Watching them from the sidelines with envious eyes,
My clothes second hand, my grace third rate.
I so wanted to be one of the pretty girls,
The girls who opened doors of all kinds with a smile or a toss of silky hair and a flash of manicured nails,
The girls who walked hand in hand with handsome boys through halls filled with adulation.
Everything was always perfect for them, or so said my naivety.
How I long to talk to my younger self from the vantage of decades.
To tell her that even the pretty girls hurt,
Even they know heartbreak,
Their bright plumage fading into the lovely patina of age.
I finally see that we women are all pretty girls-
We always have been,
Always will be.
We need only to unleash the innate spark of beauty that resides in each of us,
Celebrate the innocence that comes with the blush of youth as well as the glorious wisdom accompanied by wrinkles and gray,
The resilience born of hearts broken and mended, time and time again,
Of tears shed in sorrow and in joy.
Of strength found where none existed before.
True beauty emanates from within,
Once released, its light can never be diminished,
But only grows brighter,
Through time and space,
Each candle lighting the next,
(My mother told me that she always thought she was ugly growing up, not realizing until her nineties just how beautiful she was. I hope to not make the same mistake…and, by the way, it has nothing to do with looks.)