The Atlas of My Beauty

Where should I begin?
No one wants a world tour where you see all the ugly parts,
So this won't be much of a tour.
But let's pretend that in this world -
Me -
There is no ugly.
We will just call it all beauty instead.


So Look.
Look at me.
I am afraid, I will not lie.
I fear being fully seen.
I am constantly reeling
And feeling
And stealing from my wells of confidence
And pouring out the water
Until they are all run dry
And then I wonder why
I cannot look others in the eye
Without thinking "wow I
am so much less than they are."

But this is a lie.

I will not eat the tainted food I give myself
Because I am more
I am more
I am more
Than the roses left on the stage after the show,
And the breath of air before a scream,
And the glass shards from a broken figurine.

So it's time
for me
to begin.


Where shall I start?

I will start with the reflection in the mirror,
With her little nose and soulful eyes,
With her perfect hips and perfect thighs,
And stomach that should not be labelled as fat
Because remember, I'm a woman, and we are made like that.

My hands are made for creating
For elating and relating.
My lips are made for loving
and telling and welling
with words of truth,
And this is why
I will not lie
About me to myself.


My surface has scratches and scars -
the results of a natural disaster.
Every world has those, right?
Those matter but
they are not everything.
Just as clouds are not the sky -
Stars are.

I am painted with stars
And oceans in my veins,
Roots of life grow through my brain.


A wise man once said:
"I don't know who I am but I know who I'm not."
And I'd say I have to agree.
I am not clean-cut perfection
but I know that I am me
And that is a different sort of perfect.
Less clean,
Less clear,
Less cosmetology,
My etymology is derived from
The way the wind feels filling your lungs
And the sound of songbirds
And the breathy hum of a record player
And the woodsmoke smell in hair.
I am all these things.

Constant perfection,
Fear of rejection,
Continuous projection of
Evidence of living and trying and breathing and needing
Because that is what it is to be me.


I am beautiful; this is true.
I look an awful lot like you.

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