SpaceLogo Sciences Participating with Arts & Culture in Education

By Nicasia James June 5, 2019


Illustrated by Alessia Simo

It starts in gym class when a girl points out the hair on your legs

Too young to understand that her words will manifest as something much greater

Far more complex than your 9-year-old brain can process

Nonetheless, a seed has been planted

And soon torment will grow in your heart


It becomes the rolls under your shirt when you sit down

And the thighs too thick to fit into your friend’s jeans.

It’s the red bumps on your cheek that you cover with powder

and the fuzz around your mouth that makes your lips un-kissable


It turns into all the mornings you skip breakfast

convincing your mom that you were in a rush,

then the lunches you toss away

and the dinner you spend hours picking at

You hear the thunder-growls in your stomach

But you can’t stop the storm

Because nothing hurts more than how ugly feels


It becomes the miles you scroll down Instagram,

All the Likes you don’t get on a picture

The nights spent waiting for daylight yet dreading dawn

The hours staring into a reflection of blunders


Quickly buried, barely breathing under your own expectations

Suffocating on silent screams

Gasping for acceptance at the feet of those

who have greeted you with their boots

About the author

Nicasia James is a 2nd year student in Enriched Science.

About the illustrator

Alessia Simo is a first year Illustration student.


  1. space-default-avatar

    Andrea Strudensky

    January 19, 2020

    Wow! This is an incredibly powerful and moving piece. I think the line “Because nothing hurts more than how ugly feels” really resonates with those who can share (wear) the systemic way self loathing is inculcated in us from a very young age. That final image - being greeted by boots, is so powerful. It calls to mind this militaristic and harsh detachment from human suffering. The boots make it so impersonal, almost violent. Thank you for sharing this work.

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