By Kayla Harrison HOLY FIRE

I Reinvented Myself With Words—From Broken To Good Enough

By Kayla Harrison

I know I’m not a beautiful young woman, not like the others.

My legs are wider than the average Barbie doll’s, at least the first model. I knew looking like that was completely unrealistic, so I didn’t care to compare myself to her. Now that the “average” doll is out, I begin noticing little things that she has and I don’t, or things I have too much of.

My nose sits like it doesn’t quite belong to my face, questioning the dimensions of its oblong figure. My ears, situated at slightly different heights on the sides of my face, are pierced with jewelry cheaper than a glass of wine. A deep valley rests in the middle of my chin. My lips are etched in an immortal smile hiding more confidential thoughts than a middle school girl. My eyes have seen both good and evil, and lost their innocence long ago. The scope of my memory far exceeds the pages of my diary.

I never liked the way I looked.

Thoughts rush back to me…

Of the day when the boy in front of me in the lunch line told me, that I could get in front of him, as long as I saved enough food for everyone else…

Of the time when one of my close friends told me all my clothes were ugly…

Of the day my (once) best friend wrote a note to the boy I liked, telling him that he shouldn’t like a heavy girl like me.

I wasn’t good enough.

Those words grew into stares, laughs, and whispers. I felt worthless. Every time I encountered people, I prepared myself for the mendacities they were destined to throw my way.

Their words trained me to stay quiet, blend in, to make it through the day. If I didn’t speak up, if I didn’t intervene, if I didn’t participate, no one would make fun of me. I became who they said I was, not who I wanted to be; but, I was so afraid to speak up and be myself, because I had been broken so many times.

College offered a chance to finally start over and become who I wanted to be. The only problem was that I had been silent for so long that I forgot how to make friends and speak up about my thoughts.

Once again, I was isolated. My entire freshman year was filled with my inner voice screaming that I just wasn’t good enough.

During my sophomore year, I met with a professor after I had written a paper about how language affects children. In that meeting he told me I was meant to be a writer, and my words were meant to be heard by others.

I couldn’t believe the words I was hearing.

While finishing up an assignment later in the day, another professor asked to speak with me outside the room. All I could think of was what I could have possibly done wrong.

It was as if I had woken up from a dream.

My professor told me my writing skills were exceptional and I had written the best paper in the class. She explained how detailed my writing was, and she could sense the passion I put into each sentence. I heard the same words from her as I had earlier that day.

I knew in that moment that I was meant to be a writer.

My inner voice was shattered. I seemed able to breathe for the first time. I finally felt good enough to be noticed. I couldn’t have felt more alive.

I’m now focused on writing. I’ve found writing is my escape, a way of connecting with others who’ve lost their voices, or feel that they have no choice but to be silent.

Words matter.

My words matter.

Through writing, I can communicate my thoughts, my opinions, my hopes, and my fears.

I joined an online writing class last summer and nervously posted a poem I had written about losing my voice. I hadn’t expected the response: reply after reply telling me I wasn’t alone and that my words do matter. I knew then that writing was what I was supposed to do.

I felt saved.

One day, a woman posted a poem she wrote about being a “creative badass” and “reinventing herself.” Something clicked in my head.

I didn’t have to let all of my flaws, or the words of other people define me. I could reinvent myself through my words, and choose how I see myself.

The lesson I learned through it all was that I could choose which words I accepted.

The more I write about who I want to be, the more I begin to see the real me.

For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World.



Kayla believes that every experience offers a lesson, no matter how simple. Her experiences teaching young children have shown her that creativity knows no bounds, and it is a lesson she wishes everyone could hang onto. Her goal is to find those who’ve lost their sense of wonder and guide them to rediscovering it. To Kayla, reading is a way of discovering the world, and writing a way of making sense of it all. Her writing journey began with a simple word of encouragement and she continues to progress further than she’d ever imagined. This love of the written word is something she would like to share.

  1. Tanya Markul

    Kayla, you are SO BRAVE! I love the courage it took to share this. You are an unconventional beauty — a type of beauty with depth and a story we can all relate to. Thank you for being here. I’m absolutely loving getting to know you and all of your layers. I cannot wait for more. XOXO

  2. Dawn Harrison

    You are a beautiful soul. Your writing amazes me. You not only help yourself through your words but also those who read them. Keep believing in yourself! I love you so much!

  3. Lisa Meddick

    This was amazing. Brought me to tears as much of your story I also encountered thru school. I had the opposite. ” you’re so skinny your a stick” also wore glasses in 3rd grade and had kids on the bus use their middle finger pretending to fix glasses on their nose that I wore and they didn’t. I had to switch schools and was taunted every day on the school bus. Sunday’s were my worst enemy, as school was coming Monday morning. Reading your passage brought back tough times for me but also allowed me to understand what you were through. Keep writing, keep sharing and most of all keep writing from the heart! ❤️❤️❤️

  4. Christian Ryd
    Christian Ryd

    What a strong and brave article, Kayla. That you found your voice will help many more than just yourself, when you use it like this. I’m certain of that 🙂

    • Kayla Harrison

      Thank you, Christian! My hope is just that: to help others just like me 😊

  5. Thomas Karwacki

    Kayla, you won’t remember me, but I knew your parents when you were a young child. I know EXACTLY the feelings your article is expressing! I write for the same reasons. I’m so proud of you young lady. Let your creativity flow and blossom.

  6. Courtney Quinlan

    Beautiful Kayla. I have a very similar story as to how I began to write. I’m glad you reinvented your thoughts about yourself! The world needs these tender words

  7. Leslie Hurff

    I am glad I clicked on the link to read your article. You do have a gift and a beautiful perspective that should be shared with others. I hope to see more of your work in the very near future! Best of luck to you on this journey called life!!

  8. Caroline. Instagram: @caroline.miskenack

    Your story is so full of courage, and so inspiring. As a teen I had experienced similar things. My light was dimmed by the hurtful words and judgements of others. But it didn’t burn out and I’ve been on a path of rediscovering myself and my voice.

    I love how you said writing is a way of reinventing yourself….this landed in my heart in a way that feels so freeing. I’m new to writing and am coming to realize the healing it brings…and you’ve helped to understand this further. Thank you ❤

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