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.
For that’s all that’s left when
The made-up beauty makes it way down the pipelines.