By Lucia Kim
“Fragile Sprouts” is a message encouraging young women to embrace the individuality that makes them beautiful.
Like fragile sprouts, desperate for sunshine In the shadow of our perception of beauty We are blocked by society Society embeds insecurities into the soil where it expects a healthy plant Society restricts the roots of a growing seedling because long roots make a plant too stubborn Society demands a healthy stem even when it hasn’t been nurtured Society unleashes pests who feast on the leaves of a sprouting bud And society stays unchanged from one generation to the next We’re told that natural is beautiful That we’re beautiful just the way we are At the same time... Influencers guarantee a product will mask our acne But a full face of makeup “hides our natural beauty” We’re told to eat smaller portions to achieve the ideal body type But we can’t eat too little or we’ll be “too skinny,” and that's not attractive They tell us to put effort into what we wear But don’t put in too much effort, because “it’s lame to care about appearances” How can we feel beautiful just the way we are when we’re taught to change every part of ourselves? Society expects us to be confident when it shows us every reason not to be Well, what’s wrong with my acne? What’s wrong with my body? What’s wrong with my style? Always shortest in my class, loving twinkle toes and rainbow loom bracelets, my height was never a burden Until Snapchat trapped me in my own insecurities Falling further and further away from innocence, Feeling as if I were in an elevator The same sickness in my stomach A teenage girl is an empty can Crashing with a harsh echo, dented, failing to get back up Instead, we must be full, Made stronger, When pushed down, fall without scars, And pick ourselves up Like fragile sprouts, we can grow into something extraordinary So why does it matter that we have longer roots? That we have a shorter stem? That we have an extra leaf? That we’re different Because it’s what makes us beautiful
Society undermines issues surrounding mental health and beauty standards for teenage girls. As a high school student active on social media, I see edited videos and photos and idealize a body and face that is different from mine. The reality is that many teenage girls suffer from the same issue, torn between society’s perfect girl and the person they see in the mirror. My poem “Fragile Sprouts” highlights the cruelty and impracticality of society’s beauty standards.
Lucia Kim is a young author of poetry, memoirs and nonfiction for her family, teachers and mentor. She hopes to grow her reader base while spreading smiles through her writing. Lucia was born and raised in Queens, NY, where she lives with her mom, dad, sister and an abundance of leafy plants. When she's not writing at her kitchen table, Lucia loves to take walks, play the piano and read.