They are leaning out for love and they wil lean that way forever.

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Message from Writer


A thank you letter to my mother's hairdresser.

July 20, 2020

To Rocío, I really hope that's how you write your name, 

How's the salon holding up? Well, I say salon and mean the little room at the side of your parent's house. I ask how's it holding up and mean that I pray every night you're not one of the small names who will be erased after all of this is over. And I write you this letter and I mean thank you. But you already know that. 

You already know that because you already know my mother. Sometimes I wonder if you know her better than I do, but I quickly convince myself that we're all just unraveling her different faces. She stays elusive, despite being seen. She stays hidden because she is found. She knows her own details so well, she forgets to look at the bigger picture sometimes. What do you see in her, when curling her hair? When crafting intricate masks for her to wear? I think I caught a glimpse of it the other day. 

The loneliness and quiet of a world inside four walls have made us find each other inside the corners. It is sometimes jarring, I'll admit, but we've found a way to dance around one another. So as a sign of truce, mom asked me to dye her hair. It was a deep plum color. We didn't have the right tools or the right hands, but she was patient. I parted the hair into four sections. She asked me to make sure her grey hairs didn't show. I told her she was beautiful, and she made a face at me through the mirror. So I laughed at the border of tears. 

I know my words fell on deaf ears, that she was made to believe at a much younger age that she had to choose between being strong or beautiful. That she was made to believe she could only be beautiful at a much younger age. That her beauty was made to please, to wear as a mask. Traded, shown, performed, never owned. And despite this, her smile was wide with truth when I was finished. It was the same smile she wears every time she comes back with glitter on her nails or golden on her eyelids. A smile that lets you know that deep down she doesn't only believe it but knows she's beautiful, even though she'll never dare to say it out loud. 

So I thank you, for painting her nails a different color every time. She'll spend the whole month stealing glimpses at her calloused, rough, painfully wonderful hands. I thank you for never trying to cover her up, for making sure to picture her in outlandish jewel tones, in orchid and teal. She'll complain about the fake eyelashes but dance the whole night. I thank you for knowing that you can't convince her with words, that she will only listen to the silence after you sculpt her before a mirror. That her beauty is malleable, elusive, delicate, and free. 

I thank you, spinner, who pulls the silk of women's beauty out of their pain. I thank you, confessional, that swallows their muffled screams, their whispered secrets. I thank you, hairdresser Rocío, that makes my mother see herself as beautiful, even when she's not allowed to. 

Yours never and forever, 
someone whose name you're not sure how to spell.


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  • Wicked!

    This is so, so beautiful. I honestly don't know what else to say, but I adore this piece. I really hope that you get placed in the competition.

    about 1 year ago
  • rainandsonder

    i second everything outoftheblue said, i don't even know how to comment, but this is just really strong and really powerful writing and i love how you've captured a snippet of your world in this letter. best of luck in the contest!

    about 1 year ago
  • outoftheblue

    i usually feel very unqualified to comment on any of your pieces, but -

    "I thank you for knowing that you can't convince her with words, that she will only listen to the silence after you sculpt her before a mirror. That her beauty is malleable, elusive, delicate, and free." the metaphors that you have woven into this absolutely beautiful and heartfelt letter are just so effortless. i especially love how you explore how your mother had to make a choice between being strong and beautiful.
    good luck!

    about 1 year ago