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Poem Titled 'Pretty Ugly' Can Actually Be Read Two Different Ways

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Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the things that aren’t going the way you planned.

Perhaps these things may have changed your life for the better, or taught you valuable lessons along the way.

But other times, certain situations can leave us feeling as if we don’t deserve to be happy at all.

One poem by Abdullah Shoaib has recently been turning heads for its embodiment of both feelings of worthiness and unworthiness we each face on a daily basis.

The poem, titled “ʎʇʇǝɹԀ (Pretty) Ugly,” is a powerful reminder of the difficulties many of us face when attempting to realize our inner beauty.

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“I am very ugly,” it begins. “So don’t try to convince me that / I am a beautiful person.”

“Because at the end of the day / I hate myself in every single way / And I’m not going to lie to myself by saying / There is beauty inside of me that matters.”

By this point in the poem, readers may have recalled a time in their lives, perhaps even in the present, when they have been in the narrator’s shoes, even to a small extent. Who hasn’t felt insecure or unsure of their choices in life at one point or another?

“So rest assured I will remind myself / That I am a worthless, terrible person / And nothing you say will make me believe / I still deserve love / Because no matter what / I am not good enough to be loved.”

Again readers can sympathize with the narrator, remembering moments they’ve contemplated whether or not they, too, deserve love.

“And I am in no position to believe / That beauty does exist within me / Because whenever I look in the mirror I always think / Am I as ugly as people say?”

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The poem appears to end there, leaving readers to question whether or not what they are as beautiful as what the mirror reflects.

But one final line of the poem changes everything.

“(Now read bottom up)” it says, instructing readers to read the poem once again, but this time from the bottom to the top. With one simple change, the poem quickly turns from one of self-deprecation to uplifting words recognizing worthiness.



“Am I as ugly as people say? / Because whenever I look in the mirror I always think / That beauty does exist within me.”

Suddenly, the words that once questioned the narrator’s inner beauty are transformed into those that recognize and defend it.

“And I am in no position to believe / I am not good enough to be loved / Because no matter what / I still deserve love. / And nothing you say will make me believe / That I am a worthless, terrible person / So rest assured I will remind myself / There is beauty inside of me that matters.”

The narrator’s belief that they are undeserving of love is replaced by a statement of how truly deserving they are. The poem ends with a few final lines empowering readers to realize their own worthiness and beauty.

“And I’m not going to lie to myself by saying / I hate myself in every single way / Because at the end of the day / I am a beautiful person / So don’t try to convince me that / I am very ugly.”

What a powerful reminder that while we all struggle with self-doubt and feelings of unworthiness, it is never too late to turn back and see how beautiful and deserving of love each and every one of us are.

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Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Location
Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
Health, Entertainment, Faith




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