How to be beautiful

Step one: wake up

Ignore your brushes and neglect your make up

Breathe slowly and taste the air

Gently run your fingers through your hair

Begin your day and take care

Do not pick up the heavy bags you lay at the foot of your bed

Leave yesterday’s heartache for dead

Clutch today in your calloused fingers

The next 24 hours are yours to mold

Skip freely over the worn out roads

Leisurely without heavy hands to hold

It’s up to you to be faded or to be bold

But remember your weary eyed smile is worth gold

It takes time and passion to finally feel whole

But while you try, you can be partly empty, yet still so beautiful

Rain Drop

I see a cloud hovering above the lake, meandering somberly over the trail. The water longed to fly off like the mallards, rolling like cotton across the water. 

Fog, lucky you. I grow weary too. The heavy mist conceals my vision, but the breeze blows it softly until it disappears.

I want to fall into pieces, light and dewy, and take off with the wind at dusk. And after the sunlight illuminates the droplets with rainbows – so as to make my last appearance beautiful – I want to begin again.

 Up in the sky, in a cloud, a brand new raindrop with no memories of the grimy pond, the darkness or the cold. A rain drop won’t grow old. Neither will it die, but it will collide into the sky and become new, unjaded and unabused.

How I envy you.

Bloom Anyways.

vitamins-supplements-herbs_herbs_dandelion_2560×1920_53930226-1024x768-2.jpg“What on earth are you doing?”

The rose bush beside me scolded. She had dropped her foliage and retreated into the ground at the coming frost. Nestled safely in the earth, she snatched what nutrients she could before the soil became dry and lifeless.

I, on the other hand, was not one for cramped spaces. The cold didn’t stop the sun from shining. I dug my roots in and slowly rose.

“It isn’t spring yet,” she grumbled from down below. “And you don’t have any leaves.”

“I know,” I replied undauntedly, stretching a bit more.

There’s something funny about flowers versus weeds. People give roses as gifts, preen and nurture them. Weeds on the other hand are aggressively removed. But now that it was cold, all the living things retreated to warm and cramped places, to return again when the air was sweet and welcoming.

For the rose bush, that meant she would not be tended to, and without attention and care she could not produce roses. The cold made her retract her red petals with nothing around to pollinate them; now she was just a mass of hideous thorns.

I, on the other hand, could do without the attention. I sprouted up laboriously until I reached my peak, summoning my round golden flower and spreading the petals proudly.

“What are you trying to prove? You’re a weed, a stupid dandelion, and nobody thinks you’re beautiful.”

I didn’t care what she said. It’s stressful to be beautiful, as the constant fear of wilting goes hand in hand with the fear of death. Beyond that vibrant facade there are only thorns being disguised by that bright demeanor. I am what I am, there is no illusion. A dandelion, a little golden flower, modest and robust and not afraid of the cold. I love the sun in all conditions; the wind, rain and frost won’t change that.

And being ugly isn’t terrible. I suppose many prefer not to look at me, but in a wide meadow I can be left to my devices with my other golden friends. They’re somewhere far away, but when I’m ready I’ll throw my seeds into the wind and find them all again.

The concept of beauty is so harsh. There are days I do feel I would rather be a rose, but I won’t miraculously become one so I may as well accept what I am. In the end, I don’t mind, as it means I’ll be strong enough to survive the winter. I’ll get to see beautiful things: falling red and orange autumn leaves. Fine, white powder snow. Young children playing, swaddled in thick knit clothes. Kindling flames from new love that comes from being kept close indoors. Scents seeping from kitchen windows of spices and seasonal treats.

And when it’s warm again, my friend the rose bush will have missed these things. She’s blind to real beauty, I think, as are many of the perennials.

Discouraged as I may become when I peek at my reflection in a frozen puddle, I cannot – I will not change. I am not “beautiful”, but what is beauty but a color? Beauty in my world is life and the longing to live it. The breath from every lung, the pulse of every vein and the blood in every heart. The flickering wings of a dragonfly, the silken web of a spider and the chiming sound of a cricket. The deep pupils of the open eyes that silently oberve the world in different spectrums. The morning sun and the hope of a fresh new day.

And the smile, of course, that you push to the surface when it’s cold, when you’re tired, when the world around is harsh.

We are not all roses, but we can choose to be strong and bloom anyways.

This Hollow Town

This hollow town tried to deceive me, to make me believe that she is beautiful.

But the houses here are all empty, the doors are locked and the curtains are pulled.

The streets were paved of the blackest asphalt, void of any shine or shimmer.

The sky is grey and the clouds are dense; the sun is dull and the stars are dimmer.

I traipse around in search of a sound, like the bark of a dog or a child’s chuckle.

The frost has made a treacherous ground and the ice is biting at my knuckles.

I tell myself winter is a dreadful season – I’ll like this town much more in the summer.

By the time June rolls around my heart’s grown weary and my eyes start to wander.

I’ll pack my bags and run away, I tell myself that I’ll find a safe haven.

The airport isn’t far away, and it’s just a few miles to the train station.

As I gather my things, I hear muffled screams, and a wild wind pushes closed all the shutters.

I hear the door latch from within, then the walls are filled with low-pitched mutters.

One would assume a ghost or ghoul or forsaken spirit was roaming around.

But I was familiar to the cries and the desperate pleading of the lonely town.

The same voice whispers me to sleep at night and burrows in my dreams.

It takes this melancholy, empty world and fills it with warm and tangible things.

She puts a light dusting over my mirror to obscure the ugliness of my face.

And she rattles the vents and the water pipes to kill the awkward silence in this massive space.

This hollow town was meant for me, she’s kindred to myself and my hollow shell.

I guess I’ll stay a little longer, until one of us finds a tenant viscous enough to fill

That black and gaping empty space that swallows anything warm and real.

 

Oasis, Oasis.

Maybe it’s my age, but I’ve always found myself attracted to adrenaline, hooked like a fish on a string. But likewise to the latter, the bait was not as I expected – it was fabricated and fake, and it left me with a bad taste. Still, it may be a strange piece in man that is attracted to danger, the risk even without the reward. It’s the boiling blood, the rapid heart beat and the eager tremor within that makes an unsure thing so enticing.

I was like this in love – or infatuation; they all seem to be the same after awhile. I yearned for the startling eyes that would make my heart skip a beat, or a beauty that would cause my head to spin. What about what was within? That’s debatable, as a fickle woman that requirement will change every minute. But excitement – that was non-negotiable, and like a storm chaser I doggedly pursued the tempest.

But….

Heartbreak gets redundant after awhile. That, I must say, is not an adventure. It’s more of a punishment, a stinging slap on the wrist, and a rude shaking out of a wonderful dream I would have rather continued on with. Again and again, I find myself crying the same exhausted tears, made of lessons I had learned so many times, over and over. I tell myself ‘never again’, and yet my heart skips, my head spins, and in seconds I’m on the same track.

The beauty of a storm that seduces man to chase her is her danger – just as I would chase an aloof man. Thunder and lightening warn of consequences, but all I feel is a soothing rumble, all I see is a fantastic show. As the waves rapidly lap at the sand on the beach, and the sky turns a smokey grey, I feel… excitement. I brace myself. I know the wind will sweep me off my feet.

However….

As time passes, I grow so weary. The tears don’t come any more, my heart doesn’t skip any beats, and I grow distant and disinterested in all of the passing storms. Instead, I feel dried up, as if I have lost all the tears my eyes have to give. I feel empty, a gourd drained in a desert. Romance has left me as reality has held my hand, and I wander around in a drought with my head low and my throat parched.

What will become of such a sad girl? I would hope that being alone would help me to find love in the flowers after the rain, but they only remind me that they need a good shower to flourish, but will be drowned by a storm. The roses, the lilacs and the marigolds remind me that I still have a heart, but when they wither in the stifling sun I remember that it’s not the least bit invulnerable to the heat.

The prints I leave in the sand aren’t witnessed, as the wind soon fills them in with more deep gold dust, and after awhile I forget how I ended up here all alone. A rumble of thunder reminds me that where there is rain, there is water, and I turn my head towards the horizon to witness the grey clouds forming.

I can fall again, and again, and again. It is what my heart begs for. But surely the calloused skin would be rough in the fingers of a lover, and he would be repulsed by the scarred thing I had become. He with his sophisticated tastes prefers silk over frayed wool.

Dejectedly, I turn away, but as I look over to the east I see sparkling palms and blue water. A mirage from the heat, I assume, as nothing so beautiful would make itself known in my presence. The surface of the water has the most soothing of ripples; not a single wave. The green of the palm tree leaves remind me of the buds of flowers before they bloom.

How foolish I would be to fall for this, the mirage of an oasis. Imagine those words, coming from a girl who always chases storms! But the calmness and the quiet are the complete opposite of a hurricane, where instead of a hammering heartbeat I feel a drowsy, sedated calm.

If I do need water, and I have these two options, I suppose it would appear to be a clear choice. Still, let’s not forget that old habits are hard to break, and my heart did jump when I heard the thunder.

But the tiny, feeble spark in my heart that I cradle away from the slightest breeze still speaks to me sometimes. She says there is room for love in this cramped space, but it must be gentle enough to not sink the feeble arc that holds it.

With choices given, I choose the calm, the warm and welcoming and soft. Were it a mirage, I would be disappointed, but I’ve faced so much pain before it would only be a tiny knick in a line of deeper scars.

Yes, I do dream of a kind hand, soft eyes and sweet whispers, words that can be heard even through the smoldering heat waves of a drought. In a fantasy world that I bashfully hide away, I believe that after all of my travels, I’ll find my oasis that is not a mirage.

Painting without a Brush

A picture, contrary to what they say, is not worth one thousand words – it is not even worth one.

It is the result of speechlessness that draws out colors on the canvas, as my mind cannot find words and phrases to match the colors that stain the walls.

At some point in time, I tossed out all the brushes, their boar hairs stained in thick layers of paint that I could not wash out. Instead, I opted for my fingers.

Why?

These fingers have touched more than the brush can imagine; skin, blood, hair, the human pulse beating beneath thin veins. Yes, I’ve felt a lot, but nothing felt better than the cold fluid as I smear it on the canvas.

I touch the threaded cloth and let it speak for me, but it is silent. As I stare on at the full canvas, I wonder why it doesn’t speak to me.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and yet I still have none.

I smear my palms over the surface, etch in lines with my finger nails, rub the colors between my fingers until they all turn to brownish black.

The face I make is the best and my worst; one with no mouth to speak and no eyes to see. No ears to hear and no lies to tell.

I have never much liked silence and never will. Should I set alight this canvas and start anew, a picture of flowers and rolling green fields?

No, I like my demons, the ones that lurk in my mind. My familiar friends deserve to be brought to life, so I can look at their faces when they haunt me at night.

If I don’t use my fingers, I imagine that the paint will not feel the pulse beneath my fingertips, stemming out from my heart that aches for something beautiful.

Yet again, I make something ugly, like the girl who looks back at me.

I’m never alone, not with you, my quiet creations that line the walls.

If I paint with something else, then maybe I can give it eyes and a charming smile….

But I don’t want my works to lie, so I let them be the monsters that they are; self portraits of the face that hides behind my tortured eyes.

Nightly

She’s a bit hard to reach, and when you try to touch her your hand passes right through her skin.

She has eyes like half moons when she smiles, but no light shines from within.

Small whispers on the wind mutter laments into her ears; her face falls as she listens.

On the occasional cold night, the wind shakes her windows and the slightest glimmer sparks in her eye as the lower lid glistens.

Hope was something that her fingers wrapped around, but her grip was so tight it gushed out of her clenched knuckles.

Her mouth utters sharp jokes that make her flinch, and yet she still chuckles.

When the sun dips out of the horizon and she’s accompanied by her many sins she simply lays there, her body ready for the next numb bout of regret to persuade her. To pull her into the familiar grasp – misery of course, she values that.

Why would she not when happiness leaves her distraught and anxious?

Always alone, even in the thickest crowd she cries inside and begs for life to be the tiniest bit more gracious.

Who would want this? she whispers back to the wind, and they steal her words from her lips and cast them over the ocean.

“I can’t swim through that depth,” she says as everything sinks in the endless trench.

Lovers, as some call them, have never been fond of coldness on their skin. They crave warmth in a woman, but in her they find a chill that pesters them.

Why? Is such a sharp question; don’t mention all the scars on her skin.

While naked in the mirror, she touches herself and swears at them.

Cracks and scuffs and shards and shambles… sweep them under the rug or they’ll cut your feet. Traipse around in heavy boots and the soft skin will never have to bleed.

It’s almost time, she barely thinks as the final lights leave the dreary sky.

This is the time every day, every twenty-four hours I die.

I like this part, it makes it go away, all of the things that I don’t like.

And when I dream, I call it fake, and then continue on with my night.

That sleep is not a paradise; it’s a nightmare dressed up in a lucid dream.

“Do you really think you scare me, when you have no eyes with which to avert my gaze? When you hide around every corner, when you hide from the light of day?

“What is it you want? there’s nothing left. I’ve given up my body and my spirit is the frailest of lights. Keep the windows shut or the slightest draft will leave me in a pitch black night.

“I don’t like this world very much. I don’t want to be involved. If I bate my breath I won’t suffer and every problem will be solved.

“But I constantly think to myself; yes, today was not my best. But tomorrow tells me secrets; she says she’ll be better than the rest.

“If she’s lying, fuck her, time still goes on, I haven’t been beaten yet. But if she means it, and I trust her then I’ll have to do my best.

“Here are my last words for tonight, if I don’t cry out in my sleep… Dear life, I’m not afraid of death. I tend to die nightly.”

She crawls into her soft, cool bed and wills herself to sleep. She can’t remember what she dreams of but she’s better off without her dreams. Night passes, dusk then dawn, and somehow the heart still beats. It would be nice if you would love her, but it’s not something she’ll ever need.