Wayward

the outsider;
the rogue planet;
the one who stands alone
at the cusp of each spectrum,
fading to black,
there shall it be–
the comfort so many find in the light
that I can’t help but shun my eyes from.
here one day,
gone the next;
gravity spewing you into the corner of an abyss,
a perennial wallflower
giving way to the seasons of their concupiscence
leaving you broken, desolate
as you begin your never ending journey
into the center
where you’ve placed every hope,
every dream;
praying to a god you would die to find
that despite all odds you will make it;
a lonely wayward,
gaze fixed upon the stars,
knowing not which one to follow.

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Cupid’s Other Arrow

Valentine’s Day is such a controversial holiday with lovers pitted against non-lovers; romance vs. bitterness; pairs vs. singles; love/shmuv; heart/fart.  There have been times I’ve boycotted it having found myself leaning toward the right side of these disunions.  However, this Valentine’s Day I can finally say that I have found The One; that is, the one I have waited my whole life for.  At last I have discovered that special person who I will spend the rest of my life completely devoted to, always knowing that I’m right where I belong. This Valentine’s Day I am here to announce that that person… is me. So, Amy Ann, will you be my Valentine?

I promise to take care of you, to be there whenever you need me. I will be true to you and I will never ever leave you, no matter how many times you become too frightened to even look in the mirror. We will forge together in such a way that I will hardly be able to tell where you end and where I begin. We will travel the depths of time and space together. We will go through life’s greatest tragedies.. and experience every single slightest tinge of bliss.. together. You and me. Always. Forever.

Certainly, there are a lot of exceptionally beautiful people out there worthy of all the love in the world. But there is only one me (that I know of). And I’m worthy of love, too. I choose to recognize all of the things that make me uniquely wonderful and uniquely me. I choose to love me despite the things I do which I know are not in my best interest. I choose to love me to make up for all the times I’ve hated myself; all the times I would have paid anybody anything to be any one else other than myself.

…But that’s behind me now.  Because now, I finally know what being in love is supposed to feel like. Being in love elicits a feeling of being completely connected, as though everything in the universe suddenly decided to line itself up for the sake of clarity before getting jumbled up again. For a moment, you can grasp infinity and everything is as it should be. Being in love offers a sense a belonging to a world you never asked to be a part of, but now want never to leave.

And that’s how I know I’m in love …with myself. I’m in love with my every movement; every grimace and grin inspired by all the woes and joys of living. I’m in love with every breath keeping me alive; every word I’ve thought out so carefully so as to be understood and reflected in those words as entirely as possible. I’m in love with the pain I’ve conquered, the insecurities I’ve overcome. I’m in love with me for sticking by me, through it all, the thick and the thin. I’m in love with me for never giving up on me; for believing in a reason to believe in me; for paying my dues knowing whatever the cost, I will always be worth it–every heartache has always been worth it. Because it has helped to shape the person I am.

So this Valentine’s Day, if I ever get a hold of this mysterious Cupid figure, I’m gonna beg him to shoot me in my own ass. It sounds painful, but oh!  What foolish things we do for the sake of love!

Enough

Is beauty something that is perceived only through our sense of vision? How does a collective idea of what makes someone beautiful shape every social construct and social system–everything about us really, including the things we desire, and the way we learn to feel about ourselves and others?

If you’re anything like me, whenever you walk past a magazine rack you can’t help but eye and scrutinize each pretty face and sculpted body.  They’re always tied to headlines like, “Flatter Abs In 10 Minutes!”; “Flawless Skin You’ve Dreamed About”; “Get Him To Notice You”.   I’ll stand there with a feeling of contempt over the absurdity of our culture’s obsession with women’s aesthetics.

And yet, there are times when part of me wonders how my life might be better if I resembled them more in some way, even though I know most women don’t look like the celebrities and models in magazines; even the celebrities and models themselves don’t look like they do in magazines. With enough make-up and air brushing, (not to mention money and silicon), a hair stylist and fashion and lighting expert, we would probably all qualify to make the cover of some insipid magazine.

Nevertheless, I peer into the faces all staring at me, telling me what I should see when I look at me. Then later, standing in front of the mirror, gazing at my own reflection, that’s not what I see.  And what I’m left with is the feeling that I’m not enough.

I glare down at my deflated, once D cup, now B-C cup breasts. I analyze the stretch marks that span the width of my stomach and the skin there that puckers because it’s been stretched by two pregnancies. And in my heart of hearts I like to believe, and I encourage other mothers to believe, that these things make me more beautiful, not less so. Because they symbolize the amazing feat of growing, carrying, delivering, and sustaining the lives of two human beings!!

But unfortunately, this is not how stretch marks, floppy breasts, and flabby skin are perceived by the rest of society. No, instead they’re interpreted as marks of shame; something to be removed, pushed up and covered up, never to see the light of day. You can forget about wearing a bikini again, ladies. Nobody wants to see what you now have to offer after having done the most incredible thing any person can do–bring new life into the world. And how does that world repay us? By telling us we’re no longer sexually desirable; as if the outward appearance of our body alone delimits our sensuality; as if we should be content with the archetype set for us.

Yet that’s exactly what we’ve been brainwashed to believe.  The sexual desire of straight machismo men has been kicked into overdrive as images of sultry sirens continue to show up everywhere in our conscious awareness–surfing the web, listening to Pandora, watching TV, opening the mail, standing in line at the grocery store, walking through the mall–men are constantly taunted with images intended to stir their blood (and empty their wallets).

Knowing that the widely accepted standards of attraction are what entice men, and alluring men is how a woman is told she will gain attention and find love, women go to great measures to gratify the needs of men.  Even ads targeted towards women are usually intended to sell them something that will make them more desirable to their spectators: a new shade of lipstick, a different color for their hair, an age defying face cream, a fantastic way to lose weight… And we buy into it. We buy into it because we fear the threat of rejection if we don’t. Indeed, women have been used as pawns to make men happier and companies richer.

Afterall, left to their own devices, do people really think women would go to such excruciating lengths if superficial beauty wasn’t so highly regarded? Corsets, pantyhose, high heels, girdles… none of these things are comfortable or easy to wear and yet women have convinced themselves that squeezing themselves into these apparatuses make them look and feel sexier.

But you see, as women who buy into what they’re selling, we become a part of the conspiracy against ourselves. While I can intuit that true beauty is something to be revealed from the depths of one’s soul, I also know that it’s the skinny bitches with perfect hair and perfect skin, perky round tits and a “tight bod” that turn heads.  Ashamedly, I feel inferior to them, inadequate, even homely in their irrefutable presence.

Yet at the exact same time I try desperately to resist! Fuck a fashion trend and fuck a beauty myth! We must define beauty on our own terms and expect men to follow suit!  Because beauty, I do contend, is more than what we see with our eyes. We also feel it coursing through our veins, in our heart and in our soul; we perceive it with our mind at each beautiful thing our lover says and does. It’s in their touch, in their voice; we can smell and taste their beauty, that’s how enchanted we become. We come to know real beauty through their love and through our love for them.

But Cosmo doesn’t want you to know that. Because that’s not what sells magazines. Convincing women they’re not enough to attract or satisfy a man… now that’s where the money’s at.  And of those lies, I have had enough.