Don’t Call Me Beautiful

Poem inspired by a Tumblr photo I can’t seem to find again of another poem (I believe?… I can’t remember, it’s been far too long since I’ve seen it and I wish I could find it to give credit but oh well).

Don’t call me beautiful.
Don’t say it casually,
a passing remark
that reminds me of fashion trends
and phases of the moon:
quick to change
and easy to ignore.

Don’t say it when I’m angry
for it will not calm me down,
but rather infuriate me tenfold.
Don’t say it unexpectedly
(or expectedly)
in moments where it seems to fit
seamlessly into conversations
and long walks
and awkward silences.

I’ve been called beautiful before;
I’ve discovered it’s a placeholder
for more eloquent adjectives
that you refuse to waste on me.

Don’t call me beautiful
because I can be so much more,
and if you really thought me beautiful
you would hold your tongue,
pause,
and call me:
breathtaking, astonishing, alluring,
haunting, ravishing, exquisit.

Don’t call me beautiful
because it will remind me
of all the times I felt ugly,
wrapped in the obsession of a man’s idea
of what beauty should or should not be,
and of all the times
I cut away pieces of myself to fit
into the mould of a beautiful girl.

Don’t call me beautiful
because I will hate myself
for being lesser than perfect
and anything but flawless,
and I will hate the way I brought
easy words and simple phrases
to your mind.

Don’t call me beautiful
because I know I can be better
than an over-used word
printed in recycled love poems
and ancient songs.
I can be better
than being known for a trait
I had no say in developing.
I can be better than
just another pretty face.

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