Someone remarked tonight
"You always wear red lipstick when you're out!"
As if to imply vanity is the reason why;
That I must be showing off my crimson pout.
Little do many know my scarlet shade
Is a well-thought out, conscious choice.
I adopted wearing red lips the age
I finally felt I had a voice.
Yet it came alongside another discovery
A painful lesson I had to learn.
It was also the age I acquired scars
When finding out words spoken have the power to burn.
Before I hadn't cared for make-up much,
Not worn lipstick often before, truth be told,
My choice of colour wasn't in the name of beauty,
Or to be racy, or confident, or bold.
The reason was to make me more conscious
Of the part of my face furthest south.
It made me remember just how much pain is possible
Just from what can escape from someone's month.
For earlier that year someone had used theirs
To spit out the most cruel and harmful lie.
Writing what that exactly was
Would be impossible; it'd make me cry.
I vowed after going through the turmoil caused
By those words that remain with me forever
That I'd wear bright red upon my own lips
And would I cause someone the same? Never!
Though it's not obvious to bystanders
When I adorn my lips with a ruby hue
The reason isn't shallow at all.
It's my reminder to always speak what's true.
Sometimes I fumble when I speak
Because I'm being so discerning about what I say.
I refuse to hurt another as I was hurt.
My red lips remind me to speak truth every day.