November 16, 2019

I used to be an Ugly Girl.


“People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing you are the beholder.” ~ Salma Hayek


I used to be an ugly girl

Thick, bushy eyebrows


forehead, covered with acne

all people saw when they looked at me

all I saw because

Who could love an ugly girl?



“An excessive sweating problem.”

Sweat all down my sides

Sweat on my forehead

I’d have to wear sweatshirts in the summer

Run to the bathroom and dry my underarms

in secret, as fast as possible

because the door might open

and no one knew, no one could know


Who could love an ugly girl?

I wore baggy T-shirts in grade school

refused to wear a training bra.

Hair on my thighs

thighs that were bigger than others’.

What was happening to my body?

Why can’t I control my own body?

Who would love this ugly girl?

In grade nine

I discovered tweezers

Finally got Botox injections for the sweat

Prescriptions creams and food restricting

Finally, the acne is gone.

Toss me the push-up bra

Girls are wearing thongs?

Get me some of those.

Low-cut tops

Low-waist jeans

Straighten hair

Hairless legs

Pluck pluck pluck

Braces and straight teeth

Now, someone could love this used-to-be-ugly girl.

I was noticed,

asked out,

kissed for the first time in my basement.

Hands held under a blanket

Hands that moved around my body under a blanket

Hands that discovered my body

Before I did.

But now, someone loved this ugly girl.

I’m beautiful, you say?

Let’s date.

Fall in love

Have sex

Or was it the other way around?

Pretty girls don’t need to wait.

Broken hearts, breaking too many hearts

You are the devil.

Where are the real feelings?

Why can’t I feel anything?

Pass the bottle, please.

Let’s make out in the corner

Because who could actually love an ugly girl?

You don’t really find me pretty.

Why can’t you just be pretty?

Fix that, pluck this, inject here,

pull harder, longer,

eat right, exercise right,

sleep right, do it all right,


That’s how you’ll find love

Because who could love an ugly girl?


Sometimes, I’m a little bit glad

I used to be an ugly girl.

Because now I find value in other things

Maybe I even love an ugly boy

But wait no—

He’s not ugly.

Look there,

I see a smile.

He’s kind and funny and smart

He makes art like a goddamn modern-day Shakespeare.

And look,


in the way he gets to know you

actually likes you, for you.

He sees how you try and show up in the world

because he,

like you,

can love an ugly girl.


The ugly has been gone for years

but you keep it there

like your own little secret

reminding you

that some things can erase the ugly

And maybe the ugly was never really there.



This piece was originally a spoken word piece performed for the Women of the Wick Poetry Night.


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