It was a real treat to write and present this poem at the second Lift Up Lunch.  A chance to put the "why" behind the event into words that so many of us feel.  This poem is about no-one in particular, but it is about everyone. We hope it resonates with you, like it did with the guests at the lunch.

About No-One, About Every One
By Emily Hargrove

Look to my left, look to my right, and what do I see?
Of course, I see a person more beautiful than me.
Her hair is curled with a soft bouncing wave
I look at her legs – a brand new shave!
How does she do her make-up like that?
And how does she have time for no body fat?
Her teeth are bright, her laugh is sweet,
How does she manage to look so neat?
This is all I can muster at six o clock
Morning exercise is always a shock.
I don’t use a lip liner or a curling tong,
And I smell of dogs, which is oh so wrong.
I am done, dusted, I can’t compete,
Keeping up with perfection has me beat.

I am about to turn and slink away,
Feeling terrible with nothing to say.
But then I stop and take a long, deep look,
And I have an urge to open her book.
So I ask a question to flip the cover,
What lies beneath is more to discover.
She speaks of her kids and the life she leads,
Of her ex husband and the job she needs.
She works day and night to pay for their school,
Working a job where her colleagues are cruel.
The last few years her life became sadder,
Tirelessly climbing the corporate ladder.
She dreams of a cottage and a burning fire,
But her husband’s affair threw that in the mire.

My ears listen, my heart hears, I really see
The truth that is standing in front of me.
This lady, poised, successful and stunning
Peel back the layers and I see her running;
Running through a life she has to own,
Supporting her kids until they’re fully grown.
Others credit her success to her body and look,
But grit and determination is what it took.
When her husband left, her world fell down,
Made worse by his gallivanting around the town.
She chose to not let him see the pain,
So she put on her face mask, again and again.
I saw this, and I asked how that made her feel,
Her eyes filled with tears at her chance to be real.

“No one asks me honest questions,” she quietly said,
“Only the ones they want that will get them ahead.”
“To me, you are incredible,” I reply,
“But your beauty is intimidating to a passer-by.”
“Me, beautiful?” Her face lit up.
“No one has said that since my break up.”
I took her hand and hugged her tight,
In my arms, she breathed out her fight.
“I spend my time charging around,
Work harder, be more, do more - it gets me down.”
I nod, I know, my challenges the same,
Only different circumstances and a different name.
It was that moment that I stopped and chose to look
That lifted us both up, and that was all it took.

August 31, 2016