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Choosing Other Than the Discomfort

Updated on October 30, 2012

In this hub I'll share a poem that I wrote about the choice between an uncomfortable and a comfortable option. Below that you can get some insight into what caused me to write this and what I was thinking as I worked on it.

The poet, corsetted
The poet, corsetted

Burlesque Can Be Comfortable or Uncomfortable

Choosing Other Than the Discomfort

Why choose discomfort?

It’s clear she is trying to be different.

Versatile, varied

But why choose discomfort?

Why hide beauty beneath beautiful tight trappings?

Why trap the self in ruffles?

Why cover so much without relaxing?

And reveal things that aren’t the self?

She stands erect

In partial profile

In shadow, this looks like torture

Elongated lines carve her body into pieces

A firmness sets on her turned jaw

She is locked into this decision

A tight grip on a thin prop

A thin frame tucked into a tight stance

She chooses this discomfort

She looks askance

But the humor is lost on her

The rigidity is paramount

Will she be uncomfortable forever?

Would tears soften her skin or only toughen her?

Would silence allow her the space to choose differently?

Would a moment matter?

Sometimes a single choice seems to last forever

But the truth is that there are only five minutes left

She can choose differently

Beyond penance is possibility

Another choice is always available

Even when it absolutely seems that there is no way out?

Beyond the Poem

What did you think about when you read Choosing Other than Discomfort? Did you think about the times in your own personal life when you felt trapped in the way that you’d presented yourself to the world but really did have a choice to change? Or did you think about the way that women choose uncomfortable clothing and certain behaviors in order to be attractive and likeable even when it isn’t comfortable? These are the images that I was trying to conjure up as I crafted this particular poem. It is about the individual woman in the poem but it is about what it is like to be a woman and to be a person and to have to keep choosing yourself again and again.

The poem itself was inspired by watching a model who was posing at a particular event I’d attended. Sometimes I attend sketch events at local bars in the city. I don’t usually draw but instead take my notebook and do little “sketches” in words. Sometimes these sketches turn into stories or poems, as in this case. And sometimes they are just writing practice.

In this case, the real situation was that the model was posing in a really uncomfortable position. She had to hold the pose for a certain length of time since everyone in the room was sketching her in that pose. You could tell almost as soon as she’d taken the pose that she regretted being frozen in it and wished that she chose differently. The truth is that she could have chosen to move. I’ve seen other models break the pose, apologize and resituate themselves. However, she chose to stick with her decision.

The image of this woman stuck with me as I revised this poem. It really conjured up the way that we sometimes make choices that are not comfortable and we can choose differently but for whatever reason we feel like we can not. This can be small or big but I think it’s a feeling that most of us are familiar with. Are you?

Yoga Balances Comfort/ Discomfort


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  • Paradise7 profile image

    Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

    You know, as soon as I read this poem, I was reminded of a runway model in very, very, very high heels. She wobbled along as gracefully as anyone could do hampered by her ridiculous footwear.

    A (man) friend of mine once said: "Women love to suffer for beauty, don't they?"


  • Michael Graves profile image

    Michael Graves 6 years ago

    Being a man, the topic of the poem isn't one that I can really relate to, but your work makes it possible for someone who has never experienced the feeling of being trapped in your own clothing understand as far as they possibly can. What I took from this was that, in certain situations, clothing can be not just physically confining, but emotionally and spiritually confining as well. Beautiful use of language, too.

  • AUPADHYAY profile image


    Awesome. Appreciated this poem.

  • PiaC profile image

    PiaC 6 years ago from Oakland, CA

    Yes, it's really hard when you are drawing a model who is clearly uncomfortable. But you are right, she could have chosen differently, but maybe she felt like she had to hold the position?

  • FloraBreenRobison profile image

    FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

    Fashion designers tend to create odd but visually stunning creations for the runway that just do not work in real life. and of course, models are real women. I have seen some models walk down the runway in clothes so tight that I though they were going to trip and hurt themselves.