“You would be so pretty if you just…”

Growing up my mother never told me that I was pretty. I don’t say that to mean that she referred to me as beautiful or lovely, even, but that she rarely referred to my looks except to offer some casual criticism.

This suited me, as I was, and am not, pretty. I have searched the definitions of “pretty” and found entries referring to people and items of an appealing, delicate and simple nature.

I have never been appealing, or delicate, and I am certainly not simple. My harsh edges have carved up the hands of others who have attempted to scale the barbed wire fences of sarcasm and scorn guarding a treasure trove of toxic-waste emotions. I suppose I might appeal to the kind of man who might seek out punishment or a mother-like figure on whom he could project his desire to be loved. But to such a man I could not promise any affection that would not come with strings that would wrap themselves around his neck until he could no longer breathe without my permission. Perhaps, this too could be considered an aspiration to be loved, or at very least, desired.

And simple, are people ever really simple, or is it just that we are too accepting of the faces they present to us? And if so, have I—in my desire to be wanted and reluctance to be looked upon—have I merely chosen a mask that I am no longer able to remove?

No.

I believe that I am scarred by a twisted nature that lies far deeper than any man could hope to reach with a gentle word or caring look. A particular blackness of the spirit, carefully nurtured and refined to smart the hand that would try and smother it. Alas, this kind of sickness was made to break anything weaker than a heart of steel and a tongue of fire, I fear it would crush your person, accustomed as you are to people and items of an appealing, delicate and simple nature.

Dear sir, I have never once desired to be pretty.

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