I was sitting in organic chemistry class when my mind wandered and I started thinking about how, even in the rudimentary art of organic chemistry, many rules still have exceptions. I thought of how contradictory it all was: always “this,” except for “that.” It got me thinking about how the same rules apply to life in that there really are no rules at all. Just guidelines with a smattering of “if’s.” And, despite all of the ifs and exceptions, everyone is always saying that you need to be more, when really what you already are is more than enough. What you need is someone to remind you of that, sometimes. This is what that feels like.
Tell her she’s pretty.
Tell her often, tell her always.
Shout it to the mountains and whisper it in her ear when
You exchange your goodnights.
The world is always telling her that she needs to
Be skinnier and thicker in all the right places, and only the right places.
The magazines tell her that her hair should be glossier, and
The commercials shout that her face should be clearer, and
The bus ads tell her that her smile ought to be whiter.
So tell her, too, that her soul is not pretty.
It is beautiful because pretty is only
Skin deep and ends when you hit the bone.
And when you hit the bone, this is the point where
They say we’re all the same.
But please, tell her that her soul is different,
Because it is.
Tell her that you know it’s lighter and
At the same time, and that you know it takes joy in the little things but dwells on the bad.
Tell her that you feel it too, feel the pain each day that you get it
And the happiness that comes when you get it right.
And tell her that when you say “it,”
You really mean “everything.”
Tell her that you’ve been strung along in the past, too,
And that you wouldn’t dream of doing the same to her.
And tell her she’s pretty.