Geranium leaf earrings, hoops, rose-gold.
Dancing, dangling, sometimes playing
peek-a-boo between strands of hair,
sometimes on full peacock display.
I don’t know this part well – not yet – but
some part of me is pleased with their weight,
with their size, with their molten veins,
how they echo the shape of the
scarlet poppies embroidered on my blouse,
all at once delicate and punchy.
I planned this outfit carefully for the occasion:
An introvert, needing to welcome
fifty-plus people I’ve never met,
my role is to support, to hopefully
leave them feeling
seen and heard and cared for.
Can color extrovert for me?
How do I feel in my red?
How do I feel with a part of myself
that I usually keep private
on visual display?
I feel secure.
Back at home, I am asked:
“Did anyone comment on your outfit?”
We love reasons and in an effort
to support, the conversant offers,
“In that crowd, big hoops like that
might seem ‘white trash.'”
“Maybe,” I say neutrally.
And I feel fine.
There’s nothing to defend.
Truthfully, I felt neither admiration nor derision
from those I welcomed that night,
but it doesn’t really matter;
that isn’t my destination and
that’s not why I did it.
It’s not that praise wouldn’t feel good,
nor that being shamed would necessarily
It’s simply this:
To find that I don’t actually need
anyone else’s validation
to be myself –
to feel strong and content in that knowing –
that is what it feels like not to be hungry.