Broken Beauty. {poetry}


I’ve never been able to explain my beauty
Mostly because I only hear of it in other people’s mouths
Or see the disgusted look of jealousy in other women’s faces as I strut confidently in my multicolored striped ripped shirt and mini denim skirt with dark blue Sk8-Hi vans
So I often find myself staring at a mirror late at night
Wondering to myself, “Am I beautiful?”

Just like any work of art, how can we judge what it’s worth from outside of the frame?
Because looking at ourselves takes a lot more courage than looking at someone else
We don’t know other people
And our reflections tell us a little bit more than just a misplaced sketch of a freckle on our eye
It’s more than a pimple or herpes on the lips
The flaws are somewhat woven into the soul and I,
As much as any other person can see my regrets, mistakes and insecurities written on my face
In invisible ink only I can decode,
I can see the trauma
That others might see a face as, “Que guapa, just like your mother”
Where I see a face that got raped the night before
And the letters ‘shame’ are engraved onto my forehead
Where I see the face of girl with makeup that always looks like an old watercolor painting
Dripping with clumpy mascara on the edges of my eyes
Eyeliner that’s become eyeshadow
Like a painting
Everything blending together
Giving the illusion of emotional stability and beauty
This is how I express myself
I’m expressing how broken and in shambles my heart’s in
But everyone is blind
When I look at my face
I see all the terrible things I’ve ever done
I look at a flaw and I gnaw at it till it takes up my entire face
Till it’s bleeding and my fingernails are tired from engraving their claws into memories
I wish to never remember
I pick at how my lips aren’t big enough or how my eyes aren’t round enough
Without realizing, is it really my lips that bother me?
Or is it
That they’ve been kissing men I don’t love?
How they remind me they’ve touched people they shouldn’t have
Just so I can escape the fact that you left me for someone else
My lips remind me
That they’ve sucked lives outta people
That they’ve said ugly things
And expressed ugly energy
From pain
My mouth has somehow become what physicists might discover as
A portal to a black hole

There is power in seeing yourself
And not letting yourself drown in your own blood of insecurities
And instead
Letting the thought translate out into the world into something much grander
Something that can raise a revolution
I wear my reflection
As a mirror for everyone to see
“I’ve been through wars you’ve never seen and I’m alive
I’m becoming a masterpiece in the process of acknowledging my flaws
I am both beautiful and powerful
I do not need to apologize for believing
and knowing
this truth”

It is your flaws
And your ability to let them be a part of your sculpture
Your art
That makes you beautiful
Let it
Let life eat you
Let it refine you
But remind yourself
You only have so many years to believe in yourself
Don’t waste that gift

You are special.


Leilani K. Padilla is a photographer, writer, artist, cinematographer, and an emerging scientist who goes by LEIITIS. She is currently on medical leave due to her autoimmune condition from her life as a Microbiology Major at Virginia Tech. LEIITIS is the winner of the 2017 Steger Poetry Contest held by Nikki Giovanni. She’s currently working on her novel “RSVP to My Funeral” as she sits at home reading, writing and creating with her dog Peq as she heals. To check out Leilani’s artwork and poetry, visit her art account.


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