"I'm ugly", she said.

She said it with finality, and assuredness.  She said it without question or argument.  It was accepted, final, a life-sentence earned with 17 years worth of experience.  

Somewhere, someone forgot to smile at her lovingly.  Someone forgot to curl the ends of their smile when she came into a room, they forgot to share a belly laugh with her, to tickle her until stars danced in her eyes.

"I'm ugly", she said.

Didn't someone tell her that girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice?  Didn't someone brush her hair a bit too long just to relish in its loveliness?  Didn't someone, anyone look up from their busy day to notice the life in her laugh, to touch her face and to tell her, "you look nice today?"

"I'm ugly"...she said.

"I know it", she continued...without shame or pause, without fighting it.  She had given into a reality that what she looked at in the mirror was ugly, a set of features arranged on a face that begged others for acceptance.  A body too short, too round, too imperfect to be appreciated, even by herself.  So she wears jackets even when she is hot.  She angles the phone a million different ways before deciding on her selfie, and even then, does she post it?  

In one year, she will graduate with a high shool diploma, she will graduate not quite sure of anything, except, of course, the knowingness that she is ugly.

Who let this happen?

In that moment, would have moved Earth if I could have to prove to her that she was wrong.  I told her so, vehemently, but maybe all she heard was words from a sweet teacher she hangs out with sometimes.  So I write, for her, to her, about her and for her, and all of those young ones who are sure of the same statement...

"I'm ugly."