by M.R. Mandell
She calls from Kansas City, bawling into her fourth glass of wine that she is old at 30.
Instagram gods tell her she’ll never couple because she has a single line under her eye.
Sad girls everywhere.
Face shaming themselves for owning nostrils large enough to breathe,
lips that don’t fill the screen. Obsessed with selfies begging for love.
What happens if you don’t get the love? If hearts don’t blow-up your feed?
What if mean girls (also sad) take their day out on you?
Listen to me. I love you. I’ve been you. Sometimes, I still am you.
Love myself, hate myself, love myself again, in the span of 30 seconds.
I’ve felt ugly, fat nosed. Not pretty enough too pretty not smart enough
too smart not old enough too old not tall enough too tall not skinny enough too skinny
not blonde enough too blonde not sweet enough too sweet not good enough too good.
All of it. None of it.
Take my advice. Look at yourself.
Ah ah ah, come back here. Look. Really look.
Fall in love with your thin lips, round jaw, acne scars. They tell your truth.
Ignore whispers to suck in your cheeks, Facetune your skin, Barbie your eyes.
They tell your lies.
Run away from your phone as fast as you can.
No one will follow you. Everything will be okay.
M.R. Mandell (she/her) is a writer living in Los Angeles. A transplant from Katy, Texas, she now lives by the beach with her muse, a Golden Retriever named Chester Blue (at her feet), and her longtime partner (by her side). You can find her work in Chill Subs, Boats Against the Current, The Final Girl Bulletin Board, Dorothy Parker’s Ashes, little somethings press, The Bloom, and Stanchion Zine (forthcoming) and others.