Thursday, October 28, 2010


Poetry Slam by Katie Makkai

"God forbid you be an ugly girl 
'course too pretty is also your doom,
'cause everyone harbors a secret hatred 
for the prettiest girl in the room. " - Ani DiFranco

If you haven't watched the video clip I started with today, then please do.  It's short, and powerful as a jet engine.

It's one of the pitfalls of having a daughter.  If I'm not careful, what I praise most during our days together are her looks: Is that my pretty girl? What a cute smile! Hey there, pretty girl!  And then sometimes I catch myself, and say: Look how smart you are! Good job figuring it out!  But it's not the first thing that springs to mind.

In some ways, that's okay, because Maeve is beautiful, and I don't mind telling her so.  There's nothing at all wrong with being beautiful. The danger, I think, comes in what importance we attach to appearance.  I mean, if she got the best of both our genes as far as looks go, Maeve will be a real stunner.  But that's not my fondest hope for her.

I want Maeve to know that pretty is really just a drop in the bucket of personality.  That who she is, how she treats others, and her own little well of creativity and spark, these are what come together to make a person into a real gem.  And I'll have to shout it loud to be heard over school and friends and TV, but I can do loud just fine.

What a balancing act it's going to be, raising a daughter! I can't neglect to tell her how beautiful she is, but I can't make it seem like it's all that matters.  And what do I tell her, that people don't care how you look? Of course they do.  That the world is a superficial popularity contest your whole life?  Well, it isn't, not unless you let it be.  High school ends, but for some people the high school mentality never does.  It's not true that your looks matter nothing in life, but it's also not true that you have to be pretty to succeed.

I guess the best I can do is be myself, be feminine and have my own style, but be known for my love of words and learning.  I think, at least I hope, that who I am will speak more loudly to my little girl than anything I can say to her.  She is, of course, the most utterly gorgeous little rosebud I have ever seen, but I know she'll find a way to blossom into something stronger, smarter, and more amazing than any bloom I could imagine.


  1. Wow, that poetry slam clip was amazing. You should post it on your facebook profile, or maybe I will. Have a great day :)

  2. Thanks, M'Lissa, a friend of mine posted it yesterday. That woman totally rocks!

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that being your actions will need to speak louder than you words. If Maeve sees a confident, kind, and loving woman for her mother, she can't help but want to be the same.

    ...or at least that's what I'm finding. It's amazing how much my children's actions and attitudes seem to mirror mine. If the kids are having a particularly grumpy day, it's usually because of my attitude. Grrrrr. :P But on the flip side, i've noticed the kids area almost always very cheerful and loving when I start the day off that way.

  4. This post is beautiful. That's really all I can say--oh, and you're doing a wonderful job. Maeve is really lucky to have you as her momma.

  5. It works, if you are anything to go by. The confident, caring, clever, gorgeous person you are and always have been has always been valued. But more importantly, you know who and what you are and hold that like a lamp to see by and to help others see. Next time you go by a mirror look INTO your eyes, not AT anything. Then share a smile with your biggest fan.