To The Girl Wearing a Crop Top With Stretch Marks: THANK YOU

I am ugly. I am horrid. I am terrible. My reflection says to me.

If I thought I was insecure, I promise you it got way worse after I had a C-section.

Granted, a lot of it was probably the postpartum depression encouraging me to hate myself, but I looked at my large scar, the tiger stripes that now went across my body, and I cried.

I mourned for all the things I wanted to wear, all the ways I wanted people to look at me.

I am ugly. I am horrid. I am terrible my reflection says to me.

I live in an area where there is no spring, just a long, horrible winter, and an even longer, hotter summer. So my envy of girls in short shorts and tank tops goes way beyond fashion, I just wish My body was beautiful enough for me to not have to cover every inch of it all summer.

Enter, the woman, we'll call her Fran*

I never met Fran before. We were all strangers at this college graduation barbeque but all bonded instantly over our love of all things geeky. In between the Star Wars arguments and Deadpool one-liners, I found myself staring in awe of Fran quite a bit.

She was beautiful and tall. She had that glowing brown skin that was all one smooth color. Her afro bounced as she laughed when someone complimented her top. It was a burgundy crop top that said "Thick Thighs. Thin Patience." She looked so amazing in her shorts and crop top that I started to think "I wish I didn't have stretch marks on my belly so I could wear that."

Hold up, Quinzel, she has stretch marks.

I was so caught up in the comparison game, of replaying the record known as Quinzel's Low Self Esteem, that I didn't even notice that Fran was someone just like me.

And I didn't think she was ugly

I didn't think she was horrid

And I certainly didn't think she was terrible

Fran was kind, funny, and beautiful, stretch marks and all.

So what the hell was wrong with me? Why was I so judgemental with myself and so quick to see the beauty in someone else?

So this is my love letter to Fran, who made me wake up and say Fuck It, I am not ugly, I am not horrid, I am not terrible.

And I am buying that fucking crop top and rocking it.

*I made this name up, I'm not even sure I know anyone irl named Fran

Thoughts on Self-Esteem


You pass by a mirror, stop and look. Start playing with your hair. Pull it back from your head, move it side to side. All of a sudden you hear a small voice. “You should never pull back your hair,” the voice whispers “your forehead is way to big for that.” You look in the mirror and realize whomever, or whatever that voice was is correct. Your forehead is huge. You sigh and leave your hair as is.

Oddly enough, this happened to me last night. I know who that voice was too. A long time ago, I was visiting my dad and my grandparents, and my grandpa introduced me to this woman. I believe my hair was incredibly short at the time; I had cut off almost all of my hair, and kept it gelled. Think Missy Elliot without the finger waves. The woman took one look at me and said “OOOH WEE! YOU GOT THAT FAMILY FOREHEAD DON’T YOU!?” I looked at the woman aghast. No one ever told me I had a huge forehead. I didn’t know! I demanded answers from my mom. “Well, it is kind of big, but nothing like that woman stated.” At that point the damage was done. Pretty much from then on out, I had some type of bang. It would mostly be side swept, but other times it would hang right in the front, hiding my ‘family forehead’.

When I was young (middle school) I was picked on a lot. We didn’t have health insurance, and so when I had an issue, unless it was life threatening, I would have to tough it out. I would get a hacking, barking, bronchitis cough every year. One year I coughed so hard I wet myself. Yeah, that went over really well. Being picked on really affected my self-esteem. I always second-guessed what I was doing, what I was wearing, how I lived. Being poor didn’t help that situation either. It took a long time for me to kick off those shackles. I am self confident and self assured. I don’t make apologies for who I am and what I say (unless it is a total foot in mouth moment and I could have said something with more tact.). But sometimes little niggling doubts make their way to the surface, just like last night.

In my new office setting, my differences stand out. With brown skin and curly kinky hair, I stand out amid the crowd of straight hair, blond/brunettes, and pale skin. I find myself reverting to the ways of middle school, hiding myself, not making eye contact, just, timid.

That is NOT me.

While not completely brash. I am bold, daring, and a little in your face. I stand up for myself and talk loud enough so that my voice is heard. I need to make that change. I need to be sure and more confident in myself. Going into information technology, I knew it would be like this. Either my race or my sex would make me a minority. I need to get over it. I refuse to revert back to that little girl.

Remember me?

I am the girl

with the dark skin

whose shoes are thin


I am the girl

with the rotted teeth

I am the girl

with the wounded eye

and the melted ear


I am the girl

holding their babies

cooking their meals

sweeping their yards

washing their clothes

Dark and rotting

and wounded, wounded

I would give

to the human race

only hope


I am the woman

with the blessed

Dark skin

I am the woman

with teeth repaired

I am the woman

with the healing eye

the ear that hears

I am the woman: Dark,

repaired, healed

Listening to you.


I would give

to the human race

only hope.


I am the woman

offering two flowers

whose roots

are twin

Justice and Hope

Hope and Justice

Let us begin.

*Poem by Alice Walker. Though I believe it is a poem about having children, I feel like most of the sentiment fits this entry.