To The Pretty People Who Laugh
Artwork by Neo Bryce Largo
How does it feel? Do you feel prettier than you were before you laughed at my expense? Does your six-pack feel tighter after a few minutes of LOLs? Are you placed a bit higher in the unspoken pageant of this society? Are you winning in life? Do you need more cackles? Does it feel right?
To me, it doesn’t — and it will never feel right.
I am sorry if I don’t fit in your standards. I am sorry if I can’t be categorized as one with a “pleasing personality.” I am sorry if my body seems too round or too thin for your liking. I am sorry if I cannot reach high even when I am on my tippy toes. I am sorry if I’m too odd to be treated like a person. I am sorry if I wasn't created in the same mold that you were.
But what if I never wanted to be in that same mold after all? What if I didn’t want to be categorized as anything? What if you stopped laughing and started looking, seeing — deeper than the superficial things you see with your eyes?
Everyday of my life, I face criticisms from every angle. It’s as if I’m pinned on a wheel and a knife thrower incessantly shoots knives. The difference is that you are the knife thrower, and instead of aiming to miss, you aim to hit. And you do. Every single time. And it hurts. It sucks.
Still, I choose to smile, and sadly laugh at my own fortune. And as you, the knife thrower, hit your target, the crowd of pretty people cheers on. Laughing at the sight of blood. Smothering the wound with the salt of their nasty comments. Feeding on it. Drinking from it. Their personal fountain of youth.
My confidence is constantly shattered. And like the rest of us who live the same life you do, I always pick up the pieces. I put on a brave face. I try my best to correct the dents on my armor. I live. But in your sparkling, beautiful eyes, I only live to be broken.
I never complain because I was trained by society to not complain. Never. I have always submitted to your beauty. I have always shown respect to your “pleasing personality.” I have always admired your “perfection.” I have always allowed you to break me. But this is me stopping you. This is me standing up against every knife thrower in my life.
Stop. Whoever you are to me — a friend, a family member, a loved one, an acquaintance, or just an onlooker — STOP. You will not break me anymore. You will not dent my armor anymore. Because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and that is enough. I am enough. The moment you mock me is the moment you mock the One who made me.
But allow me first to start the change with myself. I am sorry. I am sorry for the times I have shamed you. I am sorry for doing the one thing I now cry foul about: throw daggers. I am sorry if I, too, have killed your confidence. I am sorry.
I am not asking you to beg for forgiveness because I have already forgiven you. Instead, prove your sincerity with actions. Don’t throw knives at anyone because these knives can kill, literally and figuratively. That one little comment, that little knife, might draw my last breath. Help me gather the pieces. Help me regain my confidence. Release words that build up. Release life. Release love.
Now, I am challenging you to stop looking at what is obvious. I am challenging you to be deeper than what society labels you to be. Let us both break the divide that the world has placed between us. Let us not mock each other. Let us not shame each other. Let our words be prudent. Let us crossover. Let us be better. Let us be people.
The Peculiar People who Endure
Artwork by Neo Bryce Largo