell her, show her, let her know

that pretty isn't equivalent to her worth

I know there's something else I should say

but it doesn't come to me naturally


What I mean when I say

'you're so cuuuute!'

is that I love the way you smile

your laugh fills my cup

I love watching every little thing you do

you're smart, you're clever,

you're perfectly, wonderfully

uniquely you


I'll spend my life tailoring my words

because I want her to know her worth.

To me she is precious and I hope she never

looks at someone and thinks, 'I wish I were her'.


Well,

this little poem went from a simple idea

about how my body is amazing just for existing

to a love letter to my daughter

and an apology for so often forgetting

that looks are not everything


My little love, the world will surely tell you

that it's in your best interest to diligently follow

the standards that are set for you

they'll tell you what beautiful is

and convince you that it's not you


but my wish is that you have the courage to be

all that you are and not what you 'could be'

and though we falter, always remember,

pretty isn't everything, not even close

you're precious and perfect

in all of your faults.


—m

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