An Ode To Those Pretty Girls You See In Magazines

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When you were little, you were small.
Everyone was.
When you were little, no one cared about the size of your jeans,
Just the size of your dollhouse and the shape of your backyard
When you were little, you could play dress up
With the other little girls,
Try on their mom's makeup
Orchestrated living room fashion shows
But as you got older
The dresses got tighter
The makeup started hiding things
The hem of your dress came halfway up your shin
And that feeling went the whole way to your heart
As you started to think about the "why"
Instead of the "who"
As you got older you paid more attention
To the girls at school
The sports they played that you didn't
The clothes they wore that you couldn't 
School uniforms only made you feel worse as you looked at yourself
In the full-length mirror at Target and
Fought back the tears that you wouldn't dare let your mother see
When you were little you
Got picked on for being tall
And having big teeth
But now you're picked on for other parts of you that are too big
Every joking comment hit home hard
Another blow to the gut
And bite of lunch unswallowed
"But you shouldn't let them get to you!"
Is what everyone said when you asked for advice
"But you couldn't let them get to you,"
Is what you said to yourself
Every night lying in bed
Staring at the glow stars on your ceiling and concentrating on ignoring the itch
Of a skin that barely fit you, 
Fighting tears and telling yourself that their opinions don't matter
Never have mattered
Never will matter
But you eventually cracked
A porcelain doll that someone dropped
So you picked up the pieces and glued yourself together
With your smiles and your tears
You hide your awkward curves behind baggy sweatshirts and tight jeans,
Hoping to cover what you don't want to show
And to shrink the inevitable
But don't try to hide,
Because honestly, the world needs more of you
Not anything less
You've got thin paper skin stretched too tight over a skeleton made of glass
And even though sticks and stones might tear you to pieces,
You can mend yourself like a patchwork quilt
You've got a story to tell, and your scars proudly say so.
The world needs so much more of you,
You, who when you were little
Set out to prove to the world
That you have something to say!
When you were little, you were a fighter.
Fell off the swing set at the playground,
A scraped knee became a battle scar
Earned in the fight to preserve what others sought to destroy
That little spark you had inside that said
“I may be small, but I am not weak.”
For every spark has the power to ignite a wildfire
Your tears dried, wounds bandaged, and your head held high
The world needs so much more of this you,
You, who despite all of this, are still able to smile
Still able to walk, talk, live, fight--
But you look in the mirror, as if you have done something wrong
Disgusted with your jutting shapes and rolling angles
The way your ribs poke out when you inhale just enough
To keep your belly flat
The way your hip bones get caught on every furniture corner
Every doorknob
Every belt loop
Every nick of the razor blade, unzipping your veins
As you tell yourself 
That if you can't thin out
If your thighs won't shrink
If exercise, diet, starvation, degradation
If nothing takes a toll on you more than this,
Then maybe; just maybe… you deserve this.
 
But you don't.
When you were little, you were a fighter.
This poem is about: 
Me
My community
Our world

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