"Reasonable" Standards

A recovery poem by Simran Bansal and Kiran Sampath

Conceal the raw mortal underneath,
What’s significant is visible by the sheath.


Your dainty frame will bring you gold,
So treasure it, maintain it, let it be sold.


Parade your body, let them spectate
For they say beauty is measured by weight.


Your ideals warp, you are always on display,
But do not expose the day by day
Unnatural diet that made you this way.


The ugly say beauty is not only skin deep,
That facial appeal is hollow and cheap,

But how can this be?


When character is outweighed by complexion,
And sincerity by sexuality,


Our perfect society in which ideals oppose


Where the smart girl’s wisdom does little to change humanity,
But celebrities have such influence, consumed by vanity,


Numb to thought, drawn to superficiality,
A communist effort to break individuality,


A prudent world where nothing is given to those we pity,
But life is forsaken for the label of “pretty”…


A model is someone we aspire to be,
Size zero, a number of the most perfect degree,
Toned body, a sight of utmost delicacy,
With slim legs as tall as redwood trees.


These lethal standards are everywhere,
Sharp jawlines, blue eyes, voluptuous hair,
On magazines, social media, and in our nightmares,
Are beautiful faces we deem as natural as air.


It is these standards that lead us to compare,
To pick out flaws that we need to repair,
We become heavily involved in cosmetic affair,
But end up heartbroken and left only with despair.


They tell us that we are beautiful just the way we are,
But then try to sell us blemish to cover up those scars.


If beauty is in fact a quality that is subjective,
Is it mere coincidence that we all have the same objective?
Our identical aspirations part of a large collective
In a society that possesses a broken perspective.


Perfection, the destination of our work and toil
Is a trap that directly leads to internal turmoil.
The light that guides us is the cutting out of oil,
Though flowers can’t grow when rooted in toxic soil.


It is not us that needs mending, but society,
A cooker pressure feeding us with anxiety.


We must look beyond the outside, peer into our soul,
It is then we will learn how to control
The critic ingrained inside of us, that never consoles,
Let go of that negativity to finally feel whole.


The ugly must be smart for beauty is far deeper than the skin,
It’s present in our sympathy and compassion that radiates from within,
With self-acceptance and grit one can always win,
For in the game of Life, truly living always overshadows being thin.


The scale defines us by numbers, gives us a score,
It has dictated our lives, time to walk out the door,
To lift the weight off our shoulders so we can finally soar,
Recovery will bring us happiness once more.

Artwork by Simran Bansal

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