Beautiful

She would tell me I am beautiful.

She would do her best to convince me of this,
to build up my self-esteem
in relation to my bodily self,
because I guess I seemed
too self-conscious.

She would point out how lovely my face is--
¡Que bonita cara tienes!--
and then worry,
because I never wore braces,
and, apparently, no one praises
a crooked smile.
But she would still tell me I am beautiful.

Ever since I was little,
my mother would tell me I am beautiful.

She would smile into my eyes,
and fluff up my bangs,
y me decía la bella que soy--
¡Tan preciosa su nenita linda!--
and she'd promise me she wasn't just saying it.
Que no porque es mi mamá me lo decía,
but because just by looking at me,
anyone could see it.

She would tell me I am beautiful.

And when I got older
and boys got bolder
with every girl but me,
she assured me that, surely,
they just couldn't see what she did.
But one of these days,
I'd be turning their heads.

After all, I am beautiful.

But...just to be on the safe side,
even though I am beautiful,
there were definitely some things I could do,
ways I could improve.
And all of this, of course,
she says out of the deepest love.

Because, who else but her would tell me
that my hair is a little too flat,
and my face is getting kind of round,
and that shirt doesn't quite fit,
and, maybe my laugh is just a bit too loud?

Oh, and, while we're on the subject,
are my fingernails clipped?
Because I really shouldn't itch
at my eczema arms,
or scabs might form
(and no one wants to kiss such dry skin).

Aye, pero, ¡yo no me tengo que preocupar!
Because...I...am "beautiful."

I just need to, y'know,
make sure I use the stairs,
and watch what I eat,
and, maybe wear my contacts once in a while,
because my glasses hide my smile,
which is such a shame

because I am so beautiful!

Pero mi mami,
if I am so “beautiful,”
why do all my shirts have sleeves?
And, in the summer,
why do I wear jeans
instead of going to the beach?

Why do I sit in the corner of the fitting room,
watching Kayla and Jules
try on their prom dresses in size two,
clutching my size ten,
and hearing you in my head
pointing out their smooth skin
and their flat stomachs
and ignoring the fact
that my best friends
are athletes,
and I? I sing in musicals!

If I am so beautiful,
why is it, that when I told you
I had found beauty in sarcasm and banter,
in late-night FRIENDS marathons
and ancient Greece lectures,
you asked me
when was the last time I went to the gym?

If I am so beautiful,
why is it, that when I couldn’t stop smiling
because he made me laugh
and kissed me under the stars
and never cared
if all my curves were in all the wrong places,
you started crying,
porque la verdad es que no, mi mami,
I actually think I gained some weight?

If I am so beautiful,
why can’t I just be beautiful,
and leave it at that?

She would tell me I am beautiful.

And you know what?
People like my laugh.
And my glasses look good.
Some guy called me a dime,
and, honestly, pasta’s the only food
the dining hall doesn’t mess up.

So I tell myself that I am beautiful.
Y, ¿sabes que, mi mami?

Por fin, lo estoy creyendo.

This poem is about: 
Me
My family
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

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