issue 4

october 2016

issue 4 - october 2016

Not Pretty Enough - Mel Martin

Today, I watched the video on YouTube of a woman justifying her right by birth to feel beautiful.

She spoke phrases like “even though”, “in spite of”, and “despite everything” which brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to wrap my arms around her size and tell her that she is more than the lack of a gap between her thighs.

What I really wanted to know about her wasn’t the number on the tag of her dress, but how she deals with stress. What it is that she thinks she gives to the universe, and how if she weren’t on this planet, life for someone would be just a little bit worse.

I wanted to bathe in her charisma.

I wanted to pretentiously click my fingers in the front row to let her know that the poetry she’s slamming is changing me… In a way that I will never be able to properly thank her for, her poetry was an attempt at saving me… I was inspired by that big beautiful woman to start writing a new poem of my own called ‘People Who Love Me’ and to finish it by crossing off the name of anyone who has ever made me feel ugly.

For a long time I loved a boy who couldn’t tell me I was appealing, “even though” it was invariably him that instigated being with me sexually. I treasured him “in spite of” beautiful girl after beautiful girl he would love that wasn’t me. And I loved him despite the words he spoke casually.

Like ordering from a drive through…

“I don’t want to be with you.”

And then when I asked him to let me go, he said no.

Today I watched a woman speak about being adored in a way I’ve really only ever dreamed of. She smiled about being left behind as if it were a favourite past time; she wrapped her heart around insecurity as something that needs a hug, and anxiety as if it were something to be loved.

I was caught off guard by that.

Because I also live within a social order that lets a scale dictate the way it is okay for me to look. I live in a world that will not consider my experience or qualifications because I use crutches to walk. I’ve never been in love which I suspect is because my world has spent this life insisting that I’m not pretty enough.

I am struggle, and strength. I am experience. If nothing else, objectify me for my tolerance, and my spirit; or the home-job tattoo on my paralysed leg that says “LOVER”.

Contributor's Note

Mel Martin is a Waikato-born and bred playwright, poet, stage manager, and director, with qualifications in journalism and communications. She is also a co-founder of Hamilton theatre collective BlackBox Creative; recent directorial credits include Punk Rock by Simon Stephens, and most recently the musical Spring Awakening staged at The Meteor.


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