Runner Up for Stevie Turner’s Short story contest.”Price of Beauty”

Thank you, Stevie, for this wonderful opportunity and of course congrats to the winner.  

https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2018/11/28/share-your-short-story-winner-and-runner-up/comment-page-1/#comment-14850

Orange rays eloquently sink between the clouds as I dip my feet into the sand. I raise my arms above my head and let the light breeze pass through the space between them. I stroll down the same shores each evening, away from all the noise and from everyone’s judgment. I take a deep breath and move the two heavy bags I’ve been carrying to land near my feet. It’s a heavy load to carry, but not as heavy as the ones I’ve carried in my heart all these years.

I touch the water and retreat quickly from its chill but I still hover over it scanning my reflection. I was born with a birthmark on my right cheek even though my friends never pointed it out, strangers did and their questions bothered me a lot. “What’s on your face?”

“Doesn’t it bother you?”

“Why don’t you remove it?”

Not everyone is polite about it; I must have heard each rude comment in the world. Starting from high school days, when a girl told me I should go hide somewhere so I won’t scare people. Right to the rejection letters from each modeling agency around telling me they were searching for someone with a clear face. Even though my mother described my birthmark, “Unique” I never saw it that way.

I thought if the birthmark got removed everything would be okay, I’d be accepted and my dreams would come true. My skin stings as if it remembers the laser burn from each procedure. The despair from looking in the mirror, and finding the birthmark wasn’t getting any smaller, made me grow hopeless.

I never saw anyone like me in beauty magazines; they were all titled to accept beauty while all the models on the covers had flawless bodies and skin. I hear my name being called from a distance, “Hi Kaya!” I turn to find a few joggers who ask me to join them and I politely answer that I will in a few minutes. I have one thing to do first, so I open the bag and stare at the bold magazine letters.

My heart squeezes with regret when I think of all the pain I put myself through to be pretty, to look like a fake image. But it all had a purpose; I needed this awakening to know there are things beyond dieting and pushing my body to its limits. There is beauty in nature and this is why I often escape to a place where I could practically taste the salt, the sand always sinks into my shoes prickling and finding its way in between my toes but I don’t mind because this feeling defines all the changes I decided to add into my life.

I press my hands against the itchy marks on my wrist and memories rush back of what it felt like to slash my problems away, I was such a fool! One memory flashes across the orange skies of the day I woke up in a hospital room. The day I took it too far, I don’t remember how things had escalated, but for months, I’d been dieting to the point that if my face and body wasn’t like a model I didn’t want to exist.

That day, I discovered how much I took for granted as I heard my parents confused wailing in the hospital room. Their voices were so desperate for me to be okay, to be fine and to be alive. The second I had opened my eyes I saw a beautiful bluebird standing on a branch outside the window and I wanted to capture that moment forever. That stunning moment in the midst of adversity. That one sight, made me forget about the medicine running through my veins to revive me.

I still have one more thing to do to show my commitment to this new life so I rip the plastic bag open and piles of papers fall on the sand containing diet strategies. A burning sensation stings my eyes but I ignore it because in the past something had to make up for that hideous brown mark I never loved. I feel the edges of my seven centimeters birthmark under my right eye and a tingly feeling rushes over me. I did it all to overcompensate for something I was born with, I was eating less and my head was blurry all the time. I had this insane passion to measure myself and get on the scale a few times a day.

I had covered my walls with photos of models but whenever I placed my photos near them, mine was never close. Their faces were clear, mine wasn’t. They had thin shoulders, mine were broader. They didn’t have a double chin and under their eyes was clear. Other than the fact that my body wasn’t perfect, the birthmark was a reminder that no agency would ever accept me. How was I so shallow?

The funny thing is that most of the magazines write about embracing beauty and it is rarely acted upon. I take out a camera from my bag and stick my eye to the viewfinder. I grin at the thought that it will be the last time I’d see any of it. I feel my heart strain again at my past foolishness but I let it pass quickly as I empty the second bag, it contains horrifying photos of my skinny to the bones days. I wanted to become a model so badly so I strived for perfection but now I realize there is no such thing as being perfect.

I rest on the beach and place my hands behind me sensing the sand slip beneath my fingertips. I’ve longed for solitude recently because I’ve taken so much for granted, mostly the people who remained by my side even when I’d fiercely pushed them away.

My new passion is to become a photographer to show people the opposite side of today’s photos. I want to show raw emotion that you can’t see anywhere. Show them that attractiveness resides in everything we call flaws. I want to capture the stories in their body language and the stories their features tell me. I want to step away from stereotypes of the perfect body because there isn’t one. Beauty is in displaying the features which make a person unique, whether it’s a crooked lip, face wrinkles, or a birthmark. I want people to be proud of displaying un-edited photos on their walls.

I reach into my pocket and grab a lighter. Without any speck of doubt, I light the pile from the bottom watching the diet plans turn to black and then the fire eats its way up to my photos, burning away the images of my frail body.

I set my camera on a tripod and take a photo with my arms in the air. I turn my right cheek towards the camera making sure the birthmark shows and I pause this is what freedom feels like. This is how it feels to stop caring about what goes on the outside and to focus on the inside. I adore this feeling and as I watch the fire reach the top of the pile a sense of pride rushes over me. I was finally burning the last bridge that connects me to my past. It means no more saying harmful stuff to myself, no more diets, no more crazy detox drinks and no more laser appointments to take out something that’s meant to stay of my face.

My birthmark is more than unique it’s what makes me Kaya on the outside. My experiences, whether good or bad, are what make me a sensible person who would help anybody struggling with the same issues.

After it all burns to ashes, I grab my things and wave to the joggers. They have their cameras with them too, and my eyes slip to the view again. A serene feeling overcomes me, its incredible how I notice the small things and realize there is beauty everywhere even in the shadows. Even though I walk on the same sandy beach each evening, but the skies play around with different pastel colors, juggling between super bright and navy blue colors. However, even the darkness is beautiful and different each time I stare into it, it has taught me that the broken can be majestic.

By ZeinaA.G

I hope you enjoyed reading this! Please feel free to tell me in the comments below your thoughts.

Thank you.

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64 Comments Add yours

  1. I was hooked on to the story till the end. Great story. Keep it up 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s wonderful to know, I’m glad you liked it 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reina says:

    Beautiful story

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Happy you liked it 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Reina says:

        haha I love it

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I submitted it to three writing contests but it didn’t win, so I shared it here 😀

        Like

      3. Reina says:

        Oh my! I am sorry about that. Keep trying, don’t stop telling these stories. You will definitely win

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I won’t give up 😀 I’m taking a break from contests because the wait is nerve-wracking. I’ve been writing a novel for almost two years. So I can always write another short story when a contest opens.
        Thanks for the encouragement ♥ I needed it!

        Like

      5. Reina says:

        Yes you can, Anytime ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Mukul Singh says:

    I nominate you for the Liebster Award. It is up to you to participate 🙂
    https://tenaciousbeliever07.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/the-liebster-award/

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I got here from ragazza, I am glad i did.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ❤Hope you enjoy reading! Nice to meet you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. myplace3187 says:

    Zeina you had my eyes glued to this story from the first word till the last. Wow !! You have grown a lot through this terrible experiences. Yet, you remain a good person with a wonderful way to convey your thoughts for us to enjoy. keep going forward !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s actually fiction I created this character &enjoyed writing all the dark places she could go and then recover. I could relate with the girl’s fears and insecurities. I’m glad it captured you from the beginning I actually submitted this to two contests and it never won.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. myplace3187 says:

        You have done a great work of art with your words. Once we let our mind run free to explore life we make master pieces slowly. I have wrote and self published two books. Your work is good regardless of the result of two contests. keep trying and never give up on writing.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Congrats on self publishing your books. Hope they garnered alot of success.
        Looking forward to check them out.

        I may go down that road one day.
        Thank you for your inspiring words I’m still pushing despite of everything. Once you find your voice it’s hard to let it go.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. myplace3187 says:

        I agree once find our voice we should never let go of it. You have it all going your way so keep going.

        My book titles are : A Walk in Time & The haunting of Marcasite. Thanks if you check them out Zeina.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I just did. They seem amazing but Amazon only lets me see a preview from my country.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. myplace3187 says:

        Thank you for checking them out Zeina. You can not buy them from amazon ? I know other people from your country bought my books but not sure if from amazon or a book store.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Amazon has restricted us from buying certain books not sure why..

        Liked by 1 person

      7. myplace3187 says:

        Thank you for the information. I never knew this. I will look into this.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. aldearon says:

    Even though this is fiction, it has a lot of raw emotion in there, the wailing parents, the feeling inadequate, the burning desire to belong. It all hits home. Captivating for sure, thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for reading. So happy to read your feedback. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I was inspired by all the brave people who had to go through this. Worst thing in the world is following wrong examples to the extent that you lose yourself. I wanted to write a nice ending to show there is a way out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. aldearon says:

        It is great to see that you can be a window of opportunity for those who may not see them any longer. You inspired me to pick up my old page, while simultaneously keep going on the newer page. Thanks ever so much again. Much love.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, of course keep going because you won’t know your where your writing strength is until you’ve tried everything.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Mai Lyn says:

    Beautiful story 🙂 I got here from Ragazza as well and I’ll be watching out for your next novel. Don’t lose hope, each one of us has our own time to shine 🙂 Keep the fire burnin’ 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s encouraging to read and it’s so true but sometimes we forget it when we are struggling.
      Thank you for visiting my blog and reading.😊😊 So happy Ragazza is introducing me to talented and positive people.🙏🙌

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mai Lyn says:

        You earned it! 🙂 You are brilliant and talented 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  8. artista10 says:

    I love how open and honest you are. I love knowing that I can connect with someone who goes through turmoil like I do but we still fight. You are beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading, I am happy that you can relate. We all go through some sort of turmoil during different phases in our lives.
      However, the story is fiction I wrote it for a contest when it lost I decided to post it here. I’m so happy though that it’s relatable.

      Like

      1. artista10 says:

        It inspired me to be able to write again. I stepped back because some people didn’t accept my open honesty. So, thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve done that before too, but 2 years ago I decided there was no turning back.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. artista10 says:

        well, I love your writing!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thank you ♥ Love your writing too. Don’t give up!

        Like

    1. Aweee thank you!! ♥♥ I’ll participate soon♥

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jaya Singh says:

        Yes you must. Waiting to read your post 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Manessah B. says:

    Hey, Zeina!

    I nominated you for The Sunshine Blogger Award. You can check out the details here:
    https://couchtalkwisdom.wordpress.com/2018/06/18/the-sunshine-blogger-award/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you ♥ I’ll check it out soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Manessah B. says:

        You’re very welcome 💖

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Jaya Singh says:

    O dear, this is so beautiful, so capturing. It held me till the very last. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SO happy you loved it and I’m glad it captured your attention until the end😍This story lost a writing contest so really needed the encouragement since
      I was thinking of trying again with a new short story😊✌
      Thank you so much💖💖💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jaya Singh says:

        So what if it lost a contest, it has won so many hearts and minds and will keep on..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So true😊✌✌I’ll try again and if it loses I’m posting it here😊😍Thank you!🌷🌷🌷

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Sakshi says:

    Amazing story ……. Loved it. Fake vanity is an epidemic

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is!
      So glad you loved it ♥♥♥

      Like

  12. Jokerswild says:

    Wonderful story that kept me interested from start to finish and I love the eye opening message about realizing the true importance in life as well as where true beauty lies. You did a beautiful job on this.❤️🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you✌
      This story lost a contest but after I saw the wonderful feedback here
      I just submitted another short story to a contest so fingers crossed🙏🤞😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jokerswild says:

        My pleasure lovely.😊
        And no, that story did not lose a contest, enough eyes just didn’t see the beauty in it but trust me, it was a winner. You are a wonderful teller. And it’s great that you submitted another to another contest, I wish you good luck in that contest. And when you win, submit again.😉❤️🌹

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you!! 🌻🌻🌻This just boosted my confidence🤗🤞🤞 Win or lose I will proudly post it on the blog later on😁 xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Jokerswild says:

        My pleasure lovely🌹🌹. And you should have mounds of confidence going in, your talent is awesome. Win or lesson, there is no lose. I can’t wait to read your winning story!❤️🌹

        Liked by 1 person

      4. 💃💃💃💃💃💃💃💃💃💃Is this enough confidence??😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Jokerswild says:

        A song and dance😂😂, that’s perfect lovely. Celebrate winning!❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      6. 😂😂😂🤞🤞🤞Thanks for that lol

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Jokerswild says:

        You’re so welcome😊🌹🌹

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow….this story is amaizing…it feels so real and relatable….thank you for reminding us that we are beautiful just the way we are….girls will always need this kind of motivation. I loved this story. A lot😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It makes me so happy that you could resonate with the intention of the story.♥♥
      Glad you loved it♥ Thank you for this lovely comment!

      Like

  14. Thanks for submitting your story to my contest.

    Liked by 2 people

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