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what i'm worth This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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curled my hair this morning
and my fingers, too
around the barrel of the iron
which made me good enough.
i held it long and fast to my head
'til the reek of burning hair filled
the bathroom
and ruddy sores swelled on the crown
of my skull
and the tresses fell away acrid and melting
in perfect spinning pinwheels
which clogged the sink with prettiness.

i blacked my eyes this morning
with mascara and bruises.
darker, prettier, more makeup, i said;
'til indigo aurora bloomed on my skin
an infection so tender, so pretty, like flowers
trailing from neck to chest to inner thigh.
harder and harder and angrier i pressed
'til none of me was visible, only garden skin
to hide the hideous girl beneath
in lovely, lacy, velvety pain.

i dressed before the mirror this morning;
tied corset strings around my neck
and slid on rings of thorns, which cut
like hangnails slipped down to the knuckles.
i stood back arched and braced against
the glass
while fingers wandered sensually over
xylophone ribs.
a moment gathering breath, eyes closed –
then violently the hands pressed in
and crack;
'til the new dress slipped on beautiful
over bones splintered inwards
pushing comely against organs.
good.
and i thought of all the compliments
i would get
from all the girls with broken fingernails
run chipped across mottled skin;
girls just like me, whom i loved
who determine my worth in a passing glance.
and though my grin always shows
through lips pulled back by staples
i smiled and smiled 'til my lips split the corners.
and my laughter sounded raw and hoarse
with pain of overuse
and my eyes popped out of their sockets
when they cried, yellowed and burning
and i was so happy i shook and seized
as i looked down at what i had done
so beautiful, finally good
enough.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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TheMoonStillFollowsMeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
today at 12:27 am:
What everyone else said...this is....just...no words
 
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Mariella Gutierez said...
Feb. 1 at 10:13 am:
Wow... it's not often a poem can get this kind of emotional response from me. I kept thinking about it all day yesterday; I just had to come back and tell you how this affected me. This is great - bone-chillingly, disturbingly great - and undoubtedly it resonates with millions of girls and women as well as myself. The point you made has been made a thousand times before but the way your worded it sent shivers down my spine. This is powerful! Keep writing.
 
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readlovewriteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 28 at 8:53 pm:
Wow.... This made me shiver - because somehow I feel like I know exactly what you mean.  I was cringing at all the horrible things that your character did to herself - but I realize that this is how some people really feel.  It's a horrible standard of beauty, but your poem is beautiful!
 
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cecchmateThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 28 at 3:55 pm:
This is really great. It's dark, but so amazingly relatable. Keep writing! And keep being a strong girl, sticking up for what you know is right and sharing our struggles - it's hard in this world to feel worthwhile, but if we stick together and keep writing, talking, and speaking up, things will change. Awesome, beautiful poem!  
 
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mereCatThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 28 at 11:44 am:
5 stars: darkly beautiful and painfully haunting.
 
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haley101This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 27 at 6:32 pm:
this is beautiful. i was taken away by the first few stanzas. how on earth did you do this? it's so vivid and true. reminds me of Marge Piercy's "Barbie Doll".
 
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ramfthomas4This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 27 at 1:26 pm:
Great writing.  Thank you for this.  
 
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KristenNoel said...
Jan. 27 at 11:45 am:
Oh my goodness I love this beyond belief! I can't wait to read more of your work! Please keep writing! This is beautiful! This is perfect! This describes girls like us exactly! I am the same way! But this! This is poetry! This is beautiful! By the way, you are enough <3
 
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