Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Real beauty

Flip past it. I told myself. I begged, I pleaded, I grasped every ounce of strength inside of me and told myself I wouldn’t. I promised. But I couldn’t help it. I opened up the article. Countless pictures of celebrities were sprawled across the page, photos of various red carpet events and photo shoots they’d done. I eyed their figures, slender, delicate, beautiful. Silky hair fell across their shoulders, as smooth as the ocean water in the morning, not a strand out of place. Their beams lit up their faces as they threw their heads back in laughter. Everything about them was perfect. Why? I asked, frustration growing inside of me now. Their long legs peeked out from under their dresses, shining like the twinkle in their eyes. It must feel good. Every inch of their skin was flawless, the blemishes nonexistent. The teardrop splashed onto the page of the magazine, filled with anger, misery, jealousy. Why couldn’t I be like them?
I put the magazine down and made my way into the bathroom, collapsing on the bitter floor, struggling to breathe as the tears stole all the air around. I saw myself in the mirror, cheeks blotched, red as the blood that seeped through me, still flowing through all the pain. I pinched the rolls of fat on my stomach, cursing the countless meals, the deathly calories. I cried until the energy had been drained out of me. I had nothing left to give.

1 year later
I feel better now. I'm not perfect, nowhere near. I never will be though, and that’s something I’ll just learn to accept. My naivety terrifies me. My definition of beauty was so simple, so foolish. Impossible. Sure, I had problems with my skin and I had a few extra layers of fat. My thighs touched and my cheeks were chubbier than most. I tore myself up over it, over thought every detail, every freckle in the wrong place, every eyelash that wasn’t long enough. But, I forgot the other things. I forgot to admire the unique colour of my eyes, and I didn’t notice my naturally tanned skin. I forgot to look at inner beauty, and it must have slipped my mind to think about my passion and determination, my loving, selfless character. I forgot the things that mattered most, and focused on other people, only seeing their blessings. I forgot to look at my own. I forgot to be myself.

Everybody is beautiful in their own way.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

The smile

I elbowed my way past countless people dotting the streets of London, my backpack slithering off my shoulder as I did so. Snippets of random conversations floated into my ears as I dodged into another street, relief flushing over me. I could breathe again. Droplets of sweat lined the back of my neck as I hauled my backpack over my shoulder, pulling out a bottle of water. My footsteps slowed, the heaviness of my bag weighing me down. I cursed the summer work the teachers had handed out with joy, superficial smiles plastered onto their faces as they tried to convince us that it wouldn’t be too much work. Various insults and complaints whirled around in my mind. I imagined the hours of writing and calculating I’d have to do, frustration simmering inside of me. And that’s when I saw him. He sat leaning against the harsh brick wall at the corner of the street, eyes closed. I walked closer, noticing the thick layers of dirt that coated his face. His chest rose slowly underneath the grimy grey shirt, the sleeves of which hung limp around his slender arms. He had nothing but a couple of overflowing plastic bags, filled with what appeared to be old clothes, maybe a couple of picture frames shoved inside as well. His whole life was right there, in those two bags. I was left almost breathless, and ready to walk past him, guilty at the lack of money I had with me. As I got closer, his eyes opened, and his gaze met mine. I was near enough now to notice his olive green eyes, matching the colour of the trousers he wore, with rips and tears in countless places on the material. There was something about this man. The way he looked at me, it wasn’t a look of desperation, he wasn’t trying to beg. It was different; it was almost a look of kindness. I came to a complete stop in front of him, frozen, unsure of what to do or say. He watched me for a couple of seconds, and then straightened up, not relying on the wall for support anymore. He said nothing. And that’s when, despite the dirt that covered every part of his him, his face lit up, thin lips curling into an affectionate smile. A thought flashed through my mind. But you have nothing. How could he be smiling? A pang of regret struck me as I remembered my inner breakdown over the amount of homework I had. I’d completely forgotten I had a home, a place to live, a family who cared about me. The negativity ate away at me, the gratefulness lost behind the constant complaints. I glanced down at the water bottle in my hand. As I saw it was still half full, I bent down, and placed it in front of him. Our eyes met as I did so, and I found that the beam on my face matched his perfectly.
“You don’t have to give me that.” The rasp of his voice seemed welcoming somehow, the single-toothed smile still sealed within his lips.
“It’s the least I can do.” I gave him a last sympathetic look and walked away, my heart warming when I turned around once more to see him taking a long sip from the bottle, still smiling as he did so. 

Sunday, 6 October 2013


“Why don’t you clear up the spots on your face before you start looking at me like that?” His tone cut through me, a sharp knife being sliced across my veins. I tore my eyes away, cursing myself for staring and, what’s worse, for being caught. The snickers exploded from behind him as he turned to high five his posse in satisfaction. A new day, a new insult, as per usual. I hid the invisible wound, letting it rest in the back of my mind as I ran on forwards, fixing my backpack as it slipped from my shoulder.
I hurried into class, eyes fixated on the floor while I shuffled around to find my seat.
“Oh, what do we have here? Late again are we Kimberly? Now how many times is that already this week?”
“That’s three.” I said, hanging my head in shame.
“Only three? Well, you’re doing better than last week.” The class exploded into giggles as the teacher continued to mortify me, my cheeks burning like the flame of her ginger hair. I could feel the tears coming. Not now, I told myself, save it for later.
The cafeteria stirred as my ears caught random pieces of different conversations, the chatter endless. I held the tray tight while my eyes drifted from table to table, looking desperately for an empty space. Finding one, I sat down, stealing a glance at the group of girls next to me. The popular crowd, brilliant. I tried to concentrate on the food, but I couldn’t ignore the giggles as I saw them pointing their perfectly painted finger nails at me. I caught the words “hair” “ugly” and “gross” and stood up to leave, heart pounding as it broke into thousands of pieces. As I rose, my shoelace caught on the leg of the chair. It fell backwards as I hit the floor, the crash deafening. The chatter died down as everyone turned to see what had happened, making no effort to control their laughter. The tears very nearly came, but I swallowed them back. Later.
Frustration bled through me as I punched the floor, tears staining my face. The insults tore me up inside, so agonising, so painful. It happened every single day, I had learnt to deal with it, learnt to hide the hurt of the comments. I kept them locked up inside until I was alone, on my bathroom floor, emotions shattered. Why couldn’t I be pretty, or have perfect skin like the others girls? Why did teachers hate me? Why did I have to live in dread every single day, just waiting for the next load of abuse? I hid the bruises, covered up the scratches, sealed the internal wounds and kept going. Until I was alone that is, with nothing else but my thoughts drumming into my mind. I would wind up insane, tears spilling down my cheeks, pain exploding from within my heart. Why couldn’t I just be somebody else?

Bullying doesn't have to last forever. You can make it stop. Call this number to talk to somebody today. (1800 55 1800)
Or visit these websites: http://www.stopbullying.gov/get-help-now/http://www.helpguide.org/mental/bullying.htm