Is Vanity Fair? by AR Hadley


it was a lie
the woman trusted in nothing
or no one
for herself
the reality wasn’t real
she believed in everything reflected off another
the others lit up her mirror
satisfaction in their shining
while her own accomplishments
were shrinking
the corners of her mind
or they were never there to begin with
with tonight’s dinner
the chicken in the oven
the red potatoes cut and mixed with onions
the brownies done and squared
tasting divine
oozing a chocolate fudge
the fridge full of goodness
but mind you a little disorganized
the lemon scented mop ready to hit the swept floor
breakfast and lunch already served
dishes washed
laundry folded
how much more
how much more
it’s never enough
it’s piddly
another human
could do it with ease
a superwoman
one of those other-worldly neon light blinkers
and not just today
but every day
the dishes
the clothes
the floor
always doing homework
and chores
missing my own sparkling banner
focusing instead on something else
on other women
always comparing
to the ones on the magazines
the super shiners
their neon signs somehow blinking brighter

a headline grabs my attention
the magazine article reflecting every evil disbelief
I saw in myself
what I was afraid of
everything I thought I lacked
and then
in an instant
I wrongly assume the other woman
the magazine superhero
is more skilled
more adept
more loved
she must be better
her species must be far advanced
making leaps and bounds past me
and in that
in that instant
my thoughts suddenly become
on my disappearing accomplishments
the consumed chicken
the clean clothes
the spelling
the fractions
I’m focused on my daily
I am doing something
caring for other human beings
no cover of Vanity Fair wants to take my picture
I would not sell a magazine
SEX sells magazines
and today it sells past lovers
both male and female
whom the superwoman touts
the forty-five-year-old face looking pristine, practically godly
tall and blonde
cheekbones to die for
and the skill of make-believe held in more esteem than the honor of a king
I like her cheekbones though
I like my cheekbones
like my tongue

It’s the end of the day
I’m going to sleep
my face is soft
free of touch ups
free of rouge
my face has lived
is living
and is alive

my daughter cuddles up next to me
touching my fabulous cheekbones
“what are those bumps along your jawline?”
I can’t sell a magazine
I don’t want to sell a flipping magazine
and in that blink
in that instant
of magazine cover sexuality, touch ups and blazing career achievements
I. Am. Me.
pimples on my cheeks
do you see me
of course not
I am not on the cover of Vanity Fair Magazine

About the Author: A.R. Hadley

ARHadleyBioA.R. Hadley writes imperfectly perfect sentences by the light of her iPhone.
She loves her husband.
Her children.
And Cary Grant.
She annoys those darling little children by quoting lines from Back to the Future, but despite her knowledge of eighties and nineties pop culture, she was actually meant to live alongside the lost generation after the Great War and write a mediocre novel while drinking absinthe with Hemingway. Instead, find her sipping sweet tea with extra lemons on her porch as she weaves fictional tales of love and angst amid reality.

A creative writer since elementary school, A.R. all but gave it up after her children were born, devoting herself to the lovely little creatures, forgetting the pleasure and happiness she derived from being imaginative.
No more.
She rediscovered her passion in 2014 and has not stopped since — writing essays, poetry, and fiction. She is currently working on completing several novels as part of a romantic trilogy.

Day or night, words float around inside her mind. She hears dialogue when she awakens from sleep. She is the one who has been awakened. Writing is her oxygen. Cary Grant fans the flames.