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the very first word i ever spoke was pretty it’s true, just ask my mommy. pretty has not been a kind word for me. i have used this word to mean something about my value in this world… | Secret Keepers by Emily Joy Rosen

the very first word
i ever spoke was
pretty
it’s true,
just ask my mommy

pretty has not been a kind word
for me
i have used this word
to mean something
about my value in this world

many a time i have let the fear
of not looking pretty
keep me from being seen
or keep me compulsively
stripping myself
of any last ounce of dignity

i have kept myself awake
in the beds of new men
just so i could apply makeup
in the middle of the night
so they didn’t have to wake
to see what i felt was my ugly

i have starved myself
so my stomach would feel
smooth and concave
as he brushed his hands over me
sucking in while being intimate
which makes feeling pleasure
impossible
and connection irrelevant

i have canceled so so many plans
because of how uncomfortable i felt
in my ever changing body
and how unpretty
i believed my
curves, lumps, and wrinkles to be

i have used the word pretty
to literally torture me
as i cried over magazines
couldn’t face my reflection in the mirror
and let myself be cut open
and prodded with all sorts
of pretty making devices
just so i could face the world

and while i am all for
celebrating beauty
and have written many posts
about how strongly i feel
about a woman’s right
to express herself
and move through the world
however she chooses
i do want to suggest
that you don’t ever let
“pretty”
or “not pretty”
or any variation of this
define you

i can assure you it’s a painful road

yes, take pride
in what you look like
if you want to,
but don’t fall into the trap
of exchanging your pretty for anything
or overcompensating
for what you believe
is your lack of pretty

your pretty is not your value
it is not currency

your beauty isn’t something you owe
anyone for taking up space
in this world

so, paint your face if you want to
shape your body if you desire to
enjoy your pretty
or don’t give a eff about it

i just want to remind you
of something i forgot

it is up to you
your body
your face
your pretty
you

and you really get to define it
as you choose

i choose to wear make-up
i choose to get my hair done
i choose pictures
where i feel i look good
and yes, i do care about what i look like

but here is what has shifted for me
in this last year
i have let go of it meaning
anything about my value
in this world

in large part because of what i have seen
in the body positive community
women of all shapes, colors and sizes
owning their pretty
owning their beauty
unapologetically

it has touched me deeply
to see women who are
stepping out
and saying
no more
no way
will you tell me
if i am pretty or not
no more will you tell me
i have to change
what i look like
to get love

no more will i be manipulated
into thinking
i am anything less than
anyone else

no longer will you tell me
i am not enough

it has helped me
just own
that this is me

and that i get to decide
what is pretty
and not
and i get to decide
if it means anything
or not

and for someone
who has been crippled
by striving
relentlessly
for perfection

this is progress my friends
this is massive progress for me

pretty damn cool
if i say so myself

may you too
own you
all of you

❤️emily joy rosen

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