A Young Girl’s Conversation With Her Mirror: On Learning To Not Be Beautiful

Photography by Riccardo Lancia

Photography by Riccardo Lancia

As a little girl, they always told me I had to be beautiful for my desires, thoughts and actions, to add significant value to the world. I always strived, consciously and unconsciously, to break out of this cage of conditions, all of us are so habituated to, and find my world of love and wonder. As a young girl of 14 years, tired of constant bullying, name-calling and shaming, I wrote this to myself to reclaim my power. I was no longer comforted by, “You’re beautiful the way you are” because I realised that I don’t need to be beautiful.
On Learning To Not Be Beautiful 
I stood in front of the looking glass.
I looked at it – how shimmering and shinning it was.
I was wearing a classical drape as I looked pityingly at myself in it’s frame.
Withholding me inside itself , it felt incredible dishonour and soaring shame.And then a peaceful pallor spread on it’s face as it silently seemed to say ,
Look here! Right here!
You need to be beautiful to see beauty.
You need to be lovely to get love.
They like girls – all slim and skinny,
long lustrous hair in wavy wads ,
tiny waists adorned in flowy fads ,

sky-high heels on pedicured feet ;
mesmerizing mermaids – Oh! so lovely to meet.
Wide eyes to at once catch a glimpse of the entire world.
Pursed lips to cautiously pour out words.
White like Snow-white with a hint of pink –
a site that makes all men wink. “ 

In despair, I spread out my sorrows on my chair.
To say back a word, I couldn’t dare.
Who made me look like this after all?
Why am I here like this and what for?

My hair rises out of my head
like frustrated fungi growing on a piece of bread.
My nasty nose covers most of my face
and my flat feet stifle my aspirations to keep pace. 

As I sat wonderingly seeking answers to all the whats and ifs ,
looking in despair at the not-so-empathetic cliff ;
a blissful light began to emerge in my dark room.
It soothed me and calmed me on the inside ,
mending the holes in my soul from the noises outside. 

I felt God –
sitting right next to me ,
caressing my hair and coaxing my lap.
His four-cornered eyes looking into mine,

his all-giving hands holding those of mine,
his voice piercing right from my ears through the window of my body to my soul.
He reassuringly said ,
“Love is the most strange of all.
It never has and never will follow the norm.
I love you and so I’ve blessed you with your beautiful form.”

Suddenly, the black clouds of despair faded away.
I rose up from my chair
lifting my drape,
fingers running down my hair.
The bright light was now fading away into the face of infinity ,
spreading a peaceful pervasive silence ,

draining out the pain from my core.
I knew it was God’s way of telling me that he rested in the nest of my soul.Now, I got the answers to all the whats and ifs.
I turned back to the mirror, and hesitantly yet confidently, began to say ,
Look here! Right here!
My hair’s wavy to remind me life won’t always go straight

and it’s the extra pinch of happiness which makes up for my weight.
My eyes have narrowed down from the glowing glimpses of God.
My skin’s not-all-fair to show that there’s a heap of darkness in my soul.
My feet are flawed because I’ve been on distant roads.
Life has made me a gypsy – the one in anecdotes.
Look here! I am beautiful! Oh yeah! I am beautiful!”

The mirror now stared me right in the eye with awe and wonder.
As it was all ears ,
it seemed to ask if I was the very girl who it had seen all through the years.
And then a peaceful pallor spread on it’s face and it silently seemed to say ,
“Yes! You have always been beautiful!
You have always been beautiful!”

Avnika Gupta is a 19 year old female writer based in New Delhi, studying Sociology and Psychology at Lady Shri Ram College For Women. She believes in unleashing our hidden human potential by connecting to our raw nature through art and promotes using theatre, poetry and dance to heal the world, as these are those fireworks that fill our damp eyes with the reassurance of shared existence, which break our romanticized idea of wandering as solitary beings.