I am not a beautiful woman

I am a difficult woman for many people, maybe especially men, to take.

They don’t know what to make of me, so they attribute fault, rather than engage in self-reflection to determine what makes them find me so intolerable.

It is not the words I speak so much as that I speak them at all that makes me less beautiful.

poet: rupi kaur

I was painfully shy as a child and still told to be quiet whenever I spoke.

As a child, I remember only really speaking up when I had questions or found something really exciting, like the latest book I had my nose in, that I (finally) won a game against my brother, or that my sister and I had come across something interesting with our friends.

“Be quiet.” “Don’t you ever stop talking?”

*shrinks away a little more*

I learned very early that what was expected of me was complicit silence. I learned very early on that what I had to say – no matter the subject – was of no value. I learned very early on that my thoughts, opinions, and especially my feelings did not matter.

However, I was regularly told how pretty I was. “Such a pretty little girl.” “You’re going to be a heartbreaker someday.” “She’s a beautiful girl. What are you going to do when the boys starting knocking?”

My worth was restricted to my appearance and how it pleased others.

*shrinks away a little more*

But, over the years, I have become less pretty, less beautiful, because I have things to say; things that need to be said; things I cannot hold in.

And because I have things to say; because I cannot hold those things in, I am perceived as intimidating, high-strung, angry.

Really what I am is vocal and passionate with a need to stand up against what is unjust.

I have thoughts and feelings and opinions.

And I am not beautiful.

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