Poetry

Not Pretty fusion

LaQuinta Sanchez and Tiffany Luard…performed at the Rubby Slipper Fringe
May “2010” / maybe “deeper than skin” ???

“Not Pretty.” I said, staring into brown eyes
Ethiopian coffee brewed strong. No cream, just sugar
I was just this little girl that walked barefoot down rocky roads, in Larose, played in sugar cane fields, dug crawfish out of ditches, skipped rocks on the bayou, and chased mosquito hawks. Yet, inside, I cried, “Not pretty.” Those words echoed until they crescendoed externally to shatter mirrors, which I grew to detest. They told me stories of, “You ain’t half bad.” But since I never saw anything on TV that positively reflected me, I felt, “no good.” I was forced fed that beauty was equivalent to fair skin, straight or wavy hair, and light eyes. So, it’s no surprise that later in life when I was told, “You’re beautiful,” internally I screamed, “LIES!”

So, in order to force this square peg into a round hole, I added cream. I tried to take this strong cup of java to at least a caramel latte. And as days faded to weeks, I thought: almost, but still, not pretty. As I stared into brown eyes and ran these mocha colored hands across the kinks on my head: wouldn’t it be nice if I had “good hair.” So, I “lyed” for twenty minutes. My scalp snapped, crackled, and popped like mom’s fired chicken in a cast iron skillet. Edges bone-straight, hair silky smooth, but internally, I had no idea how twenty years of chemical abuse would affect me. My edges became battered shore lines and the field that once produced soft cotton, developed vacant patches. It destroyed me mentally. Inside my third eye that once rested like a pond on a hot summer’s eve, transformed into a raging sea. Light nauseated me and sounds that once soothed me became ice picks driven into temples.

It wasn’t not pretty enough, but it was simply not “good” enough. Not , not… not enough, I said staring into my caramel eyes. Not much of the minstrel fantasy it was to cracked up to be. Not the house nigga sippin tea in high noon. Not pretty enough. Curly frazzled array of widespread kaleidoscopic cornfields, dazzled my crimson mahogany base. Never mind, my Melanin deficiency, of my eyes that sparkled in contrast. I was just this little girl that wallowed in the light alone but surrounded. In a company of chaos who played in the bedazzled sandals they gave me to match the hype. Skipped barefoot in the mud whenever in blind sight. Where male admiration dripped into playmates. Less girl-mates attempting to erase the hate and chased by desires to comfort, eventually became, my fall from grace. Yet inside I cried. Not enough. These words echoed, hallowed my inside until my souls blood was riddled with lies that decrescendoed down my spine, coiling me into the fetal position. A metaphor; which I grew to detest. They told me stories of you ain’t half. You ain’t black enough, you ain’t American. Why you talk white like that, why you don’t fit in? But since TV didn’t throw rays of empowerment that positively reflected me as the no good dice, a jezebel, a combination of the black brute with the white mind. So it no surprise that later in life when I was told I’m worthy…
Internally I screamed LIES!.

It’s funny the things we go through to achieve a non-existent level of perfection. Short hair, we do care. We spend hundreds just to transform into some kind of “ian”, Hawaiian, Brazilian, Malaysian, and Indian. Buy eyelashes that curl up toward the back of our foreheads. Shave off eyebrows, etch on new ones to appear as if we are in a constant state of shock. We want butts like Beyonce and J-Lo. We undergo the knife risk disfigurement or death. Inject poison into our skins to look like porcelain. Why settle for Bs when you can have triple Ds? Wear corsets that shift organs and restrict breaths. We want a quick fix, meals skipped, or these cotton ball diets. The madness must end.

So In order to force this square peg into a rounded hole, I added my alter ego. The good haired bandit, This good hair I never found. So I “lyed” So I could join the Ahem, “my black sistas” , my place; they said I had one, My scalp Snapped cracked and popped. A fires so hot my curls disappeared. Inside my third eye no light beamed It riddled it self to a glimmer ready to shine my ship home.

Repentance struck in 2010, when I declared a war on that box. A square that would not monopolize me. An anomaly. An individual, a person, a human. Deeper. We call skin, of all the thing we use, amongst this external hub that we decorate; our hues are what we choose to review. Often lacking love. I became an ally of love so that my ship could come back home. My light from him. perfect imperfection.

So in 2010, I declared war on this cookie cutter mentality. I decided that this cup of coffee brewed strong was just that. And anyone that couldn’t handle it, then that was on them. And this hair coiled on the top of my head, is a gift, and this body is a blueprint, uniquely designed by Him, a perfect imperfection. I have a new sense of awareness and different level of acceptance. Now I stare into brown eyes, and declare: Pretty!

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