Beauty

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In sixth grade, they taught me how to hate my body

I stood in a mirror and pinched at my stomach, called myself fat

I couldn't have weighed more than 90 pounds

to this day, I will not wear a bikini.

 

In eighth grade, they taught me to hate me looks. 

While all the girls grew curves

Became women,

I stayed the same.

My baby face seemed a curse from which I could not break free.

The dimples that people told me were adorable felt like open wounds.

I smiled less.

 

In ninth grade, they taught me to hate the sound of my own voice. 

New school, new people, new clothes, but no new friends.

I tried to be funny, I tried to speak up, but too often I was given strange looks for what I said

I relearned my ways

I learned that my words had no merit

I learned that nobody wanted to listen

The girl, with so much love for the world and an excitably loud voice

Learned to keep that mouth shut

Learned to never be enthusiastic in front of others

They'll think you're weird

They'll think you're obnoxious

I learned to fear speech. 

They handed me anxiety and insecurity on a silver platter and I took it

Because quiet girls were more attractive anyway. 

I kept my head down from then on. 

I bought expensive shoes, so I would have something nice to look at on the way to class. 

To this day. The word that most often leaves my lips is "Sorry"

Because I feel the need to apologize for the heartbeats wasted hearing my words.

 

If I could change one thing, I would take the hands of every young person

The comic book nerd or the head cheerleader,

My little cousin who I can already see becoming uncomfortable in her own skin

Because her dad won't let her play with 'boy's things' 

I would take their faces in my hands,

and tell them they are beautiful, amazing, perfect, extraordinary

on repeat,

until they believe it

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