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  • Melaph Aljuhani

The Girls’ Locker Room


The girls’ locker room smells of cheap body spray and lingering insecurity.


I am in a corner afraid of how I might sound, though I have been listening to myself for the past 15 years. Being half-naked is clearly a vulnerability. But surrounded by a dozen perfect girls, I was exposed to different parts myself; a type of vulnerability I wasn’t ready for.


A face-to-face confrontation with the mirror is the hardest truth a woman has to face. In this changing room, I was not near a mirror, but I could see how I reflected, or rather my lack of reflection.

The girls around me fit the beauty standard somewhere or another. A flat stomach, wide hips, snatched waist, a flat nose, and the list goes on. Beauty standards differ from perception to perception, but it seemed like every girl had something beautiful I didn’t have. They reflected what I could never look like.


I left the locker room with several promises. I had promised myself to skip lunch, buy new makeup, and start exercising. The ultimate promise was to be beautiful. A promise went on to be broken.


I broke this promise not because I wasn’t beautiful but because I didn’t fit the idea of what beautiful was. I didn’t fit in the box of society’s supposed norms. I didn’t fit anything really because I am simply insecure.


Till I muster up the courage and strength to attempt to love myself, to face the reflection in the mirror and befriend her, my promise will stay broken.


Melaph believes words hold immeasurable power, and when she is not busy learning the magic tricks a pen can teach you, she is engrossed in documentaries learning about the world around her. She is passionate about mental health, freedom of speech, and human rights! You can find her at @melaph.a

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