NOTE TO READERS: I’ve scouted about for an hour or so now trying to find information about the woman whose poem I have embedded below. Unfortunately I can’t find *anything* about her … searches merely pull up page … after page … after page … of this video. So if you’re reading this and you have any idea where to find more information on Katie Makkai, please share that in the comments …
Katie Makkai. I know nothing about her save for the powerful words and strident delivery of her poetry slam performance that has whipped its way around the Internet. Her words strike at the core of a sadly all-too-familiar theme of how society pushes, prods and otherwise pokes at young women … teaching us all from a very young age that beauty isn’t just skin deep. Beauty is everything.
In 4th grade one of my classmates and I were playing with some other kids. Before she skipped out the door and back down the street to her house for dinner, she looked me in the eye and said, “Cathy, you shouldn’t use such big words. Boys don’t like smart girls.”
My mother heard this exchange and after my friend had left, she took me into the kitchen and sat me down. I remember the moment with such clarity – the smell of dinner in the oven, the feel of the seat cushion underneath me. Sitting down across from me and looking me dead in the eye my mother said, “Cathy, I heard what
I’ll always be grateful to her for that, but at the same time I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that throughout my life it was always so painful that my sister was the pretty one, my brother the athletic one and Cathy … well … she was very funny and boy was she smart.
We all know what they say about people “with good personalities.”
As I’ve grown older, of course, I have come to appreciate the person who I have become … knowing that while I may not be the most beautiful woman in the room I have turned a head or two in my time … but every now and then that little girl, insecure and worried that she’ll never “grow into” her looks, raises her hand in the back of my mind’s classroom and asks … will I be pretty one day?”
When I first saw this video that little girl version of me began to cry and they were tears of joy … because she’s not alone