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Pretty Ugly - A Poem by Izzy Schack

When I was a little girl I used to ask my mother,

“Mommy, will I be pretty?” Pointing to the supermodel On the magazine cover in the grocery store Checkout line asking, “Mommy, will I look like that?” Now, Mommy knew her little girl Would never look like that. Born from squatty parents, both under 5”6. Her little girl would never have legs as long as day. Never have perfectly defined cheekbones or that perky, little nose. My odds of being on that magazine cover were low. Pretty Pretty Pretty The word stung because Who says you have to be a size 0 and 5”9 To be Pretty. Mommy didn’t know how to tell me this Because she wanted me to be more than Pretty. She knew I would be pretty smart. Pretty funny. Pretty caring. Pretty amazing. And pretty beautiful. But never solely Pretty. When will girls stop worrying about the numbers? The numbers between their big toes. Peering down with a racing heart in hopes that the decimal decreased. The numbers on the tag of their ripped up skinny jeans. When will pretty be categorized by what’s in your heart and not by the shape of your face? Or the crook in your teeth? Or the length of your eyelashes? Or the width of your thighs? Or the bright color of your eyes? And when my little girl asks me, “Mommy, will I be pretty?” Pointing to the supermodel On the magazine cover in the grocery store Checkout line. I’ll tell her that that six letter word pretty, is pretty UGLY.