Pretty | Teen Ink


April 21, 2014
By NightGoddess17 PLATINUM, New City, New York
NightGoddess17 PLATINUM, New City, New York
34 articles 0 photos 63 comments

Sitting “properly” in the chair
Back straight, chest out
“Flaunt what you got, girl! Be proud of your fabulous figure!”

But the smallest movement
The twist of the hands, the shifting legs
Uncomfortable and tight in your own skin
Fight the monster inside as it claws at the jail of your inhibitions hoping to escape
As it screams from inside “What have you DONE to yourself?”

Music blasting from headphones as strangers promise sweet nothings
“You are beautiful” “You are perfect”
Are you kidding me? What kind of lies are you spouting?

Rip the headphones from your skin, taking some with it
Barely wincing at the pain because you’re just too used to the feeling of discomfort from your own insecurity
How dare they spit that fake optimism at you?
They don’t know you, or what you go through
They are blind to reality

A reality where if a girl speaks like she has something to say, she is a know-it-all
A girl who speaks her mind is b****y
A girl who takes comfort in her natural self is ugly
And a girl who tries to make other girls aware of their own strength is a rebel, mischievous, ringleader, trouble-maker

Avoiding these labels
Voices turned up in uncertainty
Begging for others with supposedly more power to confirm their own opinions
Or for more irresolutes to jump on the band wagon
There’s power in numbers… right?

Avoiding these labels
Only taken seriously when your face is a canvas and you brush away your pride for the sake of being considered “friendly”
And your clothes stretching tight over large chests and small waists
Graceful bodies constantly dancing a mating ritual
The roles Mother Nature intended reversed in the only species with the power to surpass natural selection
A species that watches warily for the slightest hint of rebellion
Questioning each member’s loyalty to the unjust traditions
“Something looks different” “You seem tired today”

Yes, I am tired.
Tired of hiding beneath a façade coated with soul-poisoning “non-toxic” chemicals
Tired of brushing off my true feelings with a “I don’t know man, I’m just not feeling well today”
Tired of listening to the man and the men telling me, telling us all that you must be who you are not
I. Am. Tired.

When did society become the only asset that matters when developing an identity?
I cannot sit idly by and watch half the population conform and contort themselves
Into Cover Girls, Vogues, and InStyle-ists
For anyone other than themselves
I cannot sit idly by as half the population turns God-given gifts into merchandise
When one gets old or damaged you can simply buy a new one

And every night I pray that a little girl isn’t praying that same night for her façade to become a sham as shameful as those who paid with hard-earned cash and blood and sweat and tears
Because she will never be what she thinks is “pretty”
She will never be what the world thinks is “pretty”
And she will go to bed for many nights choking back tears
From the hopes and promises whispered through headphones
“You are beautiful” “You are perfect”

Don’t be perfect.
Be the monster you feel scratching at your ribs
Because contrary to being a know-it-all, a b****, ugly, a rebel, mischievous, ringleader, trouble-maker, a feminist, anything they may call you or say to you
You are yourself.
And you should be damn proud of that.

The author's comments:
This is a slam poem inspired by Katy Makkai's poem "Pretty." Yes, I know they have the same title. No, I did not plagiarize. Every line and idea is my own. Katy Makkai simply inspired a feeling.

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