Girl: An Inner Monologue

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Girl: An Inner Monologue by Simone Miller - Photo by Sonja Lippmann

After Jamaica Kincaid

Wake up on the first ring of the alarm; brush your teeth for two minutes, floss, then gargle some mouthwash; always style your hair before you go out lest it look like a rat’s nest; cover your acne and other imperfections with makeup, but never let your mascara clump; wear a cute outfit; no, go change—that shirt makes you look fat; this is how to paint your nails and make sure they don’t chip; this is how to have good posture—why do you keep slumping you shoulders?; this is how to smile so that everyone is sure that you’re happy; get to class on time—god forbid teachers mistake you for a not-serious student; take meticulous notes on everything the teacher says, but don’t annoy everyone by asking too many questions—if you don’t understand something you can look it up at home; don’t let your grades slip below As; then you will never get into college; drink more water and keep away from the vending machines; go practice piano, why can’t your fingers ever hit the right keys—but I’m trying my hardest—trying isn’t enough, you need results; go be social—stop being a lazy loser; why are you wasting time on FaceTime and YouYube—go do work otherwise you will never be successful—but I thought I was supposed to be social?—not now: schoolwork comes first; this is how to solve for x; no, you’re doing it wrong—here try chemistry instead—you don’t know it?—well, I guess you can’t do anything; why can’t you be more like your brother?; this is how to make extra-caffeinated coffee to keep your eyes open during an all-nighter, this is a life hack for getting rid of eye bags after an all-nighter, and this is how to paste a smile on your face so that no one realizes how stressed you are; this is how to breathe and remember that everything is going to be okay; don’t worry—one bad grade isn’t going to ruin your future; don’t pay attention to what other people think of you—you are beautiful, and it is okay to show up to school in a sweatshirt with eyebags and chipped nails every once in a while; this is how to help your friend through their problems; this is how to have confidence while giving a speech; this is how to care about the environment and people around the world; this is how to lobby and advocate for political causes you are passionate about; this is how to be a proud and dedicated Jew; this is how to speak up for yourself and not let anyone step on you; never lose your strong character or opinions, and always remember the strong boss you are—but what if that strong boss is hard to find sometimes—are you really going to tell me that after all this hard work and accomplishments you are not going to be proud of yourself?

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Simone Miller is a senior at Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Skokie, Illinois. She is the editor-in-chief of her school's newspaper, The Crown Prints, as well as an editor of her school's yearbook and literary magazine, Charlotte's Web. Simone is politically active and is a vocal supporter of Israel, feminism, the environment, and sustainable fashion.
Accompanying photo: “Morning Routine” by Sonja Lippman