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Submitted on
March 21, 2013
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    Today, you are beautiful.

            Your parents tell you that you’re beautiful on every other day, too, but no one else ever does. The only time you matter to the world is at your shows. When you’re not beautiful, you’re nothing.

            Today, though, you are shining. At least, you think you are, but you’re not feeling great. Your stomach hurts, just like it does before every pageant. Your dress is brand new, and you haven’t gotten used to the way it itches yet. You’re sure your wig is gorgeous, even though the hairspray smells bad.

    Your teeth, though, are hurting the most. You know your flipper is a good one, but it doesn’t fit anymore.

                The other girls are all beautiful too, crammed here in this sticky space just offstage. You don’t recognize all of them, but you’ve seen a couple of them at your previous shows. The ones waiting right at the edge of the stage are the tail end of the six- and seven-year-old group; you’re a bit older than them. Behind you are the ten-to-twelve-year-olds. They’re wearing ball gowns that touch the floor, and they’re much more majestic than your puffy, frilly skirt. They’re all laughing and talking, some of them about the show, some about their lives. Their real lives, that is.

            Someone taps your shoulder. “Are you okay?” asks the impossibly thin child next to you. “You’re making a weird face.”

            “My flipper hurts,” you tell her.

            “Show me.”

            You put on your widest, sweetest grin. She inspects your dentures closely. “Looks fine,” she tells you. “Is it too small?”

            “Yeah.”

            She pats your shoulder. “Well, good luck.”

            You thank her and wish her luck too. Then, you turn away and practice beaming at the wall. It hurts more when you smile than when you leave your face the way it is.

            You tried to tell Mom that the flipper doesn’t fit. She didn’t listen. She said there was nothing she could do until your next win, because she spent the last of your money on the new dress. “A good dress is more important than a good flipper,” Mom told you.

 

            One by one, the other contestants filter out onto the stage. The announcer says all their names in the same voice. She tells the audience a little bit about them – what their hobbies are, who their hero is, and it’s all the same. They melt together in your mind, twisting and merging into one entity: your competition. It’s odd to see them go from the sweet individuals they were backstage to these identical glowing competitors.

            Suddenly, you find yourself hovering at the very edge of the curtain. The announcer is calling your name, and before you realize what you’re doing, you’re striding out into the spotlight. You prance around for a bit, and strike a few poses, and most importantly, you always smile. Oh god, does it ever hurt. Your teeth feel like they’re going to pop out of your skull and rain down on the audience.

            Out in the crowd, you can see Mom. She’s waving and making a few gestures to instruct you. She keeps pointing at her mouth. You try to push your lips back more, but it’s too painful.

            “Brooke’s hobbies include dancing, singing, and gymnastics,” says the announcer. “When she grows up, she wants to be a doctor, and her heroes are her mom and dad!”

            And just like that, you’re done. You’re off the stage just as suddenly as you were on it. The spotlight is gone; the crowd’s attention is no longer on you. You’re relieved.

            You go to sit down beside Mom, but she doesn’t look happy. She reaches over and adjusts the capped sleeve of your dress, but she never looks right at you. You’re worried. Did you do something wrong? Is she mad at you?

            The announcer keeps talking. It seems every girl is a dancer or a singer or a gymnast, just like you. Every girl’s heroes are her parents and Oprah. They all have the same perfect curls and bright smiles that you wear – only their dresses are different colours. You try to listen, but Mom is scaring you. Your stomach hurts a lot more than it did before the pageant.

 

            When the show is finally over, she takes you out into the hall. It’s time for you to go and change for the award ceremony. You start for your hotel room, but she grabs your arm.

            “You lost a lot of points for your teeth,” she hisses in your face. Her breath smells like coffee and cigarettes. “What did I tell you about smiling?”

            “But Mom, I did smile,” you try and convince her. “I did. I told you, my flipper’s too small.”

            “You can suck it up for one show, Brooke. What were you thinking? Do you want to lose? Do you want me to be disappointed in you?”

            You’re not smiling anymore, but your fake teeth are still pushing your lips back. Tears well up in your eyes. “I‘m sorry, Mom. I tried,” you hiccup.

            “You didn’t. You did not try.”

            Saltwater splashes down the front of your dress, staining the lemon satin with green streaks. “I’m sorry,” you say again.

            She stands up and turns away. Her shoes click as they carry her away from you. You try to chase after her. She never slows down.

    You weren’t beautiful enough. You failed her.         

WOW A BACKSTORY???

Well, this is a double feature. Backstory for someone new I plan on addng to TPS's rewrite, and my narrative essay due tomorrow. Um, to be honest, I have absolutely nothing else to say about this, except that second person is frickin' hard.
Yeah.



Edit: WHAT TE FUCK. I LITERALLY PULLED THIS OUT IF MY ASS IN LIKE FIFTEEN MINITES. JESUS CRUSNHY CEIST. I CANNOT. THANK YKU EEK.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-04-06
Beautiful by ~Evil-Alien-Nicole is "second person done right" (suggester's words). ( Suggested by Rovanna and Featured by neurotype )
:iconcant-i-be-me:
Cant-I-Be-Me Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Being a pageant girl myself I cannot tell you how much this happens. Not only with mothers but also fathers (though most still stand to be the voice of reason in cases like this). This piece is really harsh and hurtful but it is also the truth about pageants. I am amazed at how well you captured the feelings in your piece.
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you so much <3
I didn't know that was a thing that happened often though. It was kind of a lucky guess, I suppose. Anyhoo, my support goes out to any of your brethren suffering from this.
Reply
:iconcant-i-be-me:
Cant-I-Be-Me Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
It actually is something that happens (at least in my circuit) quite often (not necessarily about flippers though). I know a girl named Bailey (not her real name but movingg on) who's mother won't talk to her if she doesn't at least get supreme or grand supreme(in my circuit that... is like the top of the top). My mom used to do that until I did the same to her... Which didn't work until I quit the system... like last year. -_- And even if indirectly the feeling never quite goes away and later gets transferred onto future children or little siblings due to low self esteem and self worth. Damn I'm not sure about that last statement. Ugh I give up.
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Student Writer
That's awful in ways I can't even describe :'c Like, whatthehell, that's a pretty poor parenting technique. I'm glad you managed to stand up to your mother and make that decision if it was hurting you, though. That's brave.
And I think I understood that statement fine, don't worry. c:
Reply
:iconcant-i-be-me:
Cant-I-Be-Me Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Whew, I was starting to worry myself and fearing for my sanity on the matter of whether or not I made any sense. :) And it is pretty bad huh? The parenting technique. But sometimes it just gets out of control and at one point it was just for fun or to raise self esteem. And I'm not brave. Nope. Nope. I'm just a coward who managed to find 40 seconds of anger to stand up to her mother.
Reply
:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Student Writer
Ha, it's okay. I don't make any sense myself, so I have practice in deciphering messages.
But I can really see it as something just like you said, something that starts as a fun thing and then takes a bad turn. I think it's an occupation people need to be careful in, because it's easy to slip into the over-competitive type, especially for the parents D:
And 40 seconds is still better than zero. You're less a coward than I am. c:
Reply
:iconcant-i-be-me:
Cant-I-Be-Me Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Well you seem to make plenty sense to me :)
The most addicting things almost always start as fun don't they? Writing, drawing, math (not really math but you know...), Music, singing, or dancing. And then doing these things repetitively becomes tiring and doing some of them (such as dancing/singing/gymnastics) become deadly and most lock people into a state where all they seem to do is that one/two things. And not only do parents slip into this competitive mode. The contestants do to. Because they are the ones being subjected to this first hand. So not only does it affect the parents but it turns the children into these people who conform into anything and everything while also making their mindsets into those who think they are the best thing since sliced bread.
And I suppose those 40 seconds is better than zero. But I highly doubt you're a coward.
Reply
:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2013  Student Writer
I fully agree. An old friend of mine is that way with modelling. She's literally incapable of talking about anything else anymore.
I think it's just a difficult thing for everyone and that kind of competition - based on physical (conventional) attractiveness because Ester Dean is gorgeous holy sheet - is just kind of guaranteed to have unfavourable results. And...um...I glanced up at your comment to say more but I somehow had a temporary dyslexic moment and read "...and everything while also making their mindsets into bread." :U
Pfft, you'd be surprised :D
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(1 Reply)
:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Student General Artist
Holy shit. I've never really read anything like this. :D
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Student Writer
WELP, now you have. Thanksyouc:<4
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:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Student General Artist
:D You're welcome! :glomp:
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:iconim-a-little-unwell:
IM-A-LITTLE-UNWELL Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student General Artist
so true- i hate pageants, but with kids just seems like a whole new low. little girls in these things have been through exactly what you wrote here... its just sad.
Reply
:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
I totally agree, my brutha. Infinitely.
I lost a close friend to this exact kind of thing, once upon a time, just to toss that out there. It's just...like...something you'd think needs to be banned, right? Completely abolished? And yet these things are frickin' celebrated. Dammit, I hate people like this. D:
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:iconim-a-little-unwell:
IM-A-LITTLE-UNWELL Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student General Artist
yea! its basicly abuse and neglect. it teached children from a very young age that beauty is strictly on the outside and that if you arent pretty enough, no one will love you.
me and my mom were talking once about it. we want to enter me into a pagent so i can go up there with my spiked black hair and doc martains and sing an alice cooper song as my talent. show them what real awesomeness is.
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
Not to mention the emotional scars.
I would actually revere you as a god. It would sure as hell make things a lot less stuffy, at the very least. And if anyone said anything about you being a "bad influence" or whatever, couldn't you just tell them that pageantry in itself is a worse one? c:
My talent would probably be picking a fight with one of the judges, since that's really all I'm good at that can be performed on stage :U
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:iconim-a-little-unwell:
IM-A-LITTLE-UNWELL Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student General Artist
i could probably do that with you. doc martains are good for breaking noses ;)
lol thanks. we're actually legit planning on doing it, so if we really do, i'll be sure to take pictures and upload them. just for you. :)
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Student Writer
Aw, sick. I wouldn't advise actually breaking noses, though. That might not go over very smoothly D:
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:iconim-a-little-unwell:
IM-A-LITTLE-UNWELL Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Student General Artist
lol yea... i'll stick to badass rock'n'roll air kicking.
...okay i have to sing 'cold ethel' XDDDDDD
best. song. for. a. kids. pageant. EVER.
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:icondillweedh:
dillweedh Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2013
BBBBBOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM! that was my mind being blow away.
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
Oh no, you're going to need that! D:
(And I'm so glad you liked it c: )
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:icondevante9901:
devante9901 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013
Awwww, nicely done. Child pageantry makes me cringe. Such a poor message to give to children about what is important. Watching them cry and scream during hair and make-up, but the mother insisting to the camera, "Oh, she just loves pageants. And she loves to win." (Yeah, dummy, because it makes YOU happy and makes YOU pile on the praise). Sigh. This piece is lovely.
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
Thanks, m'lady. Those are pretty much my sentiments exactly. What must it be like to be a kid who loses a lot and have no self-esteem because of it? And some of the torture they go through even before the show is sickening - eyelash removal? On five-year-olds? Really?
Reply
:iconjirachithegreat:
JirachitheGreat Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This really is well done. It hurts to read, and makes me just...enraged that someone would act so vain and use their child for something so petty. But I'm sure there are people who do this...quite well done, and congratulations for the Daily Deviation. You deserved it.
Reply
:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
Fun fact: I saw an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras once where the mom literally said that she'd been "hoping to breed a baby girl for pageants". I just...pageant moms are one of those kinds of people that I don't really believe exist until I see them in action. And thank you so very much :hug:
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:iconjirachithegreat:
JirachitheGreat Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No problem.
It's disgusting that someone could say something like that.
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:icondaydreaminginpink:
Daydreaminginpink Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I like it
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
Thanks c: Glad you do.
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:icondaydreaminginpink:
Daydreaminginpink Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Yay!!!!
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:iconkamaki-chan:
kamaki-chan Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013
THIS IS FANTASTIC. YOU MAKE ME LOVE 2ND PERSON POV.
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
YES. GOOD. THIS IS THE BEST THING I'VE ACCOMPLISHED THIS MONTH C:
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:iconmoondancer98:
moondancer98 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Hobbyist
This made me cry. :\ cause no matter how hard she tries...she's just not good enough for her mom..
Reply
:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
Aww noo, don't cry! D: I'm sorry!
(Unless I should take that as a compliment, in which case thanks! :lol:)
Reply
:iconcheshire-shadow:
Cheshire-Shadow Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013
I swear to God I whimpered. It was a very strong piece; the second person is tough, but you did pretty damn well.
Reply
:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you c: /blusshu blusshu
That means a lot to me, you know.
Reply
:iconrosescarlet:
RoseScarlet Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Student Writer
STUPID JERKY WOMAN GRR
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
ACK YOUR ICON IS CUTE <3

Yay! I have the power to upset people with my imaginary friends! :dummy:
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:iconrosescarlet:
RoseScarlet Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Student Writer
:iconlawooplz:;;
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:iconchainfurry:
Chainfurry Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:c
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
c:
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:iconaphelps:
Aphelps Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Yeah, it was pretty amazing. I usually don't read more than the first few lines of lit DD's. Good job.
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
Pffft - to be honest, neither do I :lol:
Ouch, that sounds conceited, doesn't it? Oh well.
And thank you <3
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:iconaurelio94:
Aurelio94 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I could not stop reading this! I just had to get to the end!! :D Very nicely written :clap:
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
Words I live to see! Thanks, qqurl c:
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:iconmandatory-option:
Mandatory-Option Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Student Writer
Very well written! It made me sad to think of those poor little girls who are put through those pageants! Many of them are too young for those kinds of things!
Oh, well. You really did a nice job, especially in second person!
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
Yeah, I stand by the belief that it should be a conscious choice to join these things. I'd rather not have my eyebrows ripped out without my consent, thanks.
Why, thank y'all <3
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:iconrohvannyn:
Rohvannyn Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Student General Artist
Nice vignette. Sometimes what we jot down in fifteen minutes is fresher and more authentic than what we spend hours on... isn't that a pain?
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
Definitely. Like I said to...uh, someone else...I think it's just the raw emotion that comes out of it, and that's what people tend to gravitate towards, rather than something overworked and over-polished. But hey, what do I know?
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:iconalfangmindsculptor42:
AlFangMindSculptor42 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
That's beautiful.
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:iconevil-alien-nicole:
Evil-Alien-Nicole Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Writer
No, you're beautiful. Thank you <3
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:iconalfangmindsculptor42:
AlFangMindSculptor42 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
:blush: No problemo
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