Mixed Signals

We should not care so much about appearance.
I read this everyday, and everywhere —
But yet we will; and brook no interference
In judging others. Nor curtail our care

For our own looks; for our own way of seeming.
We seem to want to have this thing both ways —
The moral view, that all are valid, equal;
The underlying view that always stays —

That some are better looking than most others.
We twist and squirm, for this seems wrong; but still –
We strive to be spectacular, and realize
We’ve known it when we’ve seen it, and still will.

  The same society that says to curb it
  Will broadcast who wears what on some red carpet;
  And tell us all are beautiful alike
  Within a sequined dress, behind a mic.


When I was young, I hated physical education,
Because I was not an athlete, and couldn’t be, no matter what I did.

I asked my parents why I should try, when I would never be good at it,
And they said, “Because you need to be the best you can be;
Don’t compare yourself to others.”

But everything feels like a competition, and, of course,
Sports literally is a competition.

I think that’s how we are about looks.

Many of us know what it is to try to get attention in a room
Where the really attractive people are getting all of it.

It feels like losing.
So why even try, when we know that’s not our destiny?

“Because you need to be the best you can be;
Don’t compare yourself to others.”

I also believe in the subjectivity of looks;
Different people have different tastes.

Which works out well for most of us.

There’s more to attraction than looks;
There’s more to a person than their image.

However, looks do matter:
To each of us and for each of us.

It often seems like society sends
Mixed signals –
And it does —

Sometimes laughably,
As in the vanity-based movie business
Lecturing us on how all types of appearances
Are equally valid
When you know they don’t mean it.

But the truth lives
In the in-betweens
As it often does.

It matters, but it’s not everything;
We should do the best we can, even if
We will win no competitions in doing so.

Author: Beleaguered Servant

Owen "Beleaguered" Servant (a/k/a Sibelius Russell) writes poetry mostly, with an occasional pause to have a seizure.

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