I Don’t Want This Beauty Anymore

I come from a long line of beautiful women
And not just your average beauty
Not your “every woman is beautiful” thing, which they are, I get it …
But I mean purely, physically, Americanized standard level of beauty
The kind that gets you stopped on the street for your phone number
The kind that gets you into fancy bars and swanky clubs, underage, no less
Concerts and private events, private parties with celebrities, models, bottles
Invitations to the best restaurants, job offers, hoots and hollers
All for free, with only my beauty as currency

Beauty so great, that my grandfather told me my great-great grandmother, born in Ponce, Puerto Rico had two men fight to the death for her love
She was a teenager
The men in their twenties
Yet still, death was better than the loss of possession of a young girl so beautiful
Yes, I came from a line of women whose beauty was one men wanted to own, control, yield
Really, a man died, and she married the victor

I come from a line of women who suffered physical abuse
From their fathers, their boyfriends, partners, husbands, sons
Who wanted them to take their beauty and got angry when they simply could not

I come from a line of women who were sexually assaulted, several before the age of eight
By neighbors, brothers, boyfriends, husbands, men they loved, and men they only met once

Women who were sexualized from a young age, myself only five
Who’s breasts and butts blossomed early, attracting attention from boys and men
And whispers from other girls (wondering why theirs hadn’t grown too) and women (assuming one day we’d grow up to be whores)
The mixed messages from being desired yet shamed at the same time
By those who were supposed to support us in sisterhood, no less

It’s funny where the privilege of beauty takes you when you’re young
Before you open your eyes to the trauma of your history
You’re wrapped it in its softness and it blinds you
It seems to be a shield of protection until someone takes it
Uses the beauty against you as a weapon
It stops being yours and starts being theirs
So much that you don’t want it anymore
I don’t want it anymore.