I looked up at my mother as a child
I will never be as beautiful as her when I grow up
No woman will ever be
As a teenager I watched
As my peers started developing
Curves on their bodies
And edges in their hearts
I watched as the pretty girls got boyfriends
(Who would eventually make them cry)
I watched as girls relaxed their hair and hated the fact that I wasn’t allowed to relax mine
“Straight hair looks pretty ma, I’m tired of this bush on my head”
(I didn’t understand anything)
I remember gaining weight, and people noticing
My dinner became hot water and lemon
I remember the last year of high school.
I remember the first time a boy looked at me and called me pretty
I don’t know why it meant so much
Why it still means so much to young girls
I remember relaxing my hair
(and immediately regretting it)
I remember my first year in varsity and more boys calling me pretty, (usually accompanied by a comment about my dark skin)
I remember learning how to use photoshop.
I made my skin lighter. I made my eyes blue
Perhaps it looked nice at the time. (If nice was a stranger)
“You talk to much for a beautiful girl”
Must I turn my mind off and just take my clothes off? I remember catching myself.
I remember crying.
It has been a chase. A chase for beauty, since the day I realized I was a “her”, I wanted to be beautiful. Not realizing that it had nothing to do with how I looked.
I no longer want to be the pretty one, that is a prison far to harsh for my heart. And a distraction far too dangerous for progress.
There are other things. Far more appealing. Far more magnificent. Only now I realize that’s what I was looking at.
While I was watching my mother.
It was never her beauty.
It was just her.