A response Poem to Pretty by: Katie Makkai
The most important thing about a person is their body, right?
Or maybe, it’s their face?
The way we look dictates whether the man and the bar,
or at the bagel shop will give us a drink or our breakfast for free
“it’s on the house”
“it’s my treat”
“It’s on me”
Gotta love those phrases, because to me free food means that
you don’t think- I’m fat.
I used to be chubby.
A little kid, so ashamed of her plump, large and long body that she forced herself to hide in baggy t-shirts and one piece swimsuits, while all of the toothpick-twiggy girls with flat stomachs got to be beautiful in their bikinis
But they were not the ones who forced me into hiding
I was consumed by so much jealousy and self hatred, that as I hid under layers of clothing refusing to cover my face with foundation and mascara
I thought I was rising above it-
But I was drowning
In a sea of denial in the shape of loose fitting clothes.
Eventually, I convinced myself
Everything about me was okay, but
the compliments I received after “finding myself”
were just as corrosive as mean comments
And that if I buy into either one I am fooling myself
Don’t get me wrong. I love complements as much as I love free food,
But as soon as I lose perspective.
I lose everything.
The second I buy into the boy telling me that I am pretty is the second
I am burned by a status update of him
Getting back together with his girlfriend.
So I hide in my baggy tshirts
Why? Because it’s comfortable
Because it’s easy-
Not to worry about what others think of me
To close my eyes and know that everything will all be gone in a matter of time
And when I do wear makeup or “try that day”
I do it because it makes me feel- pretty-
And yes- no mere six-letter word can come close to who I am,
but it makes me feel-
Like a six letter shawl, that leaves me wanting an 8 letter blanket
A 9 letter quilt
We number ourselves.
She’s a six, he’s a five
the corrosiveness of complements
Looking back like a kid riding a bike for the first time
“Don’t let go”
but when they do, and they will
we are left with a shattered mirror like a broken bone
unable to recognize our own faces
begging for changes
what you see is what you get.
What would the world be like-
if people were inside out?
If instead of being judged by our masks
we were instead judged for our hearts or our minds
and the people who look so good now,
would be deformed and coated in a layer of
slime so thick their eyes would be sealed shut
Would they want to change then?
Go Grab the bucket,
I’ll get the soap and the sponge.
And we will finally see each other
You will see me for who I truly am.
Because underneath this layer of slime, on me
I know there is something worthwhile.