Pretty Little Things

by Katherine N., Age 14 , Grade 8, Trinity Christian Academy, Addison, TX USA
Teacher: Sarah-Graham Turtletaub

Pretty Little Things


Small, petite, thin.

The standard of beauty.

The bodies which are deemed a sufficient vehicle for style.

The ones residing on pedestals, parading around in teetering heels on crimson carpets.


When I was eight, the girl next to me tallied her calories.

At the age of ten, another pushed away her lunch of crackers and fruit.

That same year, a friend threw up her dinner and wore it like a badge of honor.

I turned eleven and blew on nearly a dozen candles for a solitary wish:

Let me be small, petite, thin.


I cried a lot that year.

Droplets of water blurring blue pen marks in diary entries.

Tears obscuring my vision from reflections in dressing rooms.

I remember each and every time a friend pushed away dessert,

A deprecating comment with a comical twist to deter any suspicion regarding the reason.


I could write down my friends’ parents by name,

The ones who suggested “How about a salad instead…”

When their daughter ordered a slice of cheese pizza.


To pinpoint a single time I felt sad would be a feat much too large for me,

Because I felt sad for the child next to me in second grade, calculating the grams of sugar in an Oreo.

I feel sad for a girl I haven’t seen in three years, and wonder if she still purges herself every night.

I felt sad for every chipped porcelain friend who sat on my bedroom floor in tears because of something her mother said to her at a restaurant.

I feel sad for my barely double-digits self, for thinking that people would only like me for my appearance.


I wish I could tell her how stupid she is.

That a piece of cake on her birthday will not kill her.

That her value has absolutely nothing to do with how strongly gravity clings to her.

That a brownie is not a forbidden fruit.

That she’d be exponentially happier at parties if she would just eat like everyone else.

That it is okay to feel full.


But most of all, 

I feel sad for the younger generation of children, both boys and girls,

Who will grow up believing that their worth is tied up in numbers.

Ones on scales,

Tape measures,

Food packages.

Yes, I feel the worst of all for those wishing on candles to be 

Small, petite, thin.

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