Eyesore

2018

It was a family outing.
Almost everyone said,
“What’s wrong with your hair?”
“Straighten the frizz out of it.”
“Are you trying to be an eyesore on purpose?”
They were insensitive to my feelings as they made fun of me.
body image, hair, bullying, beauty standards, social pressure

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Closed-Mouth Smile

2019

Mama has several objections about how I look—
My teeth, hair, and body.
I’ll start with my teeth.
I’ve had problems with my teeth ever since I was a child.
I didn’t know how to take care of them.
I didn’t pay attention to my appearance (I was a child in elementary school).
I’ll never forget what mama said to me:
“Smile with your mouth closed, so you’ll look good.”

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Closer to Beautiful

2019

I always thought I was adopted,
Or maybe I wasn’t their daughter….
I’m the eldest of my siblings,
I was born normally,
With olive skin and curly hair.
But I was seen as dark-skinned, ugly, and with coarse hair.
Things got worse when my younger sister was born three years later.
She was born with pale skin and straight hair.

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Leave Me Alone

2018

I am not obligated to have my headphones on whenever I’m walking so I wouldn’t have to hear what they say.
Because even if I can’t hear them, I can still see the way they look at me.
social stigma, social pressure, masculinity, bullying, the street

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My Son Looks Like Me

2019

My forehead is kind of big.
I’ve always been bullied because of how I looked,
My forehead,
And my hair—
Which isn’t bad by the way,
But it isn't as beautiful as everyone else’s in the family.
I’ve always heard things like,
“Your hair could work as an antenna for the T.V.”

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Covering My Hair

2018

My hair grew out very dry and curly.
Mama didn’t know how to deal with it.
She tried oils and creams.
My hair was in braids all during my childhood.
I never let my hair down.
I never felt the wind in my hair.
My maternal aunts made fun of me
body image, hair, beauty standards, bullying, hijab

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If Only She Were Good-looking

2019

I was never loved when I was a kid,
Because of my skin tone.
It was light brown,
But people liked to judge by appearances.
They’d always look at me at school,
As if I were different,
Until I started believing it.

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Decent-looking

2019

When I was little,
I didn’t like my face,
Because I had a big nose.
You laughed, didn’t you?
That’s understandable.
But it really hurts.
Your comments about the way I look kill me,
And believe me,
I’ll never show that I’m upset.
On the contrary,
I might even joke about my appearance along with you.

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Like You're Not There

2017

I was on my way to school like any other day,
When I found everyone making fun of me because I was wearing pants and a t-shirt that were bigger in size than their clothes.
I weighed more than them.
I don’t know how this whole thing started.
bullying, body image, beauty standards, social pressure

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They Pitied Me

2018

My entire family has soft, straight hair.
I’m the only one with curly hair.
“Why is your hair so ugly?” they also wondered.
My mother didn’t know how to take care of it.
Everyone used to compliment my sister’s beautiful hair and pity me.
body image, hair, beauty standards, bullying

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