Pass for Beautiful

Some days we women, we wake up and with all the important things to do in the day, we get stuck. With all the things we have to be thankful for, we get stuck. With all the love we have to give to the world, we get stuck when we pass the mirror.

Because even when we know better, many of us wonder if we, in our natural states, are considered beautiful.

I just read a blog post by a fellow poet where she talked about this exact thing-having to remind herself that she’s beautiful with no make-up and with her afro-textured hair. So, I’m sharing this here.  This is a reminder to all of us that we do more than pass for beautiful. As a friend said, we “run straight into gorgeous”.

Pass for Beautiful

If I go outside like this-

hair gathered into fuzzy formations

budding dreadlocs in initial stages,

would you consider me revolutionary?

Would you think me unprofessional?

Would you say that this way of being natural is

self-sabotaging?

If I wore no make-up,

would that make it worse?

Decrease my chances of being crowned queen?

of being seen on silver-screen

even as an extra

or as a director behind the scenes?

Would  you dismiss me as an artist

or would you see through to my inner beauty

as if

physically I had little to offer?

If I went out like this

to a fancy dinner

wearing a sparkling dress, pointy toe pumps

manicured nails and mascara’d lashes,

would you be pleased to walk next to me or

would you wish I had put on a wig- or something.

just for the night- to complete the look.

It’s a formal dinner after all.

If I were to stand in a line up next to Halle B.,  Beyonce K.,

Brandy, Ms. Hill or Goapele

Could I pass for beautiful?

Here, now, just as I am

without Lauryn’s free form funkiness

that hung to her shoulders or

Goapele’s manicured tresses that caressed her back.

Would you laugh?

Wondering how I could even compare my

naps with the likes of these beautiful women?

Is what I present you with enough to hold an admiring gaze?

to be called Miss or Empress,

to be greeted with a grin or kiss on the hand

instead of a frown or furtive glance

or astonishment at how I can walk around like this.

Would you say “come on, now…”

Would you say ” I like locs but only when they’re super neat”

Would you ask if I were trying to be more African?

Would you question my motives and wonder if I were

associated with certain organizations like

the Occupy Movement or the Rastafarians?

Would you blow kisses at me?

Would you do a double take?

Would you consider me a prize to be won

like those with long hair and straight

real or fake.

Would you consider me worth your time?

Would you want to hold my hand in front of your friends

Would you hire me?

Would you signal to your co-workers that

my hair was looking kinda crazy?

Would you consider me graceful, elegant, intelligent?

or could you not help but see me as playful, rebellious, wild,

earthy?

Fuzzy loose hairs sprouting from scalp as life-seekers do

initially defiant of defined parts, coiled tips, wavy roots.

Could this hair mean nothing to you, Your opinions formed only after we speak?

That would be neat.

If I stand here for an hour, would you consider me vain

as I wonder:

if I leave this mirror,

this room,

this house

step onto the street,

into a world of conditional black beauty

head high, teeth blazing wide

in a smile reflecting sun,

Could I pass for beautiful?

© Roots n’Rhythm, AAG, 2011

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