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16+ Mature Content

Still not beautiful

by Pentavalence


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for mature content.

(Author's note: this poem contains anorexia, self-harm, and suicide. If you feel I have greatly misrepresented these, or offended you in some way, please let me know and I will do my best to change it.)

It was so easy:

Poised, popular, pretty.

Money flowed from her purse in a river of wealth.

I’m beautiful.


She bought without thinking:

Prada, Gucci, Alex & Ani.

Then money began to thin like her father’s balding hairline.

Still beautiful.


In the mirror she told herself she was unchanged:

Claire’s, Target, off-brand clothing.

Expensive changed to cheap in a flash of new reality.

Beautiful?


They called her different names now.

Loser, faker, wannabe.

Mirror shattered.

I’m not beautiful.


More names followed with curling tongues:

Stupid, loner, freak.

She hid inside herself.

Why aren’t I beautiful?


Tainted whispers burned her ears.

Fat, dumb, pathetic.

So spoonfuls became oceans and bites became mountains.

I want to be beautiful.


Dried tears stained a shriveled up life.

Pained, confused, miserable.

Ghosts of parents flitted with missing friends.

Everyone else is beautiful.


The cruelest taunts came from her alone:

Worthless useless, friendless.

Knives sliced through skin, flaking scars on flaking self.

Pain will make me beautiful.


Meals got smaller and blades got bigger.

Ugly, hideous, monster.

Blood welled scarlet in her fissures.

Life and I are ugly together. Not beautiful at all.



No one cared. No one noticed.

Lonely, bloody, mess.

She was an erased soul in a cracked body.

I’m not beautiful. I want this to end.


Cruel thoughts pounded in her head.

Helpless, endless. End this.

The night was quiet while her life slipped away.

In death I’ll be beautiful.


Her father woke up in the night shaking.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

He ran to her room.

My beautiful daughter. What have you done?


Blood dripped in a shattered pool.

Nine, one, one.

How much time was left?

Life is so beautiful. Why would you throw it away?


Doctors made of stone and sheets made of plastic.

Hurry, meds, life.

Sighs of relief echoed in the too-still night.

Beautiful.


She woke up scared, still reliving her death.

Blood, blades, beauty.

You saved me?

Because you are so beautiful.


She stared at the slicing lines down her arms.

Pain, trial, error.

Was it worth it?

Can I be beautiful now?


Life resumed at a too-fast pace.

Recovery, therapy, school.

Things seemed different.

Can life be beautiful?


It was so hard:

Reality, explaining, scars.

But life flowed from her in a river of wealth.

I’m still not beautiful. 


But does it matter, anymore?


Is this a review?


  

Comments



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Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:48 pm
LadyShadows says...



At the top where you would change it if it were offensive, don't. There are too many sensitive turds out there. This is lovely. It is powerful. You opened the eyes of a cruel, dark society. Keep writing.




Pentavalence says...


Aww, thank you! Glad you liked it.



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Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:03 am
BluesClues wrote a review...



Okay, so I just want to add one thing to @Nikayla's review. This bit that she mentioned.

If this wasn't the teacher telling you to list these three different things over and over, I think I'd suggest for you to take it out. It's really hit or miss; sometimes it works well such as in the second stanza where you list off names of fashion stores and it rolls nicely off the tongue, but stanza fifteen, the one with "She will live" is something that isn't as strong.


Where she said it's hit or miss? I think what actually makes it hit or miss is the commas. They make sense somewhere like this line, where you're listing something and commas would be used in everyday English.

Prada, Gucci, Alex & Ani.


But in this sort of line, where they separate individual words that form a sentence or sentence fragment, they don't work.

She, will, live.


Instead, they make the line read awkwardly. I think you could either stick with the three words thing but take out the commas--either all of them (stylistic choice) or just the ones that don't make sense (grammatical choice)--or you could change lines like "she will live" to another three-word list, in which case the commas will make sense again. Reading through it again, it appears "she will live" was the only line where the comma use was awkward, because it was the only three-word line like that which wasn't a list. On that note, the last set-of-three line also was a bit awkward, because since you used "the" in that line, you actually had six words instead of three. But definitely less of an issue than the "she will live."

(On that note, I loved the "nine, one, one" line. It just really hit me in kind of an oh-no/suspense kind of way that I can't quite explain but hopefully you understand me anyway.)

Also I just wanted to point out my favorite lines.

Then money began to thin like her father’s balding hairline.


So spoonfuls became oceans and bites became mountains.


The night was quiet while her life slipped away.


Also--I'm perfectly well aware that this isn't something that will always save someone/fix someone/convince them to get help and that depression can also be chemicals-based and need medication to fix it, but I loved that her father's love sort of saved her because she saw that she's worthwhile after all. Omg I felt so scared and sad for the father when he woke up in the middle of the night and found her and called 911, but then she lived.




Virgil says...


@BlueAfrica Thanks for pointing that out! You definitely spoke a part that I didn't in my review and fleshed it out more. Tagteam! c:



Pentavalence says...


Thanks @BlueAfrica! This is a fantastic review. I want to fix everything you mentioned, but there's not enough time before the deadline (because I'm a lazy procrastinator XD), but I will certainly try to edit it later.

-Pen



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Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:06 am
Virgil wrote a review...



This is Nikayla here for a review!

Jumping right into it with a review as promised, it didn't seem that your teacher gave you any set structure to work with so I'm going to jump right into that. Due to the repetition that runs throughout the poem I think adding something structure-wise and perhaps having each stanza be four lines long would add more consistency with the repetition as you use four-lined stanzas often in this poem but at the same time it's really your choice on how to form the structure as I can definitely see the format getting old for a longer poem. The reason I thought that your teacher assigned some form of structure because it seems the second line of each stanza is a list of some sort and then the last line of stanza is repetition, but I'm sure you could have done this on your own as well.

If this wasn't the teacher telling you to list these three different things over and over, I think I'd suggest for you to take it out. It's really hit or miss; sometimes it works well such as in the second stanza where you list off names of fashion stores and it rolls nicely off the tongue, but stanza fifteen, the one with "She will live" is something that isn't as strong.

The structure gets a little repetitive and stale but you do your best to mix that up with the listing like "Wrong, wrong, wrong." where it's all the same word but is repeated three times to have a stronger effect on the audience. Something that I wanted to tackle is that this is almost a narrative poem where it tells a story, or it is.

That was something that pulled me in about the poem since it follows the speaker who seems to at first be one of the "popular kids", and that was the first thing I wanted to tackle about this. I've never really liked the cliche of the "popular kids", but rather the speaker could be a more popular person who is vulnerable to what others say, and that's something that I can see happening more often, but that's concealed in other things.

I also wondered how old in age the speaker is, because taunts like you listed are not the ones that I'd really expect to hear in something like a high school setting and it unfortunately tends to be worse. I didn't exactly understand the motive of the bullies in this case as they didn't really have a reason to bully her other than she ends up spending all her money and perhaps they don't like her anymore because of that?

This poem tends to tackle a lot on self-image in itself which is quite the touchy topic and to an extent I find the emotions to be valid, but you don't give us a whole lot in terms of emotional weight. I want more imagery incorporated into the poem describing what's going on like the hospital with the doctors, which is something that starts off with a strong image but doesn't go much further than that. I'd like to see that kind of thing throughout the whole poem as it adds more of a reason for the readers to care about the speaker.

Another thing that I couldn't get off my mind about this was the ending because I didn't really know how to interpret or feel about it. Is it that the speaker doesn't care about being beautiful after all of the conflict that they go through, or they don't care anymore about something else? It's one of the places in the poem where I didn't really know how to respond and especially since it was the ending it felt quite abrupt. The last thing that I wanted to touch on is subtlety, which is something that I think could work well on a rewrite of your poem if you wanted to do that.

You're able to make it less extreme and more relatable, and this will make the speaker feel more rounded and human. Having the speaker perhaps do these sorts of things on a smaller scale and believe that they aren't really beautiful while still being in that popular group sometimes getting insensitive comments, I think that it would convey the message with more power because it's not entirely...outlandish? It makes the speaker more flawed and toned down with the same message, but it's really your choice on how you want to convey this. More imagery involved with the usage of repetition which is already there would make for a stronger message in the poem.

I hope I helped and have a great day! Sorry if it seems like I was a little harsh with my comments, definitely wasn't meaning to be.




Pentavalence says...


Nik,
Thank you for your great review! Unfortunately, I don't have time to fix everything as my computer's about to die, but I look forward to editing it in the future.

-Pen




Make your dreams come true. Don't wish for them, work for them.
— Lilly Singh