Brillo Pad

2018

I used to not hate my hair.
As a child I was quiet and scared of people.
I always avoided interacting them.
My shyness increased in school.
That’s when people started commenting on my hair.
“It’s like a brillo pad.”
“Your hair is a mess.”
My classmates would always ask what was wrong with my hair.
body image, hair, bullying, beauty standards

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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 a Beggar

2019

I was never good at picking out clothes,
Or following trends.
I was never exactly a fashionista.
I liked wearing whatever made me feel comfortable,
And whatever colors I liked.
I liked wearing long clothes as well.
I don’t like wearing makeup.
My parents always told me that I looked like a “beggar.”

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Possibly a boy, possibly a girl

2018

I was subjected to derisive comments on an almost daily basis.
The one I got the most was a quote from one of Mohamed Saad’s movies: “Possibly a boy, possibly a girl”.
I got that practically every day.
At the beginning, I’d usually yell and fight with the person who said it.
Until one time, I got into a fight with a guy who made fun of my hair.
masculinity, bullying, gender violence, harassment, social stigma, the street

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I’m Fighting Alone

2018

I get bullied and insulted.
It happened that once the religion teacher performed on me the Islamic practice of healing in front of my classmates.
They had planned to do it because they saw that my being different was something abnormal.
I couldn’t do anything.
When I tried to speak up, they just said that it was a joke.
social stigma, depression, school, bullying

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A Little Extra Weight

2019

I went to school in an Arab country.
I was kind of chubby,
But not obese.
I just carried some extra weight.
And my breasts were a little big,
Compared to the other kids.
body image, bullying, masculinity

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Contagious

2019

Every single day,
People passing me by in the street,
Shout insults at me:
“Blackie!”
“Shikabala!”
“Why’s it dark all of the sudden?”
“Disgusting!”

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Mop Head

2018

My paternal grandmother always had a brush,
And loads of hair products ready with her to tame my “unruly”, unkempt hair.
She would sit me down on my knees,
pull at my hair painfully until it got detangled,
then she would apply a lot of hair cream,
pull my hair back into a bun or braid it,
Until the curls were no longer visible.

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Birthmark

2019

I have a birthmark on my face,
That takes up almost half of it.
Ever since I was young,
I got annoying comments and questions such as,
“Look! Her face is burned.”
“What’s up with your face?”
“Is that a burn on your face?”
body image, bullying, beauty standards

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I Wanted to Lose More Weight

2019

I’ve been told I’m fat ever since I can remember.
When I grew up, I learned that I wasn’t really fat or anything.
My lower body was fuller than my upper body.
It’s always been my goal to lose weight,
So I’d be beautiful,
And so I could get married.

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