What Does It Mean to be Beautiful?

This is a poem I wrote inspired by the amazing slam poem “Pretty” by Katie Makkai. Click the black text to be taken to a video where you can hear me read it: “What does it mean to be beautiful?”

what does it mean to be beautiful?

beauty is a social construct composed of words stacked upon each other in a teetering tower on the precipice of falling

beauty is full of manipulated images and augmented features and distortions of reality that warp our minds and shape our thoughts

beauty is something different to everyone; an unattainable ideal; the intangible perfection

beauty is ostensibly real, but in reality is nothing more than smoke and mirrors

it is an illusion, a facade behind which depression and sadness lurk in dark corners waiting to lash out and attack anyone who wanders by

it is striving to meet an ideal that can never be achieved, full of insults and hateful shouts and catcalls and cruel remarks that rain down like a torrential downpour in a storm that never ends

what does it mean to be beautiful?

the word itself carries a certain connotation and power; a mystique, a fantastical tinge

beauty is caking your face in products to change your appearance, hiding behind the camera instead of proudly posing in front of it, and desperately wishing for features that the media has taught you are desirable

but this is not what it means to be beautiful

beauty is a distortion upon which society has built its empire that works to belittle humans until they are reduced to sobbing messes, desperately wishing that they could only just change the way they looked to fit some nonexistent ideal

beauty is fake.

but to be beautiful one must be kind, caring, honest, open, silly, crazy, happy, sad, angry, depressed, selfish, proud, broken, strong, courageous, terrified, humble, calm, and so many other things that are all oxymoronic

yet somehow they all ring true in the people who truly are beautiful

who transcend the definition of the word and take it out of the air where it hangs suspended and carry it to your heart where it rests and repeats itself with every beat

i am beautiful. i am beautiful, i am beautiful. “



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