Natural Hair

2018

Back when I was in school, all the boys and girls would stare at my hair and call it a “brillo pad.”
I braided my hair most of the time so people wouldn’t notice I had coarse hair, and so I wouldn’t stand out.
body image, hair, beauty standards, bullying

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Mine and Mine Alone

2019

Ever since I was little,
I’ve always had “bad” hair.
It truly is bad hair.
It’s not curly.
It’s thin at the front,
And short and frizzy.

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Good or Bad Hair?

2018

“Do you have good or bad hair?”
I get this question all the time from everyone around me.
But I’ve never mustered up the courage to reply.
So I tell them: “Yeah, my hair isn’t straight.”
Despite my family’s efforts to convince me that I had nice hair as a baby,
All of the kids at school were skilled in the art of bullying.
body image, hair, beauty standards, bullying

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Like a Disease

2019

My curly hair was like a disease.
Everyone pitied me for it.
Everyone offered to help fix it.
My hair has seen it all: chemicals, food masks, oils, creams, freaking spiritual healings...
hair, beauty standards, bullying

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Unwarranted Comments

2019

For as long as I can remember, I’d been overweight.
As a result, I was always subjected to comments from people, especially family,
Comments about how fat I was,
Whether as a child, teenager, or young adult.
I was always told that I needed to lose weight,
That I was not nice to look at,
And that I would never find a husband because of my body.

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BED (Binge Eating Disorder)

2019

French teacher, bragging about her daughter's 50ish kgs perfect weight,
While my classmates, 15 y/o, join the discussion some being below that,
Some slightly above, but everyone in the room were of a normal weight except me,

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Acne Trouble

2019

I never liked makeup.
I never liked how it felt on my skin.
Ever since middle school,
I’ve had a huge acne problem.
I’ve been to countless doctors,
But whatever solutions they provide are temporary.
The acne on my face always comes back.
body image, beauty standards, bullying

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I'm Bullied

2018

I'm bullied by my direct manager
because I'm from a small town in Behairaa and he lives in Cairo.
social stigma, bullying, work

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Bad Hair

2018

Brushing my hair as a child was a real burden to me.
My mother would pull it really hard when she brushed it.
It was as if she was punishing me for having “bad” hair.
Combing it was a difficult process.
“Your hair is disgusting. I’m sick of it,” she used to tell me.
She used to push me away if I cried because it hurt, saying,
“Get up. I won’t brush it for you.”
body image, hair, beauty standards, bullying

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A Different Person

2018

I hear comments like:
“Okay, leave it how it is in the back, but straighten your bangs because your hair looks frizzy in the front.”
No one understands that part of the reason why I’m okay with how I look comes from leaving my hair as it is.
body image, bullying, hair, beauty standards

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