Pongo Project Journal

Sharing stories of our work with teens
Feb 23
Being Pretty on the Inside

Sometimes we struggle to both be ourselves and also please other people. We’re confused by the vulnerability we feel, especially when our vulnerability has been used against us, to hurt us deeply.

This blog shares great poems on these themes -- the latest winners of the Pongo Poetry Prize.

In “If My Fist Could Speak” (January 2013) a young woman, age 13, speaks intensely and courageously to a bully. She writes: “You should eat diamonds so you can be pretty on the inside.” The three poems that received honorable mention for January 2013 are also on the theme of bullying (links below).

In “If God Were Looking at My Life” (October 2012), a young woman, age 14, writes: “If God opened a new door for me…I’d change who I was, and I would try to find the real me. The me who isn’t afraid. The me who is me." The poems that received honorable mention are also terrific (links below).

The Pongo Poetry Prize is a quarterly prize for poems submitted on the Pongo web site. They come in from young people all over the country. FYI, both of these winning poems were written using writing activities on the Pongo site. Maybe you know someone who would like to write an If My Fist Could Speak or If God Were Looking at My Life poem!

If My Fist Could Speak #4
by a young woman, age 13

If my fist could speak, it would tell you how much i hate you,
how i've always wanted to hit you and watch you cry
how i've never thought you were once nice
how it has watched you hurt me again and again

If my feet could speak, they would recall how many times i had wanted to run
how i wanted to walk away from the fight that you caused
how many times i would have kicked you and laughed
how i have always wanted to run and never come back to the bullying you cause

If my eyes could speak, they would tell you about how ugly you are inside
how you should eat diamonds so you can be pretty on the inside
how you’re ugly on both sides, inside and out
how the blood should be flowing from your nose as i punch you

If my pounding heart could speak, it would say how scared it is to slow down
how you cause it to speed up in horror of the next horrid line you will speak
how i am worried that my heart will beat out my chest
how you’re horrid in the heart, even at the bottom of it

If my hair could speak, it would explain how it wishes you would stop pulling it
how it will fall out if you carry on your wicked ways
how you should stop before it turns around and bites you
how i am going to hit you if you pull my hair once more

If my ears could speak, they would share how horrid your voice sounds
how your voice is a burning fire and it stings
how you call me so many names they echo in my head
how your voice shall forever be stored in the hate part of my mind

If my body could speak, it would tell you about how much it wishes to kill you
how it hates you so much it burns inside
how you beat it till it bleeds
how you should leave me alone and never say anything mean about me again

If my brain could deal with everything, it would want to ask -- why did you say those things?
why are you so mean to me and other innocent souls?
why do you hate the sound of happiness and laughter?
why is your voice so mean and angry?

never be a bully
never be mean again
being a bully is horrid and everyone agrees!

If God Were Looking at My Life #3
by a young woman, age 14

If God were looking at my life...

He’ wonder why i chose to live life in this way rather than take the right path.

He’d understand that life to me has been cruel and difficult, but it’s because of my actions, because i chose it that way.

He’d know the way things had gone for me – They’ve gone terrible.   I've cried for what i thought i needed and didn’t have.   I've behaved like someone i wasn't.   I say words i thought were right, but didn't mean.   I hurt people who i never thought were so important to me in my life, until i lost them.   I changed my appearance for people that talked behind my back, and i acted like a jerk to my parents and close friends.   Yet, now that i'm alone, i want to be me, but I’m afraid.

He’d remember how things went when I was very little, like when i had to take care of my sisters while my mother was in the hospital taking chemotherapy treatment, and i had a difficult time trying to cheer my father up so he wouldn't fall apart on us and so he would have the strength to keep us informed about our mother.

He’d know that i was who i was, but i changed who i was for what people wanted me to be.

He’d know that I’m trying to change certain things, like how i look, how i act, how i dress, and hide the real me.

He’d know how hard it is to change because he has seen me.   He has seen my process and the solution at the end, and by the solution he knows i didn't succeed, just made things worst.

He’d want me to understand that life is how it is, and i decide how to live it.

If God opened a new door for me...

It would lead me to going back and retrace my steps.   Apologize to those i hurt and become someone new. I'd change who i was, and i would try to find the real me. The me who isn't afraid. The me who is me.

Then I could start over with my life.

[The poems below also address bullying and themes of seeking acceptance.]

Honorable Mention, January 2013
Girl with the Scars #3
Running #2
Offend You?

Honorable Mention, October 2012
Cry My Stress-Tears at Night
To Be Me
That First Apple