On beauty (and the lack thereof)

There’s a horrible side to beauty

Most people don’t talk about.

And it’s not in the movement

From socially perceived ugly duckling

To socially acceptable and sartorial swan

But in the aftermath.

It’s when the makeup comes off

Particle by particle

From the eyes, the skin, the lips

And you return, to the ugly duckling

No one wants to see when you “wake up like this”

From smudge to smudge

You erase the beauty and return

Every blemish to it’s now deserving spot

Every crack shows, and new cracks appear

Telling you it’ll be harder to be beautiful the next time around.

As you wash away every speck

Of the reasons everyone admired you at the party

Or the man you liked actually did a double-take

You see yourself for what you’d rather

No one else saw

The ugly duckling

The pretend swan

That let’s the mask drain away into the past

As it embraces reality like it would death

Because every pore looks like a disease

You wish you never had.

But, every once in a while,

A patch of skin rises from the ashen face,

Glowing, resplendent in its ugliness

And you know, in that moment,

That the war paint isn’t worth the effort

Not when that bright spot can attract

A thousand smiles

(Maybe not the 350 social media likes)

But this is you. All of you.

In your duckling glory.

Celebrate it

For that’s all that’s left when

The made-up beauty makes it way down the pipelines.