Atlanta Teen Voices / all

Art by Anyah Douse, 17, Peachtree Ridge High School.

‘Confidently Insecure’: A Collection of Poems

by share


You said when God made me she took model after angels’ vocal cords.
As pretty as a lullaby
Ferocious as her calloused hands
You said she stirred sugar, spice, beauty, and grace up in her palm

She slow roasted me in her big steel pan

That she cooks everything from greens to pork chop
From Maya to Langston
From Malcolm to Martin
From Rihanna to Bey
Sauteed and smothered just right with love that feels of velvet
Almost as if black excellence could be texturized
As if I was made from a golden mold
Like my beauty was so uncompromising that she thought that maybe she has finally gotten this “human” thing right
You said somehow she made me savory and sweet
The perfect bite, oh so divine, Mama

Yet it’s a beauty I have yet to find, Mama
It’s almost like God was playing a prank on you when she made me mama
Except she left out the humor
She made your daughter perfect in your eyes, Mama

Potential she could see all the way in heaven
Only it’s a sweet perfection that I will never see, Mama

I wish I could take all the love you give to me and put it to good use
To dare to love this body, mean to dare to accept myself, Mama, but I’m just not that brave
I’m sorry

That I can’t see my beauty the same way I see my imperfections, bright and obnoxiously, Mama

I’m sorry some days the sinking in my chest gets so robust, that my whole body goes under, Mama

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Some days I look in the mirror and see my imperfections, Mama, but some days I look in the mirror and I am an imperfection, Mama

I would never call you a liar Mama, but why do I feel this way?

I would never your question your words Mama, but why am I this way Mama?

I’m sorry if my words are ones you don’t want to hear, Mama.


Once read a tweet like “being confident and having anxiety is like having a crush on yourself but not knowing if you like yourself back”

At first, I laughed

Then cried at home
Because when heard it because it took me back to this morning

After rolling out of bed
I am faced with my mirror, and he says

“Isley, the way you walk this earth shakes the ground and creates mountains, the air is lucky to be able to ventilate through your lungs, hot as fire, tongue as slick as water, It’s almost like when God made you she made every element a key on a piano and played.”

My anxiety is pretty impatient so she interjects

“OK b*tch chill, you’re not cute enough to be having all this confidence, I’m gonna need for you to dial it back
Have you seen your acne, talk about some damn mountains,
Speaking of air, when you speak you are wasting oxygen
Hot as fire? don’t make me laugh.”

“Maybe you should look a little closer.
And now that you mention water, make sure you take a shower before heading out the door because you stink.
God had nothing to do with this trainwreck.”

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She pauses and takes a deep breath.

“OK Isley, I’m gonna give you a compliment the best way I️ know how

You are so close to beautiful
So close to perfect

“I’m sorry if I am sometimes harsh but this is honesty.”

Yeah, my Anxiety can be pretty ruthless

To have anxiety is to have a constant battle in my head

And I don’t always win

But I will always survive

Carefree Black Girl

Tis I, beautiful black Barbie

Dipped in sass and sprinkled with wit

A curvy curly haired baddie

With lips plumped by God herself

And a butt plumped with what mama gave me

I am God

A white man’s best nightmare

Did you know, I put envy in the hearts of white women worldwide?

I am a black woman and was born to shine bright

No, I am supposed to shine bright

No, in order to survive I have to shine bright

But what about the black girls that don’t have that same sparkle?

The ones whose voices too soft to shake to earth

And curls don’t have as much definition

Whose curves don’t mirror mountains

And the ones with too much anxiety to be carefree

Are they too ugly to be women?

Too weak to be black?

Will they make it in a world where to be a black woman means to hold the weight of the unwritten history that never wanted her and treat that weight like gravity?


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