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The Beauty Sickness We Spread: A Poem About Trying To Find Self-Love

Have you ever felt as if your reflection is speaking to you? Sometimes the words are encouraging, kind even, things like “Wow, you look great today!” or “Girl, slay!”. But other times, it feels as if your reflection is yelling cruel, hurtful things at you. The words feel like knives against your soul, they break your self-esteem and make you want to lock yourself in your room or find a different body. The worst part is that these hurtful words are coming from the person who is supposed to be your biggest supporter: yourself.

I realized that my issues with my appearance were not only a product of my insecurities but the ones my culture and society had inflicted upon me. This beauty sickness that was poisoning my mind and the minds of so many other men and women. I overcame it with self-love and perseverance, but many do not. This poem is about the devastating reality of those who didn’t.

 

Beauty Sickness

The little girl pranced around the house

A beaming smile on her face

Her world filled with fairy tales and happily ever after’s

Morning light shines on a mirror in the corner

The little girl gallops towards the mirror licking her lollipop

Mirror, am I pretty?

The Mirror laughs in scorn

Why ask questions you already know the answers to?

Of course not

Look at what crooked teeth you have

Such a plump face

Gnarly, Tangled hair

Big, witch nose

You are not pretty, you are not worthy

Blossom like a flower, like all girls, should

Then come back later

Three years pass

She covers her face with a curtain of black hair

The little girl hears the mirrors voice echo in her mind

Not pretty, not pretty, not pretty 

The little girl marches into her room

She examines her reflection and frowns

Mirror, am I beautiful yet? 

The Mirror groans in frustration

Why do you always return to me with such silly questions?

You know the answers

Look at your big, bulging stomach

Those unnerving bug eyes

Fat, wide, round hips

You are not beautiful paint your face

Make it something worth looking at

Then come back

A year passes

The girl is no longer a little girl

Her makeup is smeared

A fake smile plastered on her face

The girl still hears the mirrors voice echo in her head

Not pretty, not pretty, not pretty

Not skinny, not skinny, not skinny 

Not beautiful, not beautiful

The girl stumbles into her room

She outlines the scars on her arms and thighs

She caresses her protruding ribs

Mirror, will I ever be enough?

The Mirror wears a sympathetic smile

No darling, of course not

The girl realized there was no mirror at all

Only her own voice spewing hatred in her head

Her own reflection tormenting her, leaving no escape

Beauty sickness plagues the world

It poisoned the mind of a young girl

A year later the girl is gone

Tears splashed on her grave

Dark skies and even darker hearts, all dressed up in black

All that was left of the girl was a shell

She had a lifeless look in her eyes

That had been there for quite some time

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Written by Anais Rivero

Aspiring journalist, Latina woman, and film lover trying to stomp the patriarchy with my large combat boots.