Oh, darling, I see you. I see you radiating like a kaleidoscope of aurora lights during the witch-hour, staring into the mirror for a little bit too long. A little bit too long. You gaze at your curves like they are swirls of sundae gourmet in your isolated hostel that rot during the quarantine.
You scrape your nails tracing the circular loops that veil your hungry bones, scratching the cloak that shields the wormholes of your heart. Oh, that damning breathtaking melanin cloak from the lost vintage cardigan collection. Lost in the castles of stigmas, over steamed in streets, and dry cleaned with turpentine by your own people. They say that the tailors who stitched our skins were singing protest slogans loud like the Hot 100 Billboard Chart. I wonder if its true. I wish it was.
Making ugly and disappointing faces when you look at yourself has become muscle memory, isn’t it? You look, you look. You look at yourself like your body is a crime scene and you plead guilty to exist.
They compartmentalize us into caskets and call it treasure chests, re-branding old “beauty” tags into “elegance” because times are changing you see, women are talking, they have fortunately realized that we have a voice.
But your elegance is not what dietary magazines and HD glow products tell you. Your self-esteem is not defined by them. It is not grace and ‘exquisite’ etiquettes. Too fat. Too skinny. Too tall. Too short. Too dark. Too pale. Too pimply. Boobs. Boobs? You look like a kid. You look like a middle-aged woman. Your dress is too long, No, its too short. Baby, they started critiquing your novel, before you even finished your story. Their marketing strategy is a paradox, as long as you are at home in your skin, you are building a wrong home. So, they show you dreams of 5-star hotels and you check into them every day until you forget how your home smells like. You become homesick for a place that only resides in your repressed memories.
You remind me of a crazy fifteen-year-old who played with kitchen knives in crystal salt bubble baths. Flowing between blood baths of giving up and soap lathers of holding on like a cliffhanger in the last episode of season 1 on Netflix Originals. I wish I could visit her with Doraemon’s time-machine and wrap my arms around her like I am the touch-starved imprisoned sister of Sherlock. Fold her into me like a thousand golden paper planes, stroke the back of her head, and let her cry until her insides are parched and then, kiss her braids that she finds so ugly and tell her that ELEGANCE IS REBELLION.
Rebel, little girl. Rebel like your vocal cords are made for war cries and revolutions that have been gagged with diet pages for too long. Rebel like your eyes is the color of the bird’s before it pounds on its prey, winged or not. Rebel like your skin is made for little heart doodles and ink pen tattoos of your name. Your skin is not a dog-tag of numbers from weight machines and measuring tapes. Rebel when a fucker on the road calls your ass cute and tell him it sits on courtrooms chairs and brings down misogynists and homophobes. Rebel so much that your hands quiver with satisfaction when they let go of the time bomb of beauty standards because your life does not depend on them. Your desires are not their desires. Show them how the hues of your ambitions smolder so brightly that bonfires go rogue and bring jungles down.
You will fall in love with your elegance someday and when you do, throw a house party and call it “Learning to Love” and tell the ghosts which reside in the casket that they are not invited.
Someday, you will learn to forget your muscle memory, trim a pixie cut and color it sea-green. Someday, you will wear your melanin cardigan and caress it as if it were a newborn lamb. Someday, you will throw your two arms around yourself and hug yourself tight. For existing, for being you, for clicking the next episode of season 2. Someday, you will say your name like a prayer and the way you roll your tongue will make Goddesses yearn to name their firstborns after you. Someday, you will realize that you radiate like a kaleidoscope of aurora lights. Until then, be elegant.
Maybe you will realize that there are study partners at your party who desperately wish that the blood in your mouth was theirs, who will call you in such an endearingly silly way that you will finally know that your name feels safe in someone else’s mouth. Yet, keep being elegant, little rebel.
They say when you look at a word for too long, it feels wrong like you have never seen it before, it is called jamais vu.
Task: Explain jamais vu in a sentence.
When girls look at their bodies for too long, jamais vu hits them.
The fifteen-year-old stares at me with aurora lights in her eyes, tear-stricken skin. I whisper in her ear, “Be elegant, little rebel. Be elegant.”
//”Elegance and Jamais Vu”// Enigma
Copyright © 2016-2020 Enigma. All rights reserved.
Picture Credits: Google Images
PS: I remember writing a piece on elegance a few years ago and I was only a baby writer at that time. But the sentiment somehow still remains the same even though now I can say I am a toddler. Here’s the link if you wish to read it: Elegance isn’t Beautiful