Chapter 1


if i asked the simple question,
"what does it mean to be beautiful?"
how would you go about answering that?
i don't want a description of a celebrity,
i don't want you to point at a model,
or at a friend.
i don't want you to try to tell me that beauty is synonymous with words like "thin," "flawless," or "timeless."
i do not want you to tell me that you are not beautiful.

don't tell me that you're not beautiful because of your skin colour.
colours are relevant only in the world of art;
everywhere else they are simply there.
your skin does not hold your beauty,
and these colours do not control you,
and do not ever let them tell you that any one of these colours makes you impure.

society has taken the word beautiful and it has twisted it to mean something that it was never meant to mean,
turned it into a definition for a photoshopped girl in a magazine.
the dictionary definition for beautiful reads "pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically."
everyone's mind and senses work in different ways,
so to one person you might be cinderella,
and to another you might be ursula.
it is nothing to get upset over.
we are only humans;
our perceptions of "beautiful" were bred, not born.
i did not open my eyes when i was two days old and immediately know what i found to be beautiful.
beautiful was bred into my life by a doll with a waist smaller than my finger.
i learnt how to be pretty from magazines with stick thin models that i flicked my way through at the age of seven.

if i were to tell you how beautiful you are now,
i would tell you that you possess all the grace of a lace ribbon.
your elegance vies with that of a music box.
being beautiful does not mean starving yourself so that you may appear frail and delicate.
your heart is fragile enough without being surrounded by a cage of brittle bones that appear through your skin.
let your body be strong.
you can learn how to shout and scream and fight and still be delicate.
i don't need to see your bones to know that you are delicate.
you will learn how to mend yourself and the others around you with your words and your actions.
you will remember how to bind together the bones you have broken from cruelty.

calling you ugly is a way of dismissing you.
if you call yourself ugly, it is a dismissal of yourself.
you are worthy of your own attention, just as you are worthy of theirs. do not let yourself be convinced that you're not good enough.
when people do not listen,
learn to shout through a megaphone until they have no choice but to hear you.
do not spend your life seeking approval from others.
you will never be satistfied.

society will tell you that stretchmarks are ugly.
my mother always warned me never to fall,
because then i would scar my skin and no boy would ever love me.
stretch marks and scars are not things to be ashamed of;
they are signs of you shedding your skin.
your soul has grown so great that your skin cannot contain the wonder and magic held inside.

your scars are your story,
a whisper of the person you have made yourself within each one.
do not be ashamed of who you are,
for your scars whisper a story to every person who's eyes land on them,
remarking quietly 'there was hurt here before but i have come a long way since then."
your bruises are the places where the universe has touched you
and left you with her charcoal fingermark,
and scars are where she has dug her fingernails into your skin in an attempt to prevent you from leaving her.

beauty means that you can stomp around in timberland boots
and scream like the gunshots
and still be delicate and frail.
beauty is not something defined by your ability to walk in heels,
or the way you hold yourself.

society has standards of beauty that were created by people with coloured glass taped over their eyes,
and everything they see is tainted by the brainwashing they have endured.
society would have you believe that to be beautiful is to be obedient; hairless; ladylike.
you by no means have to meet these standards.
they were made to be unobtainable.


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