basic [a slam poem]







TRANSCRIPT ]

dear girls with blonde hair and fair skin and lines like wings crowning your night sky eyes, 
girls with dark skin and brand name boots and hair in a messy bun,
girls with olivey skin, and skin with pink undertones, and yellow undertones, 
and dear girls with skin that's too scarred for people to notice or care what
color
it
is

dear girls with makeup covering their skin because society has told them that they should be
ashamed
of having acne
like no one else has blemishes 
but them

dear girls who buy coffee, who wear earrings, who use instagram,

dear girls,
with
beautiful, beautiful
skin tones of various
beautiful beautiful
hues

despite what he, they, society or buzzfeed tells you,
there is nothing
'basic'
about you.

dear blonde girl, drinking her coffee, and maybe listening to one direction on her iphone,
i am sorry that they categorized you as basic,
because of what they see
and hear
on the outside,
when all they can perceive is your sweater and ripples of hair and eyeliner
and not the scars underneath the fabric,
the markings that manifest themselves at night when you look in the mirror and hate what you see
because you don't know
how perfect,
how precious,
how unbelievable that five foot two stretch of skin
blood
bone,
ligaments
tendons,
rib-cage
heart beat
is.

you don't know that you are not a 
statistic that will one day be in a 
history book that another fifth grader will dread reading,
you don't know that you are not just a name,
a megan,
a sarah, 
a Yikeria,
you are not just a number in a cooperate marketing strategy,
you are not merely your face,
or your skin,

and you don't know that that fabric,
that music,
that time you spend in a particular coffee shop
does
not
define you

because we tell you that it
does
and we tell you that you are 
basic

PLEASE
don't listen to us,

for we are merely riders of the bow of another type of rms titanic,
and we can only see a glisten atop the waves,
a glimmer
of what might be a tiny ice berg,
we don't see the mountain, underneath,
the warzone,
that will rip you down the middle
and sink you like a stone.

we don't know you

so don't you dare let us reduce you
to a hashtag
on a photo 
on an app 
that will be obsolete in fifteen years,
laughed at
by your grandchildren.

don't let us tell you who you are
because we have

no
idea

dear girl with dark skin, and warm brown eyes and beautiful braids 
who takes selfies and wears her lips bright red or burgundy,
who likes chai tea lattes and long, silky leggings,
i am sorry that we have drawn a scarlet B
on your sacred skin
to let the world know that you are just another puzzle piece 
in a stereotype
that you are but another product from the same machine
that produces "basic" females

who wear the same clothes
and use the same phones,

when we have no idea that underneath the blush and the burgundy and the perfection of your outfit
your stomach is empty
because nourishment no longer fits within the parameters of the 
pressure
you get
from the girls in your class,
your friends who are "skinnier" than you,
the women on the covers of the magazines in the check out lines, 
the "fitspiration" photos you obsess over

I am sorry that we didn't notice
how your jawline is protruding too far through the skin on your cheeks,
I am sorry,
that we didn't notice that you're drinking a diet soda while everyone else is eating lunch,
i'm sorry, 
that we didn't ask you what it was like,
to grow up without dad,
or maybe without a mom,
or maybe without someone sober,
who you can talk to 
about what it feels like
to sob into your pillow at night, and war with the voices inside your head,

we were too busy noticing what brand of shoes you were wearing,
what roast of coffee
you were drinking

i'm sorry that we took out the red pen and wrote
basic
on your face
i am sorry
that we laughed at the things
that might be helping to keep you in one piece right now, when everything else in your life is like a post-iceberg titanic.

dear girl in starbucks on a laptop with gauges and tattoos and headphones,
dear girl who is trying to make her hair look as "good" as "pinterest"
dear girl who calls herself awkward,
clumsy,
klutzy,
lame,
dear, young, emotional one, who feels like she is bursting at the seams and she doesn't even know why,

I am so sorry we thought there was so little to you.
I am so sorry that we dared to categorize you,
like an object,
like a product,
like a satistic,
by what you wear,
by the color of your skin,
by the songs your lips snyc themselves to,
i am sorry we tried to sell you
and market you
and make fun of you.

i am so sorry we wrote you off as a reproduction when you are
an original
masterpiece

when you are
detailed,
messy,
taped-up,
complex,
intricate,
hurting,
healing,
tender,
crying,
screaming,
reaching
warring,

dear warrhead girl,

there is absolutely nothing
that is basic
about you.

can you ever
forgive us?



- k.a.

12 comments:

  1. I have tears in my eyes right now, because this went straight to my heart. Thanks you so, so much for writing this. I've been needing to hear someone say this, and I feel a whole lot less alone now. Thank you.

    Brianna

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  2. These words are so beautiful and powerful and important.

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  3. How can I say how much this meant? I need this, THE WORLD needs this. Thank you thank you thank you! This is so beautiful I don’t even have words.
    Lydia

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  4. This is beautiful. <3<3<3

    I really needed this and it was really sweet because after the video finished, my little sister said, "That was really cool." I guess it affected her too, so thanks K.A. Emmons. ;)

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  5. You and your sister are so so talented. Yes to everything in this.

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  6. WOW. This is so powerful and beautiful. I love the video and the poem and everything about this. <3

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  7. Thank you thank you thank you, I needed this. <3 <3

    ~Skylar Reese

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  8. I'm messy right now. I have tears on my face and my nose is runny. It happens.... That was so intense. I am going to share thing and favorite it and listen to it as a song. CAN YOU PUT THIS ON SPOTIFY? I just wrote about crying and wow. This could not have come at a better time. <3 I love you guys!!

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  9. THIS MIGHT BE THE ACTUAL BEST THING LIKE EVER

    ReplyDelete

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