I am not the kind of beautiful that stops you in your tracks. My smile doesn’t cement you where you stand, and my the freckles by the corners of my eyes don’t draw your gaze. The first adjective that comes into your mind when you see me, isn’t beautiful. And I don’t want it to be.
I don’t want to be called beautiful before I am called strong, courageous, or alluring.
I don’t want people to look at my almost-bobbed hair and find it charming. I want them to ask why I keep it at that length. I want to sit down with peppermint hot cocoa and tell them how I lost myself when I was twelve. And how I mourned the only way I knew how: by letting go.
I don’t want people do look at my freckles and find them cute. I want them to stare at my cheeks and hold my wrist, where they form constellations. And I want to tell them of the times that my freckles were cut through with black ink because there was a pain inside of me. And I want to tell them of the days in eighth grade where my hand was covered in doodles because I needed color. And I couldn’t look at my freckles and think that they were beautiful. I want them to ask me so I can tell them of how I ran in the sun and played barefoot in the woods. And I want so badly to close my eyes and tell them of the time I remember being happy. Because once upon a time I was happy when I got these freckles.
I don’t want people to think my laugh is wonderful without hearing the story that shaped it. I want them to tilt their heads, and me to hold their gaze. I want to cling to my fuzzy pink blanket that lays at the end of my bed, and I want to tell them how my laugh was made. How for a long time, I didn’t have a laugh. And this new laugh that I have, was sculpted out of pain, sadness, joy, and freedom. And then they will feel better about making me laugh.
I don’t want people to look at my metallic golden sheen on my nails and think that it is sloppy. Or unique. I want them to grasp my hand, and trace the imperfect paint lines. And I want them to ask why gold. And I want to tell them why.
I don’t people to look at my smile and think that it is wonderful. I want them to ask about the tiny crack on my left front tooth. I want to tell them how I got my smile. How I found out how to smile again, after a time that I swore I would never smile again.
I don’t want to be called beautiful. I want to be called art.