Dear Self

you do not have to straighten your unruly hair
to be a woman
you can let it curl around your ears the way it wants to
without taming it
or curling it further.

it is okay. 

you do not have to read all of the dead poets
to be a poet yourself. 
you can read something new or incomplete
or near to you
in person or place or time.

it is okay. 

you do not have to worry about your chipped toenail polish
the first time you wear sandals in the spring
or grimace at the swollen flesh under your morning eyes
and then stand staring
at the mirage of choices to cover it up
in the target makeup isle.

you do not have to think so much about your own self
with eyes darting around
asking 

"Am I doing this right?" 

"Do you see me?" 

even when the check out woman is rude, 
it is probably because her son has not called in weeks and weeks
and she is worried for him. 
It is not your hair, or your chipped toenails
that she disapproves of.

Let her know that you see her and I will tell you what word will fall away from your mind: 

Should. 

you can retire that word now. 

it has been of no use to you. 

You are okay. It is okay.