That Girl in the Bathroom

November 6, 2008
By Allison Chou, McLean, VA

“I HATE MYSELF!” she screams into the mirror,
Her deafening cry and desperate wails unheard by the standards of today’s society.
Those standards that remain terrifyingly unscathed, unscathed by this girl,
Whose frail fingers are wrapped around her size-16 frame.
“I HATE MYSELF,” she repeats, this time softer,
Hoping her parents don’t awaken at the distinct sound of vomiting, then the ominous flush of her bathroom toilet.

What is beauty?
What is beauty, you ask?
Well, let me tell you, this young girl knows.
She’s been taught well, by the best society offers, in fact.
She’s been taught that beauty is in the high cheekbones of Kate Moss,
The espresso-colored tan of Gisele Bündchen.
She reads her textbooks, every subject.
Vogue, CosmoGirl, Allure,
She studies up.
What is beauty?
What is beauty, you ask?
The girl’s answer:
“It isn’t in my obese size-16 waist.”

The evils of society echo in the fragile corridors of self-esteem,
They erode the innocence and common sense of our youth.
Five years ago, that girl in the bathroom,
The one yelling, for a third time now, “I HATE MYSELF!” into her bathroom mirror,
Five years ago, that girl was riding a bike around her neighborhood on a bright June day,
Getting third servings of greasy pizza and guzzling Sprite as if it were oxygen.

Four times now: “I HATE MYSELF!”
Her self-inflicted pain reverberates in her pounding ears,
The taunts of her classmates replaying in her mind.
That girl in the bathroom, clutching her size-16 frame,
Sobbing over her “fat” physique,
She vomits once more,
Delirium sweeping away the remaining shambles of what used to be confidence.
What used to be self-respect.
What used to be health and fulfilled life.
What used to be.

The fifth time.
She can’t take it anymore.
The expectations of today’s world,
The jeers and sneers of her skinny classmates,
The looks she feels on her cellulite wherever she goes.
Five times,
One for each year that’s passed since that bright June day,
When that same girl was riding a bike around her neighborhood,
Getting third servings of greasy pizza and guzzling Sprite as if it were oxygen.

There she is now, in her bathroom.
Staring at her size-16 frame in the mirror.
A 16… in kids’ sizes, that is.

The author's comments:
I am inspired adolescent girls the world ove. I am inspired by the utter lack of self-esteem that they conceal behind pounds of makeup and clouds of perfume. I am inspired by the girls who walk through the halls of my middle school every day. The girls who would do anything to look "beautiful." My question is simple, yet enigmatic to so many: What is beautiful?

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This article has 3 comments.

Anonymous said...
on Nov. 14 2008 at 9:27 pm
This is amazing. This is legit the best poem I have ever read. Dead Serious.

therapist said...
on Nov. 13 2008 at 3:14 pm
VERY powerful!

Annie:]]] said...
on Nov. 13 2008 at 2:56 am
Good job allison! :D

thats deep


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