“You’re not pretty.”

I know.
I’m not.
I never claimed to be.

I cannot change the face or the body I was born with. I cannot change every picture reminding me how completely not photogenic I am. I cannot change my knobby knees or the persistent bags under my eyes or the curve of my body that you might find ‘fat’. I cannot change my scars and marks on my body that have accumulated as I live. I cannot change the way I look when I wake up in the morning, as I leave the safety of my dreams and come back to your world of judgements. I cannot change the fact that there are some clothes I will never look good in. I cannot change the fact that I’m so imperfect, no one is jealous of me.

But.
Don’t you dare think you can tell me I’m not beautiful.

I’m beautiful in every crack and cranny. My marks and scars are beautiful. My slightly chipped nail polish is beautiful. The callouses on my fingers formed over years of playing an instrument are beautiful. My hair on days I don’t get time to wash it is beautiful. Every curve you think is unnecessary is beautiful. My goofy laugh in pictures is beautiful. My awkward body language is beautiful. My smudged make-up at the end of the day is beautiful. My skin, with all the hills and valleys, is beautiful. My ‘candid’ photographs are beautiful. Do you know why? It’s because I can stand up straight, knowing that I’m my own definition of beauty and that I will not bend down to what (or who) you think is beautiful. My mind and soul are more beautiful than any of your pictures.

I’m beautiful because I believe I am.
Trying to make me believe otherwise is a waste of your time.

For Barbs.

Just a little higher, she thinks.
The cleavage is not visible enough.
She wonders how many likes she’ll get,
If she can push them a little more up.

Staring at herself on a screen,
She captures her desperation.
To look like ‘them beauty queens’,
This has become her life’s passion.

Do it for the likes, she berates herself,
And so curls her hair and lips.
She removes her blemishes by editing,
But not the scars from within.

Her wardrobe is filled to the brim,
With miniskirts and make up.
She’s developed an anxiety about
Not looking plastic enough.

But she wasn’t like this before,
A quiet but amiable belle.
Then she discovered Instagram,
And rendered her dignity to sell.

She never had many friends,
But the few liked her for her heart.
Now she gets noticed solely,
Because of the paper stuffed in that part.

Oh barbs, I’m a little worried,
You’re changed so dramatically,
In pictures you smile coy and shy.
In life, I see you cry and weep.

Because that girl got more likes,
Or your 24th boyfriend cheated on you.
I had warned you to know his intentions,
Before you deemed his love as true.

You see, the likes from virtuality,
Aren’t an accurate representation.
Of the trueness of friendship,
It’s merely a well crafted delusion.

Barbs, you’re not happy.
It hurts me so see you so.
But if you choose insta-friends over me,
In an instant, I shall go.