Notions of Beauty

As an adolescent she’s told her looks are of a different class
Thus she finds herself staring hard in the looking glass
Not something she understands like ‘cute’ or ‘pretty’
Or even something as distinct like ‘siddity’
Just a tad too young to get the full meaning of erotic
But just old enough to know it’s not good to be exotic

Ferried every other Friday to the beautician’s chair
The only way to tame her long tightly woven hair
Suffers sleeping at night with a snug clothing pin
Shaping her nose so it’s straight and thin
Wooing her lips to sit just a tad inside
Knowing what they say about lips that are wide

Gone are the colorific beads that once adorned her hair
She’s older now and looks like that look cause stares
No batiks of blazing hues or other prints of ‘that’ fashion
More intents to belie the stereotypes of passion
Make sure her posture, like her diction is just so
Muddling through comparisons to a cookie we know

Walking ramrod straight without a rounded swerve
An attempt to camouflage of her natural curve
For decades she carefully toed that social standoff
Through the changing climes of wardrobe and coif
Never looking like ‘that’ was her personal pride
But conflicted as social and ethnic respect collide

But one perm too many turned it all about
Years of chemicals caused her hair to fall out
She tried extensions and other sorts of hair aids
She’s told leave it alone or more will fall out in spades
Her hair short and kinky, not since her childhood
She’s forced to face her definitions of what is good

Her childhood teachings, the well meant suggestions
Every single bit of it came into question
Resentful for feeling defensive of other’s disdain
Now that her looks no longer follow the ‘main’
Realizing she herself was once guilty of the same negation
That had nothing to do with her character or her education

It was a few years more to combine mentalities
Before she was comfortable with her new realities
Now she revels in her cultural prints and chains of jute
And she’s just as gregarious in her pinstripe suit
No longer concerned with how well she blended
Notions of beauty redefined, her spirit mended

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dVerse ~ Poets Pub | Poetics– The Art of Letting Go

20 thoughts on “Notions of Beauty

    • If only it were that easy. The corporate world, though a lot more relaxed than years past, does not operate that openly. We all know many businesses have a ‘dress code’ written or implied, that puts that whole kibosh on that level of personal expression.

  1. Oh,the agonies of conforming to conventional beauty. It is good when we finally see the light. The young in particular are pressured to conform to the stereotype and it represents a serious problem with health issues. Good poem.

  2. I’m new to your blog, and this is the second of your poems that I have read, and, once again, I really like the voice and the story you write. There is an easy progression and natural storytelling here. I felt sad reading the line about the abandoned beads for her hair, and exhilerated at the end. Lovely!

  3. clap clap clap…good on her getting over the ways of the prim and propper…far too many abuse themselves to fit that mold you know…and to what end…some nice humor along the way as well…smiles.

  4. Sometimes the hardest images to let go of are the ones we impose on ourselves – sometimes they’re the ones imposed on us by our upbringing. I think we all have to learn to be comfortable in our own skins and being who we uniquely are, but it is so hard to actually do that.

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