I’ve had the same mentor for almost 12 years. She wrote me the other day, stating “you a city of a woman.” Thankfully she wasn’t referring to my size, but to Lucille Clifton’s poem, “What the Mirror Said.”
What the Mirror Said
you a wonder.
you a city
of a woman.
you got a geography
of your own.
somebody need a map
to understand you.
somebody need directions
to move around you.
you not a noplace
mister with his hands on you
he got his hands on
The speaker in this poem is talking to herself in the mirror, reassuring herself of her own beauty and importance. I’d like to imagine she’s gearing herself up for a date.
yes, this is a man. men need to feel beautiful too.
In this world, which has so many beautiful people, it can be hard to realize that you are also beautiful. Your wit, intelligence, physical beauty can all be set aside when someone you think is prettier or smarter than you walks in the room. I know it. I’ve lived it.
I know this: I will not get any prettier by hating on somebody else or what they have. Love will not come my way simply because a man thinks I’m technically more attractive than someone else. I need to love myself as I am. Wrap myself in acceptance. Move forward–not measuring my beauty against the beauty of others. I need to just be.
Clifton’s poem is important because it forces the speaker to realize or reckon with her own importance in a world full of beauties. I and you are some body, with a geography all our own. We’re beautiful enough and important enough. We are all worth getting to know.
Maybe if I and you and everyone else realize that, we’ll reach for the best, instead of just “making it work” in a sad sort of relationship version of musical chairs. Imagine how our interactions might shift or change if we looked in the mirror each day and said, “listen, you a wonder.”
be wonderful, always,