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Apr 2019
I know myself like the back of my hand.
I know my strengths, weaknesses, body curves and scars accompanied.
I know I am beautiful.

Like stained glass,
I dance happily as colors when the lights hit just right,
An entourage of beauty and serenity that I am
Unequivocally representing as the day breaks,
As yellows, oranges, greens, blues.
Everything was beautiful about me,
From the top of my head to the soles of my feet.
I am all of the colors.
I am a rainbow after a stormy day,
A beautiful gown form-fitted onto that of a powerful women,
I am a Queen dancing the ballet before throngs of people.
I dance to dance
And I dance to laugh
And I am beautiful to me
And that is all I can ever ask for.

When I met you,
I saw you as another version of me:
Stained glass, too,
Just cracked,
Needing a friend to glue back in the shattered pieces,
Help you be whole again, shine those colors the same way again.
And I loved you for that.

Glass can be seen straight through, though. Color or not.
You knew that.
You saw that.
You took advantage of that.
Being my beauty, my confidence, my spirit,
My power, my naivety.

I didn’t know.
I didn’t know you weren’t here to appreciate the art
But to tear it down and try to repaint it as your own.
I trusted you to accept the me that I knew--
The yellow of the sun,
The green of nature’s embracing twines,
Even the blues of the leftover tears from the purple bruises of my bad memories.
I guess you accepted me, in a way,
But not how I wanted you to.
Not as me.
You manipulated me.
Told me that different wasn’t pretty.
I wasn’t pretty.
I feel like I am nothing,
puzzle pieces being rearranged to try and create a design
I wasn’t designed for.
You told me things that changed me.
I started seeing myself
As dried paint in the reflection of my mirrors.
I no longer danced.
I lacked potential.
I wasn’t going to turn into something beautiful.

And then I remembered,
After months of being clay shaped into your project,
That I am not a project.
I am not an object.
I am not subjecting myself to any more neglect.
I am in this body forever.
I look in the mirror and finally, after months,
I stare back at me:
I am a cracked stained glass portrait.
I vow to make something new with my broken pieces.
I tell myself,
I am beautiful,
Whether you can see that or not.
Every day, all day,
Months on end,
And eventually,
I start dancing again,
Leaping again,
Bouncing in front of mirrors and laughing and smiling again
and I stop making monsters into men
That I believe will love me for me.
I love me for me.
And all I need is me.
And that is all I can ever ask for.
Katie U
Written by
Katie U  18/F/Arizona
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