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The Image of Beauty

The Image of Beauty
Nur-al-Ayn Nisar


She stares back at me so confidently.
I want to avert my eyes but I can’t.
Her eyes, so similar to mine, hold a challenge.
As if to look away is to fail; to prove I’m just like the rest.
I touch my nose subconsciously as if to make sure it hasn’t been snatched away by another’s
anger-induced violence.
Mine’s still there but hers is a void in the middle of her face.
We’re so alike and I can’t help but place myself in her scene.
What if Fate broke the rules and it was me in the photo and her writing this poem?
Would I shy away from the truth like a mouse retreating to its hole?
Let other people dictate how I feel about myself because I’ve been made into the black
sheep in a field filled with meticulously-sculpted white sheep that follow the shepherd:
Could I stare at millions of young girls to pass on the crucial message that the world is not
the cushy bubble we’ve built around us?
The longer I meet her gaze in this silent conversation,
Filled with so many words,
The more it dawns on me that beauty is something that requires strength.
Some may place her in the past tense: ‘she was beautiful,’ or in the future: ‘she could have
been beautiful,’ but none put her in the present:
‘She is beautiful’.
Maybe not in the generic way we have been brainwashed into thinking,
But in the way that she accepts what has happened to her and she does not hide from the
She has the strength to accept herself.
There are many, who like myself, are as guilty as criminals because we are still not happy
with ourselves.
No matter how beautiful you are, someone will put you down, but it’s the strength to ignore
them that helps us retain our beauty.
Just like she has.
Beauty is not weakness; it’s the image of it that makes us weak.



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