Dear Keandra

education, photography

Dear Keandra,

They are wrong.

Ugly is not your reflection in the mirror but a reflection of their character.

Ugly is on the inside, festering under their skin.

They are wrong, and they are bullying you.

“Horse Face,” Mark Milligan smirked as he slid into the seat next to me on the first day of seventh grade. “We’ll call the new girl Horse Face!”

Everyone got a good laugh except for the apparently long-nosed, big teethed girl sitting in my desk. His words, foolish and mean-spirited, drew enormous, hot tears from my equine eyes.

More than a decade has passed since that traumatic first day of seventh grade, and yet I’m still a little insecure about whether my face actually does favor, of all creatures, a horse.

Ugly, ugly, ugly. It’s time for a realignment of the way we talk about what counts as ugly. Faces and braces, frizzy hairs and gawking stares, vicious lies and teary eyes. We have to stop tearing each other down and confront our own insecurities deep within.

That’s why those girls are saying mean things about you. You know that, right? They’re insecure, so they say something ugly before someone else can call them the very words they’re using to put you down.

It will get better. I have already met with the girls and their parents. Insecure or not, there is no excuse for the way they are treating you, and it has been made clear exactly what their consequences will be if they continue to bully you.

They are wrong about you. You are full of beauty and strength. Keep your chin up. They don’t deserve to get you down.

All my love,

-Ms. Jackson

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