The Answer

by YBJane?

For too long I believed
Beauty was in the eye of the beholder
Measuring my worth through another's opinion
Stayin' in my mother's hair salon for hours on end
Holdin' back tears so that relaxer could stay a bit longer
But my hair could never get soft enough
Or long enough
To draw the affections of my first crush
'Cause if he didn't approve
I couldn't have been as pretty as my friends would say
(Or those poor boys who thought of no one but me)
Still I didn't like how dark I got in the summertime
Or even my complexion in dead of winter
My eyes were too dark
My nose too big
And my lips were such a pain
Appearin' so swollen like that...
And I hid all this well
For so many years
Secretly wanting to escape myself -
Then I met Langston Hughes
He told me to stop all the whining
Take another look in the mirror
But this time with my eyes
Not the eyes behind the latest TV shows
Of questionably Black entertainers
Or even the models on the covers of magazines
I had to use my own
Discover myself
Underneath the years of self-hate
Passed down in the generations
But so far from genetic
I found what was missing
I found rich brown skin
A rare jewel admidst so many lighter shades
To me
I'm more valuable than she
And just because some lack the depth
To acknowledge me as such...
I'm not dismayed
(It's your lost, Loves)
See, I also found these dark eyes
Placed a little Hugh in them
So when I look at you
I really look at you
I see just how beautiful (or ugly) you are
And it has nothing to do with the shade of your eyes
Or tone of your skin
I see and search the beauty within
I found these full lips
Enjoyed decorating them for awhile
Smiling to demand they be gazed upon
Sometimes I laugh at the fake ones on TV and in the movies
She is imitating me
When so long I tried to imitate her -
When I finally found this rounded nose
There was cause for celebration
Despite the ignorant ones braving the cosmetic knife
In an attempt to reduce theirs
Or lookin' for a thin nosed mate
I remembered something important
This nose accents me
What good is my rich brown skin
Dark eyes
And full lips
If I don't have this one perfect match
Signaling my roots run deeper
Than some eyes can fathom
They in turn do not see my beauty
But I do
With every glance in the mirror
Some mornings I linger and smile
Satisfied with discovering me
Loving to love every aspect of me
So when
In this world of the lost
So many clinging to that beholder myth
I meet another
Who dares glance in my mirror
Pleasantly surprised by the image I present
But loving what lies there
I am grateful
I am not alone
I am thought about and cherished
Long after I am gone
You look at me...
Saw innocence where so many painful memories reside
Courageousness at times challenged by fear
Determination while my back hit a wall
And intensity amidst personal failures...
I am gentle because I thirst for softness
Inviting because I'm so often left out
You accept the complicated me
Veiled by social etiquette from most
Ignored by others who earned my trust
And since betrayed it -
But not you
I trust you
To love me unconditionally
Separate from the beholder's eyes
Across the limits of time zones
Past history
And present trials
I need all the love you can muster
For when you saw me
I also saw you...

The Answer by YBJane?

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