Don’t tell her she’s pretty when you don’t even know any of the hardships she’s been through just to be called anything but that.
Don’t tell her she’s pretty when you don’t know how many roads she avoid crossing, how many times she changed her route just to avoid the snickers and grunts of men who, in some twisted way, thought catcalling someone is alright.
Don’t tell her she’s pretty when she can’t even wear the clothes she likes to put on because apparently the people around her would think that she’s asking for it.
Don’t tell her she’s pretty when you don’t know what she sees every time she looks at herself in the mirror. You don’t see every flaw, every scar, every mark she heedfully hides from everyone.
Don’t tell her she’s pretty when every night she drowns in the voices telling her that she’s just that. When every morning she wakes up, she has to convince herself that she could always be more. That she has her own talents and abilities and that she can follow her dreams and become the very person she aspires to be.
Don’t tell her she’s pretty when she constantly have to remind herself that being just pretty doesn’t define her.
Don’t tell her she’s pretty when she poured herself into so many things, worked hard day and night just so that she could have achievements of her own. You can’t tell her she’s pretty when she strives to light up the lives of the people she meets, when she loses herself just so that other people could find theirs. When she has sacrificed so much, you can’t tell her she’s just pretty.
Don’t tell her she’s pretty when her problems are ridiculed and thought of as silly just because. ‘At least you’re still pretty’, ‘You won’t need that, you have your looks’, ‘You can get away with that, just use your face’, ‘Being pretty must have saved you from a lot of trouble, huh?’ How could they tell that to her when she’s asking for just some comfort, some help. What does her face have anything to do with what she’s going through?
A woman’s self worth goes far beyond winning the genetic lottery. Compliments were not meant to be burdens, she knows. But at the very moment she’s called pretty, an anxiety rises up, somehow everything that she has worked hard for, somehow all her qualities and everything that is radiating from her – all turns into ‘pretty’. Just pretty.
And that is why you don’t tell her she’s pretty.
You can’t. You just can’t.
She cannot be just pretty.